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Blowtorch best uses?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
New on here so please be gentle for my ignorance.

What are the main uses for a blowtorch, just been givin one and want to use it for more than the likes of the Creme Brulee. What are the benefits of using one and how do you use it in the right situations. Do you use it for other purposes other than dessert dishes.

Please Help
post #2 of 12
I see lots of people on TV (so it must be right/true!) use it for other "brulees" such as cheese on dishes, watching season 1 of Top Chef this weekend I saw someone use it for something wrapped in bacon, etc.


I use mine to braze and sweat pipes, heat up stuck bolts and nuts, heat for bearing/race removal, etc....:talk::talk::talk::roll:but I'm a better mechanic than cook!
post #3 of 12
Assuming it's a full torch, and not one of those puny brulee lighters, there are numerous uses. Some of them:

1. Brulee, of course.
2. Charring peppers.
3. Tightening the skin on fish.
4. "Broiling" single portions of protein.
5. Simulating grill marks.

I'm sure others will suggest other uses as well. Torches really are quite useful whenever a localized source of high heat is needed.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 12
Thanks KYH.

Can I pipe in with what the purpose is not, to serve raw meringue with gently torched tips. Serious pet peeve for me. It's Baked Alaska, not raw egg Alaska.
post #5 of 12
A blow torch is a salamander by another name. Use it wherever a local caramel or Maillard reaction is desired. Like a salamander it requires close attention; also the knowledge to stop just before visibly "done" so the food can coast into its final state. My torch is most effective for most purposes with the flame a hair's breadth away from the food, rather than actually touching it.

Like "blackening," torches came in with chef's who wanted to push the envelope but couldn't afford a modern commercial salamander. Actually, old-school salamanders which were hot irons you passed just above the food, worked a lot more like a torch than the 20th C gas-fired version in up-market restaurants. Torches got trendy to the point of ridiculous over-use. Now, in the foodie cities anyway, their use is more rational. Places where Penne alla Vodka is still cutting edge are probably going gaga, though.

Meringue is a good example of where a classic salamander would have been used.. The product can be cooked at a low temperature to the right degree of doneness, then browned for appearance with a torch.

Baked Alaska?! :eek: Talk about foods whose time has passed.

BDL
post #6 of 12
Starting the charcoal. :)
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help, so I figure apart from desserts, its put to good use chargrilling vegies heating up foods before using in stocks etc. Do you guys use them much or are they a little outdated
post #8 of 12
As a home cook, I use mine a few times a year -- mostly for fish skin. I was never what you'd call a dessert chef, but I do use it for brulee and darker-browning meringue -- if you know what I mean.

I used to use it in BBQ competitions for crisping chicken skin, putting a little scorch on bbq ribs to carmelize the tomato and sugar in the sauce, that sort of thing. But I don't compete anymore. And if I did compete, I'd compete KCBS. And the KCBS doesn't allow gas.

And, and, and. It's nice to have one even if you won't use it much. A must for salmon. Fun to learn how to use, and fun to invent reasons to use it for those few months you're excited about it.

Tip: When you brulee sugar, warm the sugar on a quick first pass, barely melt it on the second, then stop. Don't try and darken it to the "right" color, or you'll burn it and it will taste incredibly bitter.

BDL
post #9 of 12
I agree with Kuan - - and add that a blow torch is one heck of a way to get rid of the ice and snow from the driveway! :crazy:
post #10 of 12
A quick pass with the torch will pop the surface bubbles on anything you want to set with a smooth surface (custards, gelees, glazes).
It is also great to use on the Kitchen Aid bowl if you need the ingredients to soften up (butter, cream cheese, etc.).
post #11 of 12
Great tips!! I have also used the torch for charring peppers. Much faster, and more consistent than a skillet or the broiler on the oven. (for those of us who don't have an indoor grill) It does also work great for simulating grill marks, as I have also used this trick.
It's always funny until someone gets hurt, then its freakin' hilarious!
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It's always funny until someone gets hurt, then its freakin' hilarious!
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post #12 of 12
Sometimes I use the torch to heat the blade of a spatula to help smoothing a frosting on a cake.
A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
- Old Russian proverb
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A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
- Old Russian proverb
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