Available in different sizes, 2 pan, 3 pan, 5 pan, 10 pan, reach-in and larger roll-in units. Some are as big as 5′ x 5′ for two racks of product. Some chillers are upright while others are built into a work table.
The latest FDA rules state that foods that are not going to be discarded have to be reduced in temperature from 170° to under 70° in under two hours, and from 70° to under 41° in an additional 4 hours. HACCP asks to have it done completely in under 4 hours. This cannot be done in a reach-in or walk-in refrigerator. It is necessary to have oversize condensing units and high velocity air movement to do it. Many manufacturers exceed the requirements, some cutting the time in half. Ask your sales rep what you should expect in chill times from their product. The best way to use these products is with 2 ½” deep stainless steel pans, no bigger. Bigger pans will not chill evenly.
There are different control systems available and multiple probe options. In school foodservice, we fi nd that the easiest controls tend to get used the best. When specifying a blast chiller, be sure to get one with a printer that will show the process for every cooling cycle. This printout should be kept with your production records so that, if necessary, you can prove that you did chill within the limits the government requires. The biggest differences are in sizes. You will typically be using the blast chiller at the end of the day and then allowing it do it’s function overnight. Therefore, you need the capacity that will fi t all of the foods you typically would have at the end of a day. When the chiller is done chilling it reverts to a holding refrigerator to keep your food cold and safe until you unload it.
Space available – left-to-right and vertical, voltage, type of product to be chilled. You need to know how much, or how many pans will be done at anyone time.
Smaller units only require one probe. However, larger units, 5-pan, 10-pan and larger, should have multiple probes so that you can monitor different products during the cooling period. You should typically chill products of similar density starting at similar temperatures if you are going to chill unmonitored. If you put one pan of soup at 110° in at the same time as a pan of chili at 175°, the soup will be frozen like a rock by the time the chili has reached the 40° mark. If you use two probes, one in each, and remove the soup when its probe indicates chilled state, you will not have the problem.