Cooking followed by a chilling process is common in modern catering kitchens and in the food industries.
Many dishes prepared in the kettle may advantageously also be chilled in the kettle. The best way to chill liquid dishes is to keep stirring them and keep them in contact with the cooling surface. This can be done by connecting the kettle to an ice bank. The ice bank (or ice builder) is a large container filled with water and a system to distribute the coolant. Coolant is led through the system to build ice inside the container. The ice bank can either have its own refrigeration compressor or be connected to a larger cooling plant. Refridgerated water from the ice bank ensures that the sides of the kettle chill the food at the same that the stirring tool stirs the food slowly, so that the cold is distributed evenly throughout the food.
Shelf life, quality and food safety are determined by the time spent for chilling and the final food temperature. The OptiMix kettle offers the ideal solution, because it chills the food to low temperatures in a short time (see the chart below). Beside this, the OptiMix kettle offers many other advantages for the Cook-and-Chill process:
Easy and safe handling
The powerful chilling capacity makes it unnecessary to put chilling spirals into the food and eliminates the need of moving the food to other containers for chilling. This reduces handling and minimizes the number of utensils to clean. By using coolant without additives in a closed system, the risk of pollution of food or drain is avoided.
Wide range of possibilities - also for cool dishes and desserts.
Apart from chilling hot dishes the OptiMix or MaxiMix, in combination with an ice builder, can be used for stirring dishes that only require cooling as for instance minced meat, desserts or salads.
High food quality by avoiding drying in the blast chiller
The dry air of the blast chiller is drying the surface of the food, reducing the food
quality. Meat prepared in soups and sauces can advantageously be chilled in the
kettle while using the stirrer very slowly. Drying is avoided and the meat is chilled
quickly. Slow and sensitive stirring keeps the food in the right condition.
No freezing or ice in the food
By only working with chilled pure water, the water temperature can not fall below
0˚C, avoiding the risk of freezing parts in the content. This preserves the food quality.
On the other hand, if you work with a medium at temperatures below 0˚C you risk that the food may freeze to the side of the kettle. This will form a barrier for the cold, the food will take longer to cool down.
Energy efficient chilling
Chilling by contact with cold surfaces and water is much more efficient than chilling by cold air. Therefore chilling in the kettle is more efficient than chilling in the blast chiller.
An ice builder typically builds up ice during the cold hours at night, where the loss of energy is low. Building up ice at night is cheaper, because it requires a smaller ice builder than if ice were to be built up during the day. Also, the required cooling capacity in the kitchen is lowest at night, so if the ice builder is connected to a central system, it can use the idle capacity of the central system. The ice stores a large amount of chilling calories, which are released when the kettle starts chilling.
Less equipment and more possibilities
It is quicker and more efficient to carry out the process of chilling liquid products in a kettle rather than in a blast chiller, and it saves the limited resources of the blast chiller.
Moreover, the ice builder can generate cold water for other equipment such as a sous-vide bath.
The cooling system is based on well known technologies and only works with water without additives. It is therefore reliable and easy to maintain.