I have researched a bit about the topic of "large crystal prevention" when freezing and thawing food. So far I have learned, that in order to prevent the formation of large crystals, which is what damages the texture of food, you need to minimize the time the food spends around 0°C. Which means you need to freeze it to -18°C as fast as possible and when thawing bring it to room temperature as fast as possible. I am talking about a home context here, not commercial.
I have come up with the following routine, which seems to incorporate most home tricks, in order to optimize for few large crystals:
- vacuum seal the food in a sous vide bag, as flat as possible
- put it in an ice bath
- circulate the water in the ice bath with a sous vide stick
- After say 20min put it in the freezer
- Figure out the max temperature you need the food to be (say the temperature, at which it is going to be served, or if it is going to be cooked, below the target temperature)
- Put the vacuum bag in a preheated water bath and circulate the water at this temperature
However, I would like to know, how much of this effort is actually worth it? Is vacuum sealing much better than zip bags? Is ice bath much better than simply putting the food in the freezer at room temperature? Is the additional step of using a circulator (which apparently does reduce the time greatly) really worth it?
Are there any case studies or side by side experiments on this subject? Is it possible to taste the difference?
I know that freeze burn is bad, so I do avoid standard zip bags already in favor of vacuum seal bags, but I am not so sure about the other stuff?
It seems the claim, that defreezing quickly is as important as freezing quickly is not universally accepted, I base my belief in this on the following video:
the longer something takes to freeze and defrost, the bigger the ice crystals...