Creme Brulee Torches
Now this may be a silly question...I'm looking to buy a creme brulee torch. There is a big difference in prices, but I can't imagine how different they all could be. (I've never used one before).
I'll just be using it once in awhile for creme brulee or some other quick sugar carmelizing.
Does anyone have a torch they recommend? or what I need to look for in a torch =)
Don't bother with one of those precious little special-purpose thingies.
Go to Home Depot or your local Home Depot equivalent. Get a propane
blowtorch. They're less than $20. They come in two parts, the
nozzle and the can of propane. Each can be bought separately, and they
come in sets. Extremely easy to operate: screw the nozzle into the
canister, turn the knob very slightly to start the gas flowing, hold a
flame in front of the nozzle, when it lights adjust it to a nice blue
You could pay extra to get one with a built-in spark lighter but why
After having one of the little butane-powerd "gun"-type torches, I moved onto a torch that I picked up at a restaurant supply store-- I don't need to hold the trigger down to keep the flame going and it gets the job done alot faster. You need to be more careful, and you spend a little more, but if you're thinking you'll use it alot, it's very worth it. I use it instead of the broiler to put a crisp on things, too, or brown a topping, etc....
I have two - the first was the restaurant type which is small and easy to use. It doesn't have a lot of power so if I need to brown a lot of toppings I use the plumbing one. You can buy this at most hardware suppliers, it's fairly inexpensive and has plenty of punch. It's much heavier than the handy kitchen version.
The one pictured is kind of like the one I use which runs on little propane cans. They cost about $40, or you can get one at a regular kitchenwares shop that runs on butane, like the one in the link below. They work fine-- try to find one that you don't have to hold the trigger on, if you can.
I have a small one I got at Williams Sonoma for around $30. It works well enough. However... next time I'd never buy one of those at all. For about $20 total, you can get a small torch at a hardware store that has about 10 times the power.
Dumb as it may seem, power is important with a creme brulee torch. A cheap, low power one takes longer to caramelize the sugar, and ends up cooking the layer of custard underneath the sugar. So, powerful ones caramelize the sugar almost instantly, so they don't cook the custard at all.
Power is good. And since you can get it for the same price or even cheaper, I don't see a reason for one of the little guys you see at BB&B or Williams Sonoma or the other kitchen gadget places...