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Anti-Griddle


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Who needs an Anti-Griddle?

"The Grant Achatz inspired 'Anti-Griddle' is a traditional cooktop with an amazing twist: The device quickly freezes sauces and purees instead of heating them! This unique innovation allows you to effortlessly freeze sauces and purees solid or develop semi-frozen creations with stable, crunchy surfaces and cool, creamy centers. The tantalizing dual-textures help satisfy increasing consumer demands for new dining experiences. Let your culinary imagination run wild!"

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Yep I just ordered one from Polyscience the other day it takes about 3-4 weeks for delivery because they have to build each unit as the order comes in, not a high-demand product. Look HERE scan down for some antipancakes from StudioKitchen.

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Decent price too.

You're kidding, right? That's not a hobbyist price.

Some buy sports cars, some have children, and some buy yachts. Others buy anti-griddles.

In all seriousness this is not a cheap piece of hardware, but for some it is worth the investment. It is also a pretty good price if you factor in the tech. aspects of having a stable -30F surface.

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I prefer dropping a steel block into LN2. Much faster and you can perform tableside. The "compressor" version just doesnt get cold enough for me and it becomes too affected by atmospheric temps too much. So nothing works as well as LN2, and ultimately it is more convenient because it produces immediate results, and takes up much less space depending on the size of the blocks you use.

Does the anti-griddle get as cold as the "teppannitro"? Having a built-in compressor sounds more convenient than using liquid nitrogen. I wonder about the noise from the compressor though....

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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I wonder about the noise from the compressor though....

It's not very loud. You can hear that it's on, but it's more like a moderate fan-noise, not a churning motor. Here's one in action at Studio Kitchen (more at the link M.X. provided above). As you might guess from the shapes, these "antipancakes" started out in rings to hold their shape.

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Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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If you lick an anti-griddle, does your tongue stick to it?

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Hey Philadining, I wasnt going to say anything...BUT  :unsure:

In your brunch at Lacroix pics, I distinctly remember someone dipping into Nitrogen without gloves on.....quite dangerous I would think  ?

It's probably a risk, but there's a transitional zone between the liquid itself that's very foggy so I think he was staying well above the surface, and using a spoon, even as his hands were getting down in the murk. But of course he could get splashed, or as Percy and I were pestering him with questions, he could get distracted... The frozen stuff is fished out with a slotted spoon.

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But it's probably like putting stuff in hot oil, or using the mandoline without the guard: after the 500th time, you figure you can do it without hurting yourself. And MOST of the time you're right.

Edited to add: his hands do look kind of red, don't they?!

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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$1500-2000 probably won't fly with the 'rents. I'll dig around campus and see if anyone in the chemistry and physics departments is willing to give me any for some experimentation--I doubt it though.. I'm assuming I can get a steel block at somewhere like Home Depot. If worse comes to worse, I'll find some back in NJ later this spring.

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  • 5 years later...

I haven't seen much, or in fact ANY discussion of the PolyScience Anti-Griddle and DIY alternatives on eGullet, unless I've missed some somewhere. So it seems appropriate to start a new thread, and hope that others will chime in with their observations and recipes.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am yet another Chief Scientist/Amateur Chef. And I've only had my Anti-Griddle for two days now, so I'm hardly an expert yet. And finally, I don't work for or have any other connection with PolyScience, other than having bought a number of their products.

But to kick things off, let me share with you what I do know, both from my still limited personal experience, and from watching the various videos on the PolyScience web site.

First of all, cooling/chilling/freezing brings another dimension to our modern cuisine (and perhaps to drink-making), just as sous vide, foams, emulsions, and spherification has to more traditional cooking.

Just to put things in perspective, most home or commercial freezers won't go much below -5F/-20C. The AntiGriddle operates at a nominal -30F/-34C. The DIY approach to the AntiGriddle, which involves a cookie sheet sitting on a block of dry ice, can approach temperatures of −78.5 °C (−109.3 °F). By contrast, liquid nitrogen boils at -196C; (-321°F).

As in everything else, there is a cost/convenience tradeoff. Dry ice is available in many grocery stores for around $2 a pound plus the inconvenience of a trip to the store, whereas the PolyScience AntiGriddle costs $1200 plus shipping, but is ready within ten minutes after you switch it on. Liquid nitrogen, the darling of Ferran Adria and widely discussed in Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine, requires a special Dewar container that costs on the order of $600 to $1400, plus liquid withdrawal or other devices that typically add another $700 or so to the overall cost, and then trying to convince an industrial gas supplier to make a stop at your home or restaurant. Finally, although you certainly don't want to lick the surface of the Anti-Griddle with your tongue, it is generally safe, while both dry ice and particularly liquid nitrogen can actually kill you (and whoever tries to rescue you), if it spills and stays in a concentrated amount near the floor, in addition to the risk of frost-bite.

PolyScience recommends spraying the surface of the Anti-Griddle with olive oil as a release agent, and using nonmetallic tools to remove or flip the frozen items. So far, I haven't found either of those to be necessary.

Here in Taos, NM, the humidity is pretty low most of the time. Nonetheless, the Anti-Griddle soon becomes coated with a thin layer of frost, and I've been able to slip a thin stainless-steel spatula under whatever I was chilling without any difficulty. (This frost effect seems to be considerably reduced if you leave the lid on prior to actually putting something on the Anti-Griddle.)

Others have recommended covering the Anti-Griddle with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, to facilitate removing items. I could see how that might help if you were to make a large design and wanted to remove it -- you could remove the foil and then fold it away from the item to release it, but so far I haven't needed to do that.

SOME RECIPES AND OTHER IDEAS:

I've tried the Blue Cheese Foam Sequence with the port wine gell at http://www.molecularrecipes.com/anti-griddle-2/blue-cheese-foam-sequence-anti-griddle-recipe/. The first time I tried it, I used the DIY technique, which worked reasonably well. With the Anti-Griddle last night, it of course took longer for the blue cheese foam to solidify, and it thawed a bit faster than I might have liked. I probably should have put the serving plates in the freezer first.

I also tried a funky drink idea I had. I sliced a seedless watermelon into 3/4" cubes, then put both the cubes and enough Bloody Mary mix to cover them in a bag and evacuated them in my chamber vacuum to infuse the Bloody Mary mix into the watermelon, effectively replacing the watermelon test. Then I removed the cubes, skewered several of them on a half of a long skewer (I perhaps could have used a toothpick), then put them on the AntiGriddle to freeze, before adding them to my Bloody Mary in lieu of a celery stick.

My wife doesn't like tomato juice, so I did the same thing with just vodka, and made a watermelon martini. She loved it.A71V0080-2.jpg

For dessert, I tried using some small, store-bought chocolate brownies, and enrobing them in whipped cream dispensed onto the Anti-Griddle from an iSi CreamWhip. Let one dollop of cream smi-harden, put the brownie on it, let it harden some more, then add shipped cream on top and flip it over. Sort of an inside-out ice cream sandwich.A71V0086-2.jpg

Finally, I have an idea for sous vide cook/chill, but I haven't tried it yet. Fill a small roasting pan with a concentrated salt water brine which you keep in milk jug in the freezer (it won't freeze), and then put the roasting pan on the AntiGriddle to chill further. Now you can add whatever you cooked sous vide to the brine bath, and it should cool much faster than in an ordinary ice bath.

You could also use ethylene glycol (antifreeze) or alcohol (e.g., Everclear, or even vodka), with equally good effect, although I'm not sure I want antifreeze in one of my roasting pans, and that much alcohol might be a fire hazard if it spilled.

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Yours is a most interesting and great look into the Anti-Griddle. I find it useful and look forward to hearing about your further recipe experiments.

"A cloud o' dust! Could be most anything. Even a whirling dervish.

That, gentlemen, is the whirlingest dervish of them all." - The Professionals by Richard Brooks

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....

Finally, I have an idea for sous vide cook/chill, but I haven't tried it yet. Fill a small roasting pan with a concentrated salt water brine which you keep in milk jug in the freezer (it won't freeze), and then put the roasting pan on the AntiGriddle to chill further. Now you can add whatever you cooked sous vide to the brine bath, and it should cool much faster than in an ordinary ice bath.

....

Interesting idea! You might compare the temperature profile cooling from 55°C to frozen in brine with crushed ice (maybe -10°C) or in brine on the Anti-Griddle at -34°C, using the wet rag method, and stirring your ice bath for best surface heat transfer. Looking forward to your diagrams!

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Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm a home cook, interested in modern machinery, so have acquired a Thermomix, immersion circulator and Anti-Griddle in recent years. I must say that the Anti-Griddle seems the least useful of all of these and I wish I'd spent the money on a good ice cream machine instead.

Why?

Simply put, what you can do with an Anti-Griddle is incredibly limited. It is only the *best* device out there for those very few applications where you want a constant and dependable -34C temperature on a flat plane. If you want to freeze something quickly, this is not what you want (rather a cold freezer or liquid nitrogen or maybe even dry ice are better, because these don't just freeze a single surface at a time). If you want to make ice cream then this is not what you want - the fact that it freezes one side quickly but leaves all other sides unfrozen means that in a case where you wanted a similar amount of freeze everywhere you're sure to be disappointed - one part will be hard and icy and the other unfrozen. If you want an ice bath it is also not that good, because (again) there is only the one surface that it is freezing at any one time and that surface is only drawing 800W of power at a maximum. So, if you stick a small amount of liquid with little insulation on top of the Anti-Griddle and constantly stir it and take the freezing crust off the bottom then you would get something like an ice bath, but it would require constant attention and be more finicky than just a bucket with ice cubes and cold water.

As a home cook with limited equipment I had thought up a lot of potential ways I might use an Anti-Griddle to substitute for other kitchen equipment - the type of equipment like ice baths, ice cream machines and blast chillers that a restaurant would have anyway. Time and again, it's proved itself to not be versatile in these regards.

[1] I have tried making ice cream with the Anti-Griddle, using a method similar to cooking scrambled eggs or even an omelette - pour the mixture on, turn it regularly and occasionally mix a bit. This works, but it can easily get messy, is hard to get a consistent mixture and of course needs to be then stored in a freezer to get the right consistency. Overall, the outcome is no better than a domestic ice cream machine.

[2] I have tried an ice bath and even tried a vodka bath. I had thought that if I put a litre of vodka in a bath on top of the Anti-Griddle and gave it time I might be able to get the vodka down to -20C or so in liquid form and then use it to freeze desserts (part of my attempt to make the A-G more than a 2D freezer). This didn't work. The relatively weak 800W of power the machine requires means that it was always losing too much energy to ever cool the vodka mix enough.

[3] I have tried freezing semifreddos in silicone molds and similar on the surface. This can be done, but freezing anything thicker than a centimetre or so takes too long and might just as well be done in a domestic freezer.

It is unsurprising to me, when looking around the web, that so many people use their Anti-Griddle for something like a frozen tuile of sorts or a lollipop. This is just about all it's good for and all I regularly use it for. It's nice to be able to get a dollop of yogurt and/or honey and stick them on the surface turning them into an instant, scrumptious lollipop, but for me the opportunities the machine presents for a home cook don't match the price. A restaurant with many covers might easily find the machine useful for churning out a particular dish (probably a lollipop) they had in mind, but most people - even most chefs - don't have a need for such a particular sort of cooking on a regular basis.

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Maxim, you and I obviously have a lot in common besides a Thermomix, several sous vide machines, an AntiGriddle, and probably a chamber vacuum as well!

And I would agree with many of the things you said. But perhaps if the two of us put our heads together, we can come up with something useful and interesting -- more than a just a lollipop or a reverse ice cream sandwich.

I thought about buying some cheap vodka, but since you've already tried that, I think I'll start with a concentrated brine solution, and see if I can make something useful happen that way. But other than chilling Russian-style vodka shots, or maybe popsicles in a mold, not much is coming to mind. I guess I need to go back and read Alinea more carefully.

As you observantly point out, the problem is not the surface temperature of the griddle, but rather the heat (cold) loss to the surrounding air that makes it difficult to chill anything that is more than a few millimeters thick.

I have asked PolyScience about the possibility of obtaining a taller plexiglass cover, but so far they haven't responded. I guess I'll ping them again.

But another inexpensive alternative might to be take an inexpensive Styrofoam cooler and cut off the bottom, so as to form a insulated "lid" that was perhaps 1 to 2 inches high. That might help to chill the air around whatever you are trying to cool, including a brine or alcohol bath in which something was submerged.

The money spent is now a sunk cost. Let's see what we can do to make it more useful!

Bob

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I'm well and truly in agreement - especially about the sunk cost!

I must say, I haven't really persevered with my A-G experiments as much as I could - I was put off quickly by failures. I have also, by and large, been using the equipment in a room with temperatures from 20-25C, so trying the same experiments in a 10-15C room may make the difference.

I thought of the styrofoam idea and I think it's a good one - I just haven't been bothered getting an arrangement going, but I suspect it wouldn't be too hard to jury rig a system with much better insulation. I'm not convinced that any vodka would ever get cold enough to cool foods in direct contact without them absorbing the alcohol and leaving a horrible tasting product (in most cases), but maybe even a silicone mold (especially one with a rounded bottom) floating in a very cold vodka solution would open some possibilities that are a bit more inviting. Maybe there are also more inventive solutions - e.g. coating product in cling film before dunking it in very cold vodka*. At the moment, I can only really freeze things in flat-bottom holds to a centimetre or so - using a shallow bath of more like 1cm of vodka as a thermal conductor may work. My 'experiment' involved more like a litre of vodka in a 4-5cm bath.

I often use acetate on top of the A-G to make products easier to remove, but haven't as of yet used the acetate to its full potential considering the flexibility (e.g. making hot-dog-shaped lollipops that involve wrapping an almost-frozen thin layer around the stick).

One other thing I am interested in is what is the best way to create an open-bottom mold on the A-G: I'm not sure if the sort of silicon noodles used in confectionary would conduct the cold well enough and one of the few things I haven't wasted money on is a good set of confectioner's bars. Alinea seems to use thick (rubber?) molds to shape their product.

One experiment I never really carried out that should be possible on the A-G - especially a better insulated one - is getting perfectly transparent ice cubes.

Oh... and a chamber vacuum is next on my list, unless I can exhibit a perverse form of self-control and save up for a PacoJet instead!

* really, though, it should be almost as easy to do this with a freezer as with the A-G. In fact, this ties in with my earlier pessimistic outlook - it seems many of the applications I have seen with the A-G could be achieved almost with the same ease using less esoteric equipment. This is what, in my mind, makes it less of a 'must buy' than something like a chamber vacuum, immersion circulator, good blender or PacoJet.

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Maxim,

A couple of nights ago I cooked a tongue sous vide, a la Heston Blumenthal (a part of his Royal Beef recipe). Afterwards, I wanted to seal it up, and needed to chill it first.

So I brought out a deep (4 qt?) All-Clad saute pan and filled it with ice cubes and a little water, added most of a box of sea salt, and put it on the Anti-Griddle. It very quickly dropped the temperature to -4C. i wanted to see whether that was due to the salt and ice cubes, so I moved it to the counter, whereupon the temperature went up to 0C. So after removing the tongue I put it back on the A-G and left it there for about 10 hours with the stainless steel lid on it. The room temperature was about 76F/24C.

The next day, the salt water was frozen hard, and the temperature had dropped to -23C! There was about 2mm of frost on the A-G, and about 1 mm on the side of the pan, but none on the lid. (The humidity here is Taos is pretty low -- I'd hate to see what it would be like in St. Louis or D.C. these days!)

So I turned it off, and it took nearly six hours to thaw, at which point I was able to see some of the original cylindrical "cubes." The temperature once it had reached the partially-thawed state (the triple-point) was about -2C, so obviously the brine was not nearly saturated.

Next, I tried to create a Styrofoam box or lid by cutting up a bigger shipping carton, but I gave up -- too hard. Unfortunately, I didn't have a big enough box for the original pan, so I poured about half of the liquid into a smaller copper/tinned pan used for Potatoes Anna, put it on the AG, and covered it with an upside-down Styrofoam cooler ($3.99 end-of-summer sale). It just covered the griddle.

Within a hour and a half, the temperature had dropped to -16C!

So I think that with a little insulation, and a reasonable amount of chilling fluid, the Anti-Griddle can be very effective as a cook-chill ice bath. And if you have room in your freezer or refrigerator for a couple of big bottles of vodka or brine, so much the better. (I saw some cheap vodka at $11.95 for 1500 ml. I probably wouldn't want to drink it, except maybe in a Bloody Mary with lots of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, but a couple of bottles would make a pretty good chilling fluid, and it wouldn't leave salt spots everywhere.)

Now, beyond that?

I think that a mold is probably essential, unless you are soaking something where you actually WANT to absorb the vodka, like my experiments with watermelon "ice cubes." I recently bought, but haven't yet tried, three molds with varying sizes of half-spheres. So I don't know -- do we need popsicle molds, or something similar, which we can then immerse in either a brine or some vodka?

I just can't figure out what to put IN the molds, other than perhaps a sorbet.

As to the pure, clear ice cubes, I suspect that the first step is to boil the water to get rid of the dissolved air. If you do that, I think that you can make them just as easily in your freezer.

As to the trade-offs, I would certainly agree that a couple of bucks worth of dry ice and a cookie sheet will do everything that an Anti Griddle will do, and probably faster and better, if less conveniently. If you want to speed it up some more, add some alcohol to chipped dry ice -- you should be able to reuse the alcohol later. Just be aware that alcohol that cold is VERY dangerous, almost as bad as liquid nitrogen -- don't spill it on anything, especially your Nike-clad feet!

So yes, I would put a Thermomix, a chamber vacuum, and an immersion circulator, or at least a couple of Sous Vide Magic PID controllers and a large rice cooker, ahead of an Anti-Griddle on anyone's shopping list. A PacoJet? I'm not so sure. A rotovap or a Combi-oven, much less a centrifuge? Get thee behind me, Satan!

Bob

Edited by Robert Jueneman (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Joe Strybel of PolyScience sent me a note recently, saying that he had come across my post asking about a taller lid, but that no one had any recollection of such a request, and in any case they were not in a position to make a one-off lid just for me. So I re-sent him the note that I had originally sent on 7/19/11.

Since this thread was merged with the original one, no one seems to have read it, or has much interest. Too bad.

But just in case someone is lurking out there, if you also have an interest in a taller lid, I would send a note to PolyScience.

Because PolyScience already sells the Cambro tanks for use with their sous vide kit, I checked the Cambro web site and found a ColdFest pan that is just the right size -- 10 1/4" x 12 3/4" x 6", made of high-impact ABS material and filled with a non-toxi gel. The product number is 26CF, at http://cool.cambro.com/ColdFest_Storage.ashx. Cambro sells it for keeping food cold without ice -- you freeze the pan, and then fill it with pre-chilled product, and it will stay cold for eight hours. So freezing it and then inverting it would make a very effective insulating cover. I've ordered one from www.webstaurantstore.com, along with a 1/4 size stainless steel hotel pan to hold the chilled vodka. Voila -- instant ice bath for sous vidd cook-chill!

When it arrives, I'll let people know how well it works.

Bob

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Because PolyScience already sells the Cambro tanks for use with their sous vide kit, I checked the Cambro web site and found a ColdFest pan that is just the right size -- 10 1/4" x 12 3/4" x 6", made of high-impact ABS material and filled with a non-toxi gel. The product number is 26CF, at http://cool.cambro.com/ColdFest_Storage.ashx. Cambro sells it for keeping food cold without ice -- you freeze the pan, and then fill it with pre-chilled product, and it will stay cold for eight hours. So freezing it and then inverting it would make a very effective insulating cover. I've ordered one from www.webstaurantstore.com, along with a 1/4 size stainless steel hotel pan to hold the chilled vodka. Voila -- instant ice bath for sous vide cook-chill!

When it arrives, I'll let people know how well it works.

Bob

The ColdFest chilling pan arrived yesterday and is in the freezer, along with 1500ml of cheap vodka. I'm still waiting for the 1/4 size hotel pan to arrive.

But the ColdFest pan seems like an ideal marriage partner for the Anti-Griddle, as it fits very nicely over the entire surface, and it both insulates and chills the surrounding air. Once the hotel pan arrives, I'l post some info as to the minimum temperature reached, and how long it takes to get there.

But as a much more convenient, if admittedly more expensive solution than a brine ice bath for sous vide cook chill, I expect to make a lot of use of the combination.

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OK, I tried the ColdFest chilling pan in combination with a stainless steel loaf pan, partially filed with cheap 80 proof vodka from the freezer at a nominal -8F, in order to cook-chill a sous vide dish -- in this case a good sized piece of leftover brisket at 55C.

When I first put the meat in the loaf pan, with the thermometer probe on the bottom of the pan in the alcohol, and the ColdFest pan fresh from the freezer at around 0F, the temperature initially read 11 F. Then, somewhat to my surprise, over the next 30 minutes or so it climbed to about 18F, I assume as the heat from the meat radiated outward. Then it slowly began to drop.

I decided to leave the AntiGriddle on all night, and went to bed. I got up and checked it around 3-4 hours later and it was down to around -10F (as I recall), and by the next morning it was down to -20F.

So the Cold Fest pan is a great solution to the problem of losing too much of the chilling effect to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, a loaf pan is a little bit too small to hold what I want, and nothing larger that will fit inside the ColdFest pan seems to be available. I tried remolding a cheap aluminum lasagna pan into the right dimensions, but that was basically a flop and the vodka spilled every which way.

I may have to pay a local metal fabricator to make me something out of copper to my specifications, if I can't find something suitable that is pre-made.

Anyway, this seems to be a very useful alternative to a big tub of ice in an ice-bath, for SV cook-chill.

I've also found the Anti-Griddle to be useful in quickly chilling down something I had just been heating, e.g., some grocery-store balsamic vinegar that I reduced by 50% in order to concentrate the flavor.

And certainly it is much more convenient, if admittedly much more expensive, than a pan full of dry ice and vodka; or an equally priced Dewar of liquid nitrogen, for such purposes.

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It still seems a very inefficient system, energy consumption wise, compared to the normal ice bath system. Is it really that much better to justify the cost? I can't see this taking off as an appliance any time soon, the possible uses just are too limited.

In saying that, I still want one.

James.

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It still seems a very inefficient system, energy consumption wise, compared to the normal ice bath system. Is it really that much better to justify the cost? I can't see this taking off as an appliance any time soon, the possible uses just are too limited.

In saying that, I still want one.

I hear you. However, an ice bath won't actually freeze something, unless you use a heavily brined solution, and that makes a mess if you spill some of it.

As I said to Maxim, once you have succumbed to temptation and it is a sunk cost, you might as well figure out a better use for it than making popsicles!

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Thanks, Robert. I really appreciate you going on with experimentation.

I have been hampered more by apathy and the comparatively cold weather in Sydney during the Winter from continuing on with A-G experiments. Also, I've put an ice-cream machine on order which may dull my A-G enthusiasm. If I can find a nice insulated 1/2 size gastronorm pan out there though (that ships to Oz) I think I might pick one up. Then I can play around with seeing how quickly I can freeze things, say, in a vodka bath again. Also, having the big lid should make freezing cubes and non-flat objects much easier.

Leaving the A-G on overnight seems a bit too much from my point of view, but even just using the insulated lid solution sounds like a great idea.

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I would think Cambro has distributors worldwide, but if not, and you really want one of the ColdFest pans, let me know and I'm sure we could work something out

I wasn't really suggesting leaving the A-G on all night -- i was just (a) tired and lazy, and (b) curious to know how cold it would get. Chilling down to 0F or -18C is plenty good enough for sous vide cook/chill, and an hour is about enough for that, especially with pre-chilled vodka.

Bob

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