A blow torch, also known as a kitchen blowtorch, chef’s blow torch or culinary blow torch is a handheld cooking tool that produces a high-heat flame. This versatile tool can be used for a wide range of cooking and baking applications when needing to add a charred or caramelised finish to food. A blow torch is commonly used for crème brûlée, custard, flans, meringues, bread puddings, grilling/browning meats, melting cheese, skinning tomatoes, toasting breadcrumbs, warming sauces, roasting vegetables and so much more. Some professional chefs also use culinary torches to finish dishes tableside, giving the food a crispy and golden finish while adding an element of entertainment. Find out why you need to add a blow torch to your culinary arsenal
How to use
Unpacking & Assembly:
Carefully unpack the culinary blow torch and check if all components are present. Follow any instructions provided to assemble the blow torch. Make sure to use a clean and approved fuel source, such as butane, as specified in the instructions. Do not use any other type of fuel, as this may cause damage to the torch or be a safety hazard.
Filling the fuel tank:
Depending on the style of your chef’s torch, you may need to attach a butane cartridge or your torch has a refillable design. Ensure you attach the cartridge correctly if this is the case for your torch. If your torch is a refillable design, check to see if it comes prefilled or empty. Make sure not to overfill the tank.
Familiarize yourself with the blow torch’s controls and functions before use. Light the torch using the ignition button and adjust the flame height as needed. Hold the torch at a safe distance from yourself and any flammable objects. When using a blowtorch, it is recommended to use a sweeping motion where the flame moves slowly and evenly across the food. This will help to evenly “scorch” the surface. It is important not to linger too long on one spot, as this can result in burning. Do not use the blow torch near flammable materials or open flames. Keep the blow torch away from children and pets. Do not touch the nozzle or any other hot parts of the torch during or after use. Only use in a well-ventilated area.
Maintenance & Storage:
Regular cleaning and maintenance will ensure the longevity of the blow torch. Clean the surface of the torch with a damp cloth and avoid using harsh chemicals. Store the blow torch in a dry place and protect it from direct sunlight and moisture. Make sure to turn off the torch and allow it to cool completely before storing
How to choose the right blow torch
When choosing a blow torch to use, there are several factors to consider to ensure you select the right tool for your needs.
At Chef’s Complements, we stock completely portable blow torches with no gas lines, these come in the form of blow torches with detachable gas cartridges or refillable reservoirs.
Detachable cartridge blow torches are convenient, as you can simply change out the cartridge when the fuel source is depleted and you don’t have to worry about refilling the blow torch. They are also generally considered safe, as there is less risk of improper handling of the fuel source. Additionally, there can be different size cartridges of gas, so depending on the frequency you’ll use the blow torch, you can buy a size that suits your needs, saving money or adding convenience. A downside of detachable cartridge blow torches is if you are running low on a cartridge before taking out a cooking task at hand, it may run out during use, leaving you having to change cartridges mid-task. Refillable blow torches are handy for this reason, you can always ensure they are topped up enough prior to use. Refillable torches are often cheaper as well as buying the gas refill bottles alone is more affordable than buying the replacement cartridges. A downside of refillable blow torches is the task of filling them, this can get messy if care isn’t taken. We recommend you read the filling instructions prior to attempting as this is important you do it correctly and don’t overfill it.
Culinary blow torches come in two main types: butane and propane. Butane torches are generally smaller and more portable, while propane torches are larger and have more power. Consider the type of tasks you’ll be using the torch for to determine which fuel source is best for you. At Chef’s Complements, we carry butane torches, these are the most commonly used in both domestic and commercial kitchens. We also carry the GoSystem blow torches which are a butane/propane mix.
Look for a blow torch that has adjustable flame control, which allows you to adjust the temperature and size of the flame as needed. It may be beneficial in some cases to have a longer flame to keep your hands further away from what you are trying to light. Adjusting the temperature is also useful as some foods may burn too quickly if it is at a high temperature.
Safety should be a top priority when using a blow torch. Look for a torch that has safety features such as a safety lock to prevent accidental ignition, and a flame guard to protect your hand from the heat.
Purpose & Price
Depending on how often you intend to use your torch, frequently or on the off occasion, you may only require a basic level torch that is quite affordable. If you know you’ll be using a chef’s torch regularly, a professional-style torch would be a better choice.
Uses of a blow torch
Let’s be real, when you think of a blow torch, you instantly picture it caramelising a crème brûlée or a meringue don’t you? As well as these popular treats, you can also caramelise a Baked Alaska.
Try using a blow torch to melt the marshmallows and chocolate in a traditional s’more or just toast marshmallows on a stick camping-style from the comfort of your kitchen. You can also toast breadcrumbs for a crisp texture in dishes such as stuffing or casseroles. Try making your favourite french toast recipe without even heating up a pan by using a torch! You can also toast toppings such as coconut flakes
Use a blow torch to quickly sear the outside of a steak or other cuts of meat, locking in the juices and adding a crispy crust. Try searing fish also!
Use a blow torch to char and roast vegetables such as capsicum, eggplants, and onions. Make yourself kale chips too!
Finish off the top of mac n’ cheese or brown sugar toppings on dishes such as tarts, pies, and cobblers.
Use a blow torch to make a deliciously caramelised glaze on a ham, giving it a crispy exterior.
Need to quickly melt cheese on top of dishes such as pizza or in a burger? Use a blow torch! Need to soften hard ice cream or sorbet for easier scooping? You got it, use a blow torch!
Outside the kitchen
Blowtorches can also come in handy for uses outside of cooking and food preparation tasks. You can cheat on your camping trip and light a campfire with ease, you can light candles that are hard to reach (no more burning fingers!), burn off frayed edges of rope, as well as using them for any welding, soldering and other crafts.
Do I need a blow torch?
As you can see above, there are many more reasons you may use a blow torch than you’d originally think. A blow torch can be an inexpensive addition to your kitchen yet it can provide a wide variety of uses. All while adding a skill to your cooking repertoire and entertaining guests.