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Crème brûlée - which torch should I buy?

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I want to make crème brûlée and I am wondering which kind of torch I should buy... the "chef" kind, bought in a cookware store and costing about $30, or the more powerful, cheaper ($15-$20) torch from a hardware store, with the big fuel cylinder.

I do not intend to make crème brûlée very often, but I want to buy a torch that will work well over time.

Looking forward to your recommendations and suggestions!

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  1. The butane torch from the hardware store will make your bruleeing much easier. The "chef" ones are smaller and take up less room, but you can just stick the large torch somewhere out of the way if you won't be accessing it often. I think it'll be worth it.

    1. definitely get the larger hardware store style. i bought a "creme brulee torch" and returned it after one use. it just doesn't get hot enough for a nice crust and took far too much time to crisp up the top

      1. A cheap one from the hardware store, hands down.

        1. Yet another vote for 'cheap'. Remember, too, that once the frenzy for the fancy ones dies down, you may have trouble finding fuel refills...but the cheap ones use the same propane bottles as millions of camp stoves and lanterns, so you'll be able to buy them at the local sporting goods store for generations to come.

          1. I agree - cheaper!

            I got a small one from Lowe's (like Home Depot if you don't have Lowe's in your area) which looks just like the ones from the more expensive cooking catalogs/stores and it works great. I use it a few times/year.