Butane Cooking Torches Explained  

You’ve probably seen Butane Cooking Torches on cooking shows on TV or YouTube.

The presence of this culinary tool in anyone’s kitchen goes to show that you are an established home cook.

Cooking torches are also known as culinary torches, perhaps separating them from the different torches we know.

A cooking torch is mostly referred to as a Butane torch, which creates an intense hot flame using a flammable gas called butane.

In the kitchen, chefs mostly caramelize the sugar in cooking, melt or brown toppings on soups or casseroles, melt the cheese, and char or roast vegetables.

They are designed to give a consistent flame that browns the food surface easily. 

What Torches Do Chefs Use? 

The butane torch is not the only culinary torch that chefs use but one of many kinds.

The butane torch is not the only culinary torch that chefs use but one of many kinds.

There is the propane torch, the MAPP torch, which is used in high-end kitchens.

There are far more expensive cooking torches that produce consistent flames that you can get from the store, like the Jo’s Kitchen Torch. 

Is Cooking With A Torch Safe? 

According to most chefs, using cooking torches is safe.

This is because the butane gas and the MAPP gas used in cooking torches are alkanes, gases that do not produce by-products that may stain the flavor of food.

Butane is mostly used in lighters but can also be used in cooking food. Butane and propane gas are safe for directly cooking food.

Though they may produce a small amount of carbon monoxide, it is not readily absorbed by the food while heating it.

However, if you decide to use a cooking torch, make sure to open your kitchen windows for enough air ventilation. 

Also Read: Must Have Protective Kitchen Wear And Gear

What Can I Use Instead Of A Kitchen Torch? 

The idea of using a kitchen torch is to make caramelizing or melting something in your dish easier.

Still, there could be an alternative way, especially when making the Crème Brulee. It is not the easiest of processes, but if it feels safe, then it is worth it.  

Making Crème Brulee Without A Torch 

For four ramekin servings, use: 

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • Five large egg yolks 
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar 
  • 2 cups whipping cream 
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar (for the topping) 
  1. Preheat your oven to 325F and position your rack in the middle position. Have the ramekins and a casserole pan off to the side ready. 
  2. Whisk the egg yolks vigorously in a large bowl until the mixture is creamy, lemony, and cohesive in color. Next, add the vanilla, cream, and salt and whisk till smooth. 
  3. Divide the mixture between four ramekins, and they should fill just about ¾ full. Try your best to pop any bubbles that form on the sides with a spoon. 
  4. In a baking pan, pour about a 1/3 inch of water and place the ramekins in the water so that the sides are submerged until halfway. Avoid sloshing water into them. 
  5. Place it in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, checking every 5 minutes after the 4o minute mark. For this, you are looking for the custard to “set” with a jiggle in the middle. 
  6. Remove the baking pan in the oven and remove the ramekins gently from the hot water with a spatula. Set on your wire rack to cool, then transfer to the fridge to cool for an hour. 
  7. Make sure the custard is set, and near the end of the cooling time, set the broil setting in the oven. Place the ramekins back on a baking dish making sure the tops of your custards are free of any beads of moisture. Sprinkle remaining sugar over the top. 
  8. Place the pan under the broiler for 5 minutes and monitor closely until the sugar has melted into a satisfying crisp browned crust, and voila! 

As you can see above, you can use your oven using the broil setting, but if that’s too much work, you could look into kitchen torches that you may consider.  

Can A Butane Torch Be Used For Crème Brulee? 

According to long-time users of kitchen torches, a propane torch is highly preferred.

While butane torches tend to burn hot, they tend to focus on a tiny area hence not the best for food which needs something that will distribute the heat evenly.

Not even the best sweeping motion would help that Crème Brulee using the butane torch, but with the propane torch, the gas release is even, and while sweeping, you acquire an even burn.

This is the best option for a beginner who wants to add the equipment to their kitchen. 

Foods you should cook with a culinary torch 

  • French toast 
  • Marshmallows 
  • Fish, especially if you like it raw. The torch will give it a good sear on the outside. 
  • Baked Alaska 
  • Mac and cheese 
  • Roasted pepper 
  • Skillet pizza 

Can you torch a steak? It is possible to torch a steak.

It is possible to torch a steak.

This is done after you have cooked the best part of it in the pan, and it just needs that caramelization to achieve that perfect crust. Some people add butter and a season while torching it for maximum flavor. 

How do you fill a kitchen torch?

First, make sure the torch is off and lock the ignition button.

Next, turn it upside down and locate the refill nozzle, which contains a tiny cylindrical compartment.

Insert the tip of the aerosol butane in the nozzle and push. Remove the butane can when it reaches its full capacity and wait for 4 minutes before using it again. 

Are Kitchen Torches Worth It? 

In conclusion, kitchen torches are not just good for Crème Brulee’s. You can use it to char veggies, make a crispy topping for the mac and cheese or brown a meringue.

It is that kind of tool that stands in for a bigger appliance like an oven but to be honest, even if you’d only use it for the Crème Brulee, it would be worth it.

Many home cooks are intimidated by this tool because of the dangers of an open flame, especially if you have children around.

Still, like any other equipment, it does have safety measures like the safety lock, the heat shield, and the flame guard.

In addition, some cooking torches have a fuel gauge feature that allows you to see how much fuel is inside, especially for butane ones.