We just love to use a kitchen torch and do it frequently just as other passionate and accomplished cooks. With a kitchen or culinary torch at hand it is possible to bring extra flavour to a dish and lift culinary creations to another level of sophistication. From deep smoky flavours to adding a perfect finished dish through caramalisation, this tool is versatile and can be used to add the necessary culinary magic to a wide variety of dishes.
While being creative we also value safety so take note of our guide on how to best use a kitchen torch.
How to use a kitchen torch
Follow these step-by-step safety procedures to fill, light, adjust the flame and safely use the kitchen torch and you will never be disappointed when using it.
Filling the torch
There are different kinds of torches and therefore we always recommend reading instructions from the manufacturer upon receiving the equipment. If there is an on/off valve ensure it is in the off position to prevent accidental ignition. Although we own a few torches we mostly use our Iwatani model where the torch head screws directly onto the fuel canister. Some models might need refilling by holding the torch upside down, and compressing gas inside the torch.
Lighting the torch
Start by directing the torch away from anything that can burn, including food. If there is an on/off button, turn it on first. You might hear a hissing sound which means the gas is escaping and by simply pushing the ignition button the flame will light instantly. Adjust the flame using the turning knob to the strength you need before directing it towards the food and moving it back and forward for optimal use. You might need a few practice rounds to gain confidence and be able to add the perfect touch of depth and flavour to your dishes.
Turn off the torch
Use the knob until the flame is completely gone and there is no more hissing sound and no more gas escaping. Avoid touching the kitchen torch until it cools down before storing it.
Best uses for a kitchen torch
This is without doubt the most popular dish to use a blow torch. Sprinkling brown sugar on top of the custard and using a torch to brûlée or caramelise the top of the crème brûléé to a deep golden brown, crunchy disk a must before serving this delight.
Peeling peppers is quick and efficient when using a kitchen torch. Besides being effective, it also adds a smoky flavour. You can place a pepper on aluminium foil or you can place it on a baking tray for safety reasons. We prefer to hold the pepper with a set of fine kitchen tongs and rotate so the flame of the kitchen torch can burn, blacken, and blister the skin on all sides. Keep a plastic bag ready to wrap around the charred peppers for about 10 minutes. Once cooled it will be easy to remove the blackened skin under running water with little or no rubbing needed.
Meringue needs to be a little brown and caramelised, and a kitchen torch always gives the perfect finish. When spreading or piping a dessert with the meringue it is important to use a weaker flame further away from the meringue while moving it back and forth to evenly brown the entire surface. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Flambée a dish
A kitchen torch is not typically used to flambée, but it is surely the best tool if you are not cooking on an open flame where tilting the pan is enough to create a dramatic burst of flames. Always make sure to use a suitable dish that is heat resistant and be very careful to keep a safe distance when pouring the alcohol. Turn off the kitchen torch immediately once the ingredients are flambéed.
Brûlée citrus fruit
We often use citrus fruit in dishes and love the look of brûlléed lemons or oranges. Besides the visual effect it also elevates the flavours in an elegant way whether it is just a slice or half a fruit. For savoury dishes it is just enough to shortly ‘burn’ the fruit, and if you would like it caramelised for a dessert you will need to add some sugar.
Although we would rather gratin a dish in the oven, it might need a little extra crisp. A kitchen torch is not the best tool to fully gratin a dish but it can add a necessary final touch just before serving.
Grilling or camping
During the outdoor season we often grill and camp. Although it is not really recommended and kitchen torches are primarily designed to use for culinary purposes, we find it easy to carry one because it is lightweight, and very handy when having to light a fire in case you can’t get hold of appropriate fire starters. Always exercise caution when starting fires and ensure that you and the environment are safe before, during and after the outdoor event.