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Using a Pacojet


Kareen
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RE: Weird things you can do with the 'jet.

Mainly frozen powders, the El Bulli guys came up with these, I think.

A result of overprocessing?

Will get back to this later.

Went back to '98/02' to look at Paco-Powders.

let's say you took a standardish chocolate sauce recipe, no eggs, chocolate at 70%, water & milk, and froze it in a Paco beaker.

After a day, process it for 10 seconds at a time, letting it rest in between spins, until you arrive at the texture you want.

The El Bulli guys get a very nice, fine powder.

The less fat the better, maybe, dairy wise.

No stabilisers either.

2317/5000

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I had done an olive oil sorbet, but it was a one time deal - I spun it the next day and it broke.

It broke because it had too much fat--I do mine in the Paco with a 0% fromage blanc, learned that tip from Philippe Conticini, works well. Use anything else with even a small percentage of fat, the Paco will break it or you have to reduce the amount of olive oil and then you lose its taste.

CTB--in general--owning a Paco is like a little club, and it's an exclusive club requiring you to put in your own work, go through your own learning curve, before you feel like a member. Sorry, but that's the way it is--it'll be better to ask more specific questions, like what else do I need to know before buying a Paco, will I need to buy special freezers, how many beakers should I buy, and all of that will depend on your size and situation.

Then once you get it, and have tried things, ask what you could be doing better. Begin by reducing sugar % like devin suggests--that's the starting point. Everything I do is like 3 degrees Brix less than what I might do in a batch freezer. No stabilizers needed. You can approach the Paco just like you approach a batch freezer--you can be as measured and scientific with the Paco as you can be with a batch freezer or you can be as cavalier and unscientific with it, just as some pastry chefs are with a batch freezer. It's just the science of the Paco is a slightly different science than the batch freezer--there's a lot of sloppy work and handling in each system--and the science changes when you decide not to spin a la minute and instead spin ahead for volume and then "hold" beakers already spun and scoop from them--you need two freezers to do that.

We get ours serviced by that same place, and get next day turnaround, I think they're the only folks who do Paco repair. Once a year servicing may or may not be enough, depending on how many times you spin, how many hours you put on the motor daily/weekly/monthly. The book that came with the Paco a few years ago was clueless--anyone know if they are shipping a new one with valid recipes and valid science specifically for the Paco? With the dollar the way it is, not too many folks I know are buying new ones--we got a few when they had that great deal "for two" a few years ago and I love them--then you could get two plus a ton of beakers plus factor in yearly service expense and still come in way under the cost of a Taylor or Coldelite. But, even in one place that I have a Paco and a batch freezer--I do some things in the paco and some things in the batch because they're better in one or the other.

The most rewarding stuff is the stuff you experiment with and figure out yourself--another cool thing I picked up from Philippe Conticini (and Chris Broberg, who was working for Philippe at Petrossian at the time and who himself was one of the first pchefs in the US working with the Paco under Gray Kunz) was making concentrated flavor essences in the Paco to work more efficiently and flavorfully: an example, freeze lightly poached and candied orange rinds in a beaker and spin--and then use that pulverized powder in recipes for great flavor. No need to "infuse" no need to strain because it dissipates. You hear of something like that, then experiment on your own to find what works for you. It's very empowering to put the machine to work for you creatively rather than always be dictated "by" the machine or by tradition.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Never having been in the same building as a paco, I'm way behind in understanding it.

Steve, you wrote," use that pulzerized powder" in reference to the orange peel are you saying that spinning the peel doesn't create a paste? And is the cooling/freezing action optional in the paco........can you run it with-out chilling down what it's spinning?

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Never having been in the same building as a paco, I'm way behind in understanding it.

Steve, you wrote," use that pulzerized powder" in reference to the orange peel are you saying that spinning the peel doesn't create a paste? And is the cooling/freezing action optional in the paco........can you run it with-out chilling down what it's spinning?

The Pacojet only processes, Wendy.

No refrigeration.

You freeze whatever you want to "pacotize" in a beaker that is made for it and then you attach it in a container that holds it, seal it and then dial up the number of servings you want to process, from one to the whole beaker.

Then, from what I gather ( it's hidden from sight), an arm holding a blade, much like a food processor, starts "shaving" the mix in the beaker until it's finished.

That's what Steve is referring to with the candied orange zest.

Heres a link

http://www.pacojet.com/

2317/5000

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Right, and for most things to work right in the Paco, Wendy, you have to use a freezer that gets really cold, at least -5, and hold beakers for 24 hours at that temp before you spin. That means if you fill beakers at 7PM, set them in the freezer overnight, and then try to spin them for service next day at 10 or 11AM--they haven't been frozen long enough. One reason there's such...inconsistency...with the Pacojet is some freezers are shared use, doors opened and closed, defrost cycles go on and off automatically, etc. Most mixtures have to be really cold to stand up to the shaving action like Ted explained, it generates heat as it spins down and makes the end result soupy or soft if it was too warm to begin with (kind of like how you have to be careful adding really cold butter, pulsing quickly when you're making a dough in a Cuisinart. You use the cold/frozen butter cubes to balance the extra heat generated by the quickly spinning blades.)

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Would it be possible to use liquid nitrogen to fast freeze the contents of a paco beaker? I'll be testing a pacojet pretty soon prior to purchasing and was looking for a way to speed up the testing process (adjusting batch freezer recipes for pacojet use). I just happen to have access to liquid nitrogen and was thinking this would help a lot in terms of instant gratification....

Edited by Stagiaire (log)

#1456/5000

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Pacojets are amazing - I've had one for ten years. Besides ice cream and sorbet there are powders, flavor essences, soup or sauce bases..... basically anything where you want to grind the material into extremely small particles - so small that it is totally smooth.

The two things that mark a great kitchen tool or machine are the ability to something that you can't do any other way, and/or the ability to tasks better than any other method. Pacojet has both features, depending on the recipe and context.

I recommend getting plenty of beakers. I have maybe 30 myself. This lets me keep multiple beakers of favorites, but also lets me experiment and have a wide range of flavors and materials at any point in time.

A pacojet is not a large scale produciton machine - some people use it that way, but that is not its main forte. The thing that is great about a pacojet is that you can keep lots of things on hand and process to order in small quantities.

A blast chiller is the best way to freeze things for the pacojet. This is one of my pet peeves. There are two different functions of a freezer - chilling or freezing versus storage. Chilling or freezing is the cold equivalent of baking or roasting - you want to create a large temperature change. The best way to do this is with a blast chiller, which is a freezer/refer with a high chilling capacity and a powerful fan. Storage is totally different.

Some of the problems mentioned with inconsistency come from that fact that many kitchens try to use the same freezers for storage and freezing. So, they have an overcrowded freezer that is packed too tight for good air flow, and the door is opened a lot, and people put hot things in.... People who would never bake under those conditions are happy to freeze things that way. For example, they don't know the temp of their freezer, they don't know how stable it is, they overcrowd it and they leave the door open a lot

Anyway, if you use a blast chiller, then store the beakers in a freezer with a good regulated temperature the pacojet works great. Or, if you only have a conventional freezer, check the temp, don't overload it, leave plenty of room for airflow around the pacojet beaker.

Adapting conventional recipes for the pacojet can be trivial - many of them just work. Or, in some cases it can take some tinkering to adjust them accordiningly. If the temperature, fat content, sugar content are not right you can get powder rather than a smooth texture. There are some generalities that I've seen somewhere but I have never seen a really good set of rules. So, everybody who uses a pacojet experiments until they are happy. It's not that hard.

Unfortunately, very few books have anythnig specific about the pacojet. El Bulli cookbooks do, Oriol Baluger, Los Secrets de los Helados and a few others do.

As mentioned above the recipie book that pacojet sells is not very good. They have some web site recipes that are mixed quality. There are some other sources around - some articles in Art Culinaire, Food Arts etc. It seems a bit odd that so manychefs have this tool, but so few write about it. I think the issue is that publishers want mass market cook books to aim at a bigger audience. So, chefs who have pacojets in their kitchens nevertheless write books that don't mention the pacojet and have recipes adapted to conventional machines. Meanwhile the people in the best position to write a really detailed pacojet cookbook are too busy being practitioners.

eGullet undoubtedly has people who collectively know more than enough to write the definitive pacojet cookbook but unlocking that knowledege requires asking specific questions, because nobody seems to have the energy to write the definitive book (c'mon somebody, rise to the challenge!).

One problem that can result in some pacojet recipces is that the material in the beaker can separate while freezing. One problem is that if you put in chunks of fruit, or some other solid, with liquid around it, the liquid will push up in the center during the freezing process and the first serving will be problematic - too much liquid, not enough solid.

Or, if you have density differences something will float. As an example, with coconut ice cream, I have had a problem where the fat (essentially the coconut cream) separates and float to the top during freezing. So the first serving or two is much higher fat content, and the subsequent ones have not enough fat content. This kind of problem can be solved by being careful to emulsify the contents prior to freezing. In addition, you can minimize the time that the material has to separate by chilling the contents outside the beaker very cold, then run through a blender, then freezing.

If you get a powdery texture with the pacojet you have several choices. The first is to keep it - I love the El Bulli style powders - in some cases it can be a great effect. Or you can adjust your recipe (depress the freezing point by adding some sugar, or another freezing point depressor), or change the fat content (more fat usually reduces tendency to create powder), or raise the temperature to which you freeze the beaker (the colder the beaker, the more likely you get a powder).

By the way this is one potential problem with using LN2 to freeze pacojet beakers - if the beaker is really at LN2 temp at the time of pacotizing, then I think you could make a powder out of nearly anything. So, if you use LN2 to freeze a beaker, you probably need to warm it up to -5C or so to process.

If you get a powder and you don't want it but don't want to start over you can usually fix it by adding a bit of liquid (cream, water, whatever is appropriate) right in the pacojet beaker and then processing a second time.

Some peolpe do not believe in adding stablizers to pacojet ice cream or sorbet, others believe that you can't live without it. The reason for the controversy depends on the recipe and how you serve it. The pacojet can make sorbet have a great texture across a wide range of consistencies - ranging from very soft which will melt very fast to pretty hard which last longer. Another factor is whether you hold after processing, or serve immediately.

Some materials develop a lot of internal stabilization - when I make pacojet sorbet from mangos, it gets a very "stablized" texture even without any gelatin or stabilizer. Indeed I've made mango sorbet that basically won't melt - it is really a frozen whipped mango mousse. You can get this effect in other product by adding gelatin or a stabilizer.

Hope this helps.

Nathan

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Thank you Nathan for the detailed response.

<<eGullet undoubtedly has people who collectively know more than enough to write the definitive pacojet cookbook but unlocking that knowledege requires asking specific questions, because nobody seems to have the energy to write the definitive book (c'mon somebody, rise to the challenge!).>>

The tremendous effort you put into the sous vide time tables would unfortunately (for you, but fortunately for us) make you the most likely candidate! :)

Will definitely report back with the results of my experimentation in a few weeks or so....

#1456/5000

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was wondering if anyone has any PacoJet recipes they're willing to share. Sorbets and ice creams are easy, but I know there's a ton of other ideas out there like NathanM's sweet pea amuse buche.

Only contributions I can make are whole peeled horseradish packed into the beaker, and then filled with a water/vinegar/salt/sugar solution. This way you have fresh horseradish available for steaks and roasts. Also, I make a big batch of caramelized onions and freeze in a beaker. The processed onions are great on crostini and I sometimes smear some on a veal chop (with pan fried apples on top of that, and then a pan sauce).

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  • 2 months later...

I'm about to start a new job that has a pacojet. It's been about 4 years since I used one and while they also have a taylor I like the obvious idea of not spending 3-4 hours a day...well, you know. I use the le boiron sorbet recipes and I prefer the mouthfeel from a traditional ice cream machine. I would like to eliminate that airness and have the sorbet feel more "tight". Has anyone experimented with this?

www.adrianvasquez.net

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Some people with both a Paco and a batch freezer still do their sorbets in the batch freezer, me included. If you haven't seen it yet, there's a very nice section in Torreblanca's book on doing ice creams and sorbets in the PacoJet, about 20 recipes or so. I think the main thing working against you getting a "tight" sorbet in a Paco, after you adjust the sugars, is whether you can reliably freeze the beakers deeply enough--if you can, you should be fine getting the texture/firmness you want.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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  • 2 months later...

I'm curious to know if anyone has any issues with with respinning a gianduja gelato in a paco. Mine, after the 2nd spin, maybe it was the 3rd has a broken mouthfeel. Any other conversions people have had to make from going to a batch freezer to a pacojet would be greatly appreciated.

www.adrianvasquez.net

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Hi! Don't know if this will be of any help to you, but at work, we always make sure to refreeze the contents really well (until completely rock hard) before we churn it again, and following this, I've never encountered a problem with the ice-creams/sorbets that we use.

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yes I freeze them at the right temp for the proper amount of time. Sorry, I should have shared more info. I want the paco to work for me since it's so tme efficient but the texture of spinning in a batch freezer makes the pacojet inferior. The paco is just not as smooth and creamy and after three times the cream starts to turn to butter. I was wondering if there are any adjustments people make from a batch freezer recipe to make it more suitable for a pacojet.

www.adrianvasquez.net

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do you hold in the blue air valve when you spin? you can jam it in with a piece of cardboard and that helps keep the overrun down (doesn't pump in as much air into the mix). i think whether in a batch freezer or a paco jet, ice cream bases tend to break down when being re-spun...particularly if you aren't using any sort of stabilizers...at my first job we would just toss the unused base after spinning twice.

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yes I freeze them at the right temp for the proper amount of time.  Sorry, I should have shared more info.  I want the paco to work for me since it's so tme efficient but the texture of spinning in a batch freezer makes the pacojet inferior.  The paco is just not as smooth and creamy and after three times the cream starts to turn to butter.  I was wondering if there are any adjustments people make from a batch freezer recipe to make it more suitable for a pacojet.

If you're using a lot of fat in your recipes ( eggs) be careful.

I never had a problem with the Paco except when too much fat was used.

Takes some getting used too.

I'm anxious to hear about the rigged button too.

Good Luck.!

PS: Even though it contradicts a lot of "mod" recipes, including pacos' own, many don't use stabilizer in them.

2317/5000

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  • 11 months later...
Anyone have experience with this?

I recall several yoghurt recipes in the book that came with the Pacojet, maybe you can surf Pacojet's website? They might have them in the recipes section.

Did quite a bit of their recipes from the book and they all work really well but never did the yoghurt ones. But from past experience, they should work well as is or adapted.

For every new recipe, it would be a good idea to pacotize 1 portion first to see if its smooth enough. If you get ice powder instead (Not all mixtures work well frozen to -20 degrees celsuis, so just lower the freezing temp. next time if possible.), just add one or two tablespoons of water or juice into the beaker before pacotizing again. That will smoothen everything out.

This is advice given by the owner when we ran into 'icy' problems. Hope this helps.

Cheers!

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adding water or juice seems counterintuitive...when frozen and re-spun/pacotized, it will end up just as icy, no? it would seem better to adjust your formula to include more sugar or glucose or something which will not freeze and will give better texture.

sethro, you can use any normal frozen yogurt recipe and pacotize. do you hold the air valve in when spinning?

ours was something like:

8# yogurt

2.2# sugar

+ flavoring and juice

splash of corn syrup

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adding water or juice seems counterintuitive...when frozen and re-spun/pacotized, it will end up just as icy, no?  it would seem better to adjust your formula to include more sugar or glucose or something which will not freeze and will give better texture.

sethro, you can use any normal frozen yogurt recipe and pacotize.  do you hold the air valve in when spinning?

ours was something like:

8# yogurt

2.2# sugar

+ flavoring and juice

splash of corn syrup

Adjusting the recipe is a solution too, so it depends I guess on the sweetness levels. The deeper science evades me. I used to do that on the chocolate sorbets and fruit sorbets with zero sugar, even the bottled juices added was sugarless (Thailand has great fruits and juices!). Even at 60% sweetness....glucose still is added sugar, so we can't advertise that.

So...that was a problem, the icy powder. Once the extra juice was added and pacotized, we could hold it at -13 degrees celsius in a holding freezer with no recrystallization......until the crapola local freezer started giving problems halfway thru service.

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