“ Brand: Kitchen Craft / Type: Torch „
This blow torch is a great gadget to have to hand, even if it doesn't get too many outings. Looking back, in truth it was probably purchased on a bit of a whim after we went on a cookery course and learnt to cook crème brulee!
The blow torch is made of fairly lightweight plastic, and stands 16cm high. It has a silver coloured base and top/nozzle and it's main body is a ridged black plastic.
It needs to be filled with butane gas which is available cheaply from any supermarkets, and comes in cans of 300ml which cost a couple of pounds. Using the torch probably once every 3 or 4 months only means that in over 2 years we've still got some of this left in our first can. The can is fitted with a nozzle which fits into the slot on the underside of the torch, presumably the same arrangement to refillable lighters - you simply push the nozzle firmly and the liquid is transferred into the body of the blow torch. It's impossible to know how much you are dispensing, but you can feel the weight of the liquid inside the blow torch to give you an idea when you've got enough in there. I always do this outside as you do get quite a puff of the gas when pushing it down, especially if you haven't got it connected properly at the first attempt!
To operate the torch, the front nozzle is turned and you hear the gas being emitted. The nozzle can be controlled to regulate the gas, but to light it I just open it fully. A single press on the red "ignite" button, which clicks, and the torch lights with a nice neat blue flame. The nozzle can then be turned to achieve the size of flame you are looking for. I've never had it fail to light.
Being so lightweight, it's really easy to hold the torch in one hand and carry out your desired work with it. The only thing I've used it for is the crème brulee, but it is absolutely perfect for it, and quicker than heating the grill just to burn the sugar on top, which would be the alternative. Other uses could be for glazing meats, searing meat or tuna, charring peppers etc as well as tasks like heating tins to release cold desserts from them.
I was surprised to see that this torch retails at around up to £15, I don't honestly think that it's worth that much, bearing in mind it is very plasticy and lightweight. It can be purchased for around £10 on amazon, and that's a closer reflection of it's value I think. As a gift to someone cheffy-minded, I think it would be a nice idea, and I remember being really excited about it when it was new, but it actually pains me a little now to think I actually shelled out £10 for it!
I am not normally the sort of person who likes to invest in kitchen gadgets, but my husband fancies that he is more of a cook - and when the recipe calls for a blowtorch, he naturally rushes right out and buys one. I would usually forgo the blowtorch and put the item under a hot grill, so I suspect that this blowtorch could safely be categorised as a 'Boys Toy'.
Faithfully following Delia's instructions for a Rhubarb Brulee, my hubby rushed out to our local Cooks Shop and bought the Kitchen Craft Cook's blowtorch for around £10, but I see that they are now selling on Amazon for anything between £9.95 and £12.95.
The blowtorch feels like a quality kitchen gadget - heavy in the hand, and with robust knobs and nozzles, the design is functional, yet strangely sophisticated.
The black body is made out of sturdy plastic, has a ridged central section for extra grip, and a wide circular base so that it can stand erect with no fear of being easily knocked over. This design is particularly good for kitchen use, when you do tend to put things down in a hurry. With the flame nozzle sticking out 5cm from the body of the torch, there is a high chance of this falling over, so the wide base is an asset.
The whole torch stands a slim 16cm in height and is easy to store in a cupboard. My torch is entirely black, but the functional buttons that ignite the flame are red; a red ignition button on the side and a larger red knob on top of the torch that turns on the gas.
The blowtorch is very easy to ignite, simply turn the gas on via the red knob and press the small red ignition button. The flame can be adjusted if necessary by twisting the chrome button on the nozzle shaft, making the flame larger or smaller and more intense.
The Kitchen Craft website boasts that the blowtorch uses Piezo ignition - a type of electronic ignition used in the more sophisticated camping stoves and lamps. This ignition consists of a small, spring-loaded hammer which, when a button is pressed, hits a crystal of PZT or quartz crystal. Quartz is piezoelectric, which means that it creates a voltage when deformed, which is then used to create a spark and ignite the gas. I have found that this ignition is very slick and effective; I have experienced this system in gas camping lamps and this blowtorch and found that it lights every time with a smooth click, unlike lighters which may need two or three attempts to create a spark.
I mainly use my torch for desserts, to crisp up the sugar toppings on brulees or other sugary coatings - but the torch can also be usefully used to crisp up meat, fish or anything else that needs a final finish. I have found over the years that it is a very good way to cheat when I am preparing food for guests - serving up any savory dish with a lovely bubbling brown surface always seems to impress people. Fish always benefits from a quick blast, giving it a lovely golden colour and the torch has a major advantage over the grill in that it can be used on already well cooked food that just needs a bit of colour. If I blasted my food with the oven grill it could become overcooked or dry.
I have now owned my blowtorch for several years and, despite my initial scepticism, have found it very useful on many occasions - mainly when entertaining and trying to impress.
The gas lasts for quite a few months with regular use, and when empty can be refilled easily with any gas lighter refill canister. I buy the Swan Universal Gas Lighter Refill, which I used to be able to find at most stores. It is a little more difficult to find nowadays, but I still buy mine from Robert Dyas for just under £3. Using the plain nozzle provided, filling the blowtorch is quick and easy. The blowtorch is noticeably heavier afterwards so I know that I have successfully filled it.
I have to admit that the blowtorch gets very heavy use from an unexpected quarter. Both my boys are completely fascinated by it and play with it constantly. I often come into the kitchen to find my 20 year old trying to brown his toast with the blowtorch. Why, when there is a very good toaster next to him?? Despite the ignition being fired repeatedly over the years as part of some Galactic War Game, and the whole blowtorch being used for idle and unnecessary tasks, the whole thing has lasted incredibly well. The ignition still lights first time, the flame is still as strong and effective as ever and the whole thing still looks pretty much as it did when it was bought, three years ago.
In conclusion, I must say that this unexpectedly useful item has been an excellent buy. The quality is very good and I have read consumer reviews that say that it is good enough to be used in a professional kitchen.
The Kitchen Craft Cook Blowtorch is a fun cooking appliance used in certain dishes such as crisping up meat and steak and certain desserts. The product was a fair investment that I found fun to use in finishing off certain dishes but it did have limited use. The blowtorch operates via gas ignition and an anti-flare flame. I purchased the item from a local cooking ware shop for £8.50.
The model is quite light but firm to hold. The product features a base at the bottom for it to stand on a horizontal surface, a black rubberised grip section in the centre of the product, a small red button the side and a funnel with a black end which is where the flame comes out from. The product with its chrome coloured metal base construction looks quite modern except I did find it slightly cheap and tacky looking. Although it felt firm to hold in my hand I did think it was a rather weak construction that was maybe thrown haphazardly together by Kitchen Craft.
Ease of Use
The product is refillable and needs butane gas, not lighter fluid or any other combustible material. Butane gas is readily available and I purchased some from the home/cooking ware shop I bought the blowtorch itself from. The product is bought empty meaning it does not have butane gas in it already. The cylinder can hold 20 cubic centimetres of butane gas which lasts a while but certainly not forever. The red button to the side of the product for ignition is in a somewhat awkward place in my opinion, it was hard to press and I think this was somewhat of a design fault. The product did ignite quickly and featured an anti-flare mechanism whereby you could use the product at awkward positions and not just straight on. The flame is adjustable so it was useful to heat foods to different temperatures rather than the product just having a fixed flame.
I don't think the durability of the product was all that good. The product did feel a bit weak and flimsy and did not have the greatest construction in my opinion. I have noticed that after a while, the ignition button is become a bit dodgy and unresponsive. It used to work safely and easily but now I've found it unresponsive which combined with its difficult to press position on the cylinder is a real let down. The product will last a good couple of years of sporadic or light use but I certainly don't see it lasting very long. Overall i would give it a low durability score.
The product was good fun to use on steak and some desserts like crème brulee or rice pudding but apart from that I found the device in general has limited usage. I think it could be used for model aircraft/miniature work or even soldering (if it was on a high temperature setting )but in terms of how often I use the product, it is few and far between. If you're into cooking foods which would require the blowtorch or are a chef then the product would be very useable, but for the average consumer I think the Kitchen Craft blowtorch has limited uses.
I found the product reasonable priced at £8.50 in my local cooking ware shop and the butane gas cylinders only cost me a few pound when it needs filling. You can also buy the product on Amazon UK for £8.47 currently with free delivery if you don't unlike me have a suitable shop nearby. The product has seen limited use and suffers from a bit of a weak construction in my opinion, but for around £8.50 you can't go wrong giving it a try.
I found the product to be an ok purchase but probably one I could have gone without. The device does have its uses in cooking for steak and desserts but apart from that I found I never really need to use the product. The construction is a bit haphazard, the ignition button has become unresponsive over time and is in an awkward position but apart from this it does everything to an ok standard. The flame is of a good size and can be adjusted which is a bonus, the rubberised grip section in the middle is handy and allows a good grip and the £8.50 price tag was reasonable. The product is a bit of a budget blowtorch which I think reflects the low price tag, but if you would benefit from owning a blowtorch then the Kitchen Craft blowtorch is a reasonable investment but not anything special in my opinion. Thanks for reading my review.
© Revo9 (2011)
*Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*