Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When looking for a blowtorch for the kitchen, you can buy some reasonably expensive tools. When looking for a blowtorch for plumbing, you can buy some reasonably cheap tools.

The price is different. The look is different. The principle is the same. I guess the gas is the same.

Why pay more? Is there a health issue? Is the kitchen blowtorch more precise?

share|improve this question
    
Possible duplicate: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/5105/… –  hobodave Sep 7 '10 at 10:59
    
Not the question... but the answers. –  BaffledCook Sep 7 '10 at 11:06
add comment

4 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Yes, there is no real difference.

Be aware that if you one from the hardware store, it should be one where the flame does not fluctuate when you tilt the torch. This usually happens with the very cheap ones. This becomes a big problem when you try to uniformly brown something.

Aside from that and maybe "esthetically" I see no reason not to use one from the hardware store.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 for fluctuation –  BaffledCook Sep 7 '10 at 12:37
2  
:) I tried a cheep one a few years ago and set as I tilted the burner down at an ~45 degree angle, the flame spiked violently, setting a few kitchen towels on fire that were placed somewhere behind the piece of meet that I wanted to brown. Nothing really happened, I just needed to get a better burner :) –  Bogdan Belcea Sep 7 '10 at 13:24
add comment

The MAPP Gas is your best bet. Even though it may burn hotter, when the MAPP Gas does not completely combust, micro particles of the gas will be emitted from the tank and onto the food. This is also true with the propane burners. The difference is the flavor and smell. You will not taste or smell the minuscule amounts of MAPP gas on the food, whereas with the propane you will.

share|improve this answer
    
Correct, but you will still have have hydrocarbon by-products all over your food :-( –  TFD Nov 14 '12 at 20:40
add comment

Actually, the gas isn't always the same -- in hardware stores, there's both propane and MAPP gas; you'd want to get a propane one. (it's cheaper, but it doesn't get as hot ... you won't need the extra heat for cooking purposes)

But well, the hardware store ones tend to be either much larger, or much smaller (they make some little mini-torches for emergencies that are about the size of a AA-battery flashlight). I would think that if you're a caterer, doing smaller parties at customer's houses, that the mid-size 'culinary' torch would be a benefit as it has enough gas in it to handle the job, but not so large that it's going to take up lots of space.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes. I've been visualizing trying to brown a crème brûlée with my bjillion BTU MAPP gas soldering torch. Not a pretty site. But I might try it for chilies... –  dmckee Sep 7 '10 at 15:34
    
@dmckee : it's not that much hotter -- 2900C vs. 2800C. –  Joe Sep 7 '10 at 16:27
1  
Does anyone know if the MAPP gas is even safe for food? I use a hardware propane torch and am very happy with it. Refills are cheap and last much longer than the dumb little kitchen store ones. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 7 '10 at 21:13
1  
@Michael: It is a pure hydrocarbon with no ethane rings, so I would assume that as long as you are getting complete combustion (i.e. a nice blue centered flame with no smoke), you should be fine. I wouldn't use my pipe soldering torch because it is hard to adjust reliable to small amounts of output. Six inch flame, though? No problem. –  dmckee Sep 7 '10 at 22:10
    
@MichaelatHerbivoracious Yes, MAPP is safe. In fact, the authors of Modernist Cuisine recommend MAPP over Propane/Butane for its hotter flame temperature and lower propensity to deposit 'off flavours' onto food (which can happen with Propane). –  sufw May 12 '13 at 3:13
add comment

Same thing, almost at least according to Dr. Kiki Sanford.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.