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By: support | December 09, 2017

With the festive season fast approaching, many people are likely to engage in lots of celebratory feasting and drinking. When it comes to the drinks, few things matter as much as the quality of ice used. After all, keeping the drinks cold for as long as possible with clean clear ice cubes is of absolute importance.


With houses in America having open-concept floorplans, a hidden designated space for a large commercial ice maker is turning into a rare and expensive option. Luckily, ice making at home can still yield great results even without using big commercial grade machines. Check out Ice Makers Hub for many options.


Anyone who has ever watched a liquor or whiskey commercial will notice the perfect ice cubes used in those commercials. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to assume that the advertising company has heavily edited or photo-shopped the cubes. This is until one goes to a premium cocktail bar and notices that the ice cubes are just as clear. In fact, they look like they are right out of a commercial.


Most cocktail bars use relatively expensive commercial grade machines to make huge ice blocks which then break up into more sizable chunks. While homeowners looking to make perfect ice can opt to buy these ice-making machines, it is a costly option and one that requires lots of space. However, as an alternative counter top or under-the-counter ice machines are affordable options for the American homeowner.

EXPLANATIONS OF CLOUDY ICE

(Source: Today I Found Out)

Most people who attempt ice making at home soon realize that the resulting ice appears cloudy and sometimes even turns into a pale white shade. For many, this cloudy appearance is aesthetically unappealing while others may falsely point it out as proof that the ice has gone "bad." The truth is that it is not dangerous and most importantly, there is a science behind the cloudiness.


One of the most commonly cited reasons for the cloudiness is the impurities in the water. According to some experts, when water that has impurities such as dissolved minerals and gases is frozen, the impurities are pushed to the center of the cube. All this is based on the fact that water normally freezes from the outside going in.

Nonetheless, many critics are quick to point out that those impurities are bottom of the list when it comes to causes of cloudy ice. According to these critics, there are three other major explanations behind the cloudy appearance;

1. Ice Crystal Formation

Ice cubes are water molecules that have undergone crystallization. In most cases, ice making at home involves fast freezing to cater to immediate demands. When fast freezing takes place, different crystals form in multiple locations at the same time. This results in a misalignment of ice crystals. For example, some crystals may form inside other crystals.

Subsequently, this misalignment leads to cracks and imperfections at the points where the different crystals meet. The cracks and imperfections leave the ice cubes with a cloudy appearance.

2. The Effects of Super-Cooling

As noted earlier, ice making at home often involves people cooling ice fast to meet immediate demands. In fact, many freezers pride themselves on the ability to super-cool. Super-cooling is best defined as the exposure of liquid water to temperatures below zero degrees Celsius. Water exposed to super-cooling forms smaller crystal structures that are also less clear than those of water frozen slowly. In fact, scientists are in consensus that large and clear ice crystals only form when ice freezes at the normal freezing point of water, i.e., zero degrees Celsius. 

3. The Expansion of Water

Research has long established that liquid water is denser than ice. This means that ice occupies more space for the same mass of water. Simply put, as water is undergoing the freezing process, it also expands. Fast freezing or super-cooling results in a rushed expansion of the water which in turn leaves stress lines and cracks in the cube.

 

It is important to note that these three factors have one thing in common; they all depend on a great deal on the speed at which water is frozen. Super-cooling or fast freezing undoubtedly results in cloudy ice. 

Why Bother With Perfect Ice Anyway?

Clear Ice at Home  

There are those who argue that ice making at home is a process of convenience and that there are no notable differences between the clear and cloudy ice. The truth is that these sentiments do not hold any water. There are some notable differences between clear and cloudy ice;

 

Foremost, the beauty of clear ice is that people can see right through. This clearness is associated with purity and exquisiteness. The lack of cracks and impurities also makes clear ice more aesthetically pleasing than cloudy ice.

 

Secondly, and more significantly, the lack of impurities and gas bubbles in clear ice cubes means that they take longer to melt. This is significant for one main reason; people can keep their drinks colder for longer.

 

Thirdly, clear ice has fewer or no cracks and air bubbles. Subsequently, perfect ice does not break into smaller pieces easily. This is unlike cloudy ice which quickly disintegrates into smaller chunks of ice. These smaller chunks of ice dissolve and dilute the drink faster. Clear ice, therefore, helps to maintain the flavor of the drink for longer. 

Ice Making At Home: A Comparison Of Techniques

Perfect ice is not only accessible at classy cocktail bars. On the contrary, it is possible for homeowners to make clear (or in some cases, near clear) ice right in the comfort of their homes. Over the years, people have proposed some techniques meant to help homeowners make perfect ice at home. Some of the most common of these techniques include; 

1. Using Boiling/Boiled Water

  

According to proponents of this technique, boiling water helps to rid the water of impurities such as dissolved gases. They believe that the removal of dissolved gases leads to clear ice cubes. Other proponents of this technique recommend using a boiling filter or bottled water to get the best results. Some even suggest boiling water twice. Boiling water and letting it cool before freezing it is also known as degassing.


Unfortunately, available evidence suggests that homeowners may not get good results in their pursuit of perfect ice using this technique. For example, some experts have established that boiling tap water once does not have any effect on the clearness of the ice. On the other hand, boiling tap water twice yields slightly clearer ice with the cloud noticeably at the center.


Experts have made the same observations with distilled water. When boiled once, the cubes were still as cloudy as regular cubes. When boiled twice, however, distilled water yielded far much clearer ice than double-boiled tap water. However, many people who have attempted this technique still observe a small cloud towards the bottom side of the cube.


Verdict


This technique is based on the argument that impurities significantly contribute to cloudiness in ice cubes. While it is true that impurities in water contribute to the formation of cloudy ice cubes, experts agree that it is not a significant factor.


To provide proof of this, experts point to the crystal clear nature of icicles found hanging from trees or drainpipes during winter.


Not only is the water that forms these icicles not boiled, but it is also exposed to numerous impurities in the environment.


Despite all this, these icicles still end up with a crystal clear appearance. Homeowners can therefore not depend wholly on this technique to make perfect and crystal clear ice. However, for relatively clearer ice cubes, boiling distilled water twice offers the best results.

2. Slow Cooling using a Cooler

Science dictates that when water is cooled too quickly, it is unable to push away impurities from the freezing interface hence affecting the cloudiness of the ice. This technique is also based on the same argument. It ensures that water freezes at a slower pace allowing air bubbles to escape.

 

The technique is also based on the premise of water cooling from the outside to the inside. The technique, therefore, tries to ensure that impurities are pushed towards one direction rather than in multiple directions. This is known as directional cooling.

 

The process starts with one purchasing an insulated cooler that can fit in the freezer. Many experts also recommend buying a cooler that has hard-sides. The next step is to remove the lid from the cooler and next, to fill it with water at least three-quarter full.

 

To eliminate the possibility of impurities increasing the cloudiness of the ice, many experts recommend using boiled distilled or filtered water. The third step is to place the cooler into the freezer without the lid on and leaving it there for between 12 and 14 hours.

 

Although one could wait until all the water freezes, some experts suggest getting the ice out before the cloud starts forming at the bottom of the cooler. If one chooses to let the cloud form, it is still possible to scrape it off with a serrated knife.

 

After removing the cooler from the freezer, homeowners should let it rest for between 5 and 30 minutes. This allows the ice to melt a bit and subsequently allow the person to slide the ice out of the cooler. Lastly, one should place the ice block onto a cookie sheet (or any other sufficient surface) and break it up into smaller chunks or cubes.

 

Some advocates of this technique recommend using an ice tray or mold to make lesser quantities of ice. One should then fill the tray/mold with water. It is also important to ensure that the area around the tray is filled with water. This ensures that cold air does not freeze the tray from the sides or the bottom.

 

For the best results, experts recommend setting the temperature of the freezer between -3 degrees Celsius and -8 degrees Celsius. This method also yields clear and perfect ice cubes with the cloudiness pushed to the bottom where one can scrape it off.

 

Verdict

 

Putting water into the cooler ensures that the freezing process only takes place from top to bottom. Additionally, the cloud of impurities often forms during the end stages of the freezing process. This means that not letting the ice-block freeze completely may result in significantly less cloudiness.

 

Most importantly, however, the combination of slow and directional cooling ensures that the cloud of impurities is collected at one end of the cube. One can then cut off these cloudy parts away and remain with a crystal clear ice block.

 

Another huge advantage of this technique is that it allows homeowners to make a huge amount of ice in one go. Based on results that experts have experienced with this method, it is, by far, the most reliable technique of ice making at home. 

3. Using Salt as an Insulator

Most people are unaware of this technique. However, just like the cooler method, it is founded mainly on the concept of directional cooling. This technique is also based on the premise that adding salt into water lowers its freezing point to below zero degrees Celsius. Advocates of this method suggest two main methods.

 

In both methods, two containers are needed; a larger one for the salt water and a smaller one that acts as the ice tray. Alternatively, one could use a container large enough for the ice tray to completely float in. In the first method, one fills the smaller container with water, floats it in the container containing salt water and places it in the freezer.

 

In this method, the salt water acts as an insulator and ensures that the ice freezes from the top going down. Experts recommend using big amounts of salt to achieve better results. Just like the cooler method, this technique pushes the cloud of impurities to the bottom where one can then scrape it out easily.

 

In the second method, individuals are meant to place the salt water container into a freezer for at least 3 hours to lower its temperature. The second step then involves one boiling water and letting it cool before pouring it into an ice tray/smaller container.

 

Thirdly, one should float the ice tray or container over the ice solution in the freezer. Adherents of this technique claim that the cold salt water allows for the ice tray to cool from bottom to the top. According to these experts, this form of directional cooling eliminates air pockets. Subsequently, they assert that this technique yields perfect ice cubes that are crack free and strong.

 

Verdict

 

This technique and particularly the first method of the technique is quite similar to the cooler technique. It is therefore very likely to yield good results for those interested in the ice making at home. Although the second method seems to make sense theoretically, not many experts can confirm its reliability. The second method of using salt water as an insulator is therefore subject to more experiments and trials.

 

As established, ice making at home is often a tricky task. However, with the right technique and attention to detail, it is possible for homeowners to make perfect ice cubes in their homes comfortably. Perhaps it is also advisable to note that many experts consider sphere shaped ice better than ice cubes. This is because sphere shaped ice takes longer to melt thanks to its smaller surface area to volume ratio.

By: support | July 04, 2017


Innovative Kitchen Tools

Kitchen  Appliances

I have recently realized a new level of respect for the work that goes into creating delicious, attractive restaurant dishes. I have been on a purpose to recreate dishes from an old Italian restaurant and found it is easier said than done. My journey of discovery opened up a world of exciting kitchen appliances for easy cooking. Some are too fancy and expensive for my basic kitchen, but there are ideal for professional environments.

Ten Great New Kitchen Tools That Can Be Applied To A Professional Kitchen.

Timing is everything in a professional kitchen. You don’t want to be wasting time carefully peeling and chopping fruit and vegetables in prep when there are other important tasks. You also don’t want to be messing around with leaves and juice when presenting a dish at the last minute. There are lots of interesting gadgets that restaurant kitchens can use to make the most of their fruit and veg and save some time.

 1) Pineapple Corer

Kitchen  Appliances

The pineapple corer is one of those odd kitchen appliances that we all want to own once we see. Pineapple is often too annoying to bother with, but it is still an essential ingredient in many kitchens. This corer strips the skin and core without wasting the flesh.

2) Hand Juicer

The new hand juicer is one of those items where you can’t believe someone hadn’t already made it. Adding lemon juice to the top of a dish is tricky when it comes directly from the fruit. This device essentially turns the fruit into an atomizer

3) Strawberry Stem Remover

A strawberry stem remover shouldn’t be a necessity, but it is. This device takes away the green top without damaging the fruit. It is quick, hassle-free and brilliant.

 

Then there are those must-have kitchen tools for cooking meat to perfection and serving it beautifully. These devices have a range of applications in different types of kitchen. Many of these kitchen aids are sold to BBQ lovers cooking outdoors. 

However, the precision and quality involved mean that they are also perfect for professional kitchens.


4)  Digital BBQ Tongs

Kitchen  Appliances

A digital BBQ tongs and thermometer set is an attractive alternative to the usual meat thermometers that chefs use. Taking the temperature of the meat means that chefs can test if it is cooked without cutting into it. A thermometer on a pair of tongs adds functional element.

5) Roast Cutting Tongs

Roast cutting tongs are a gimmick that has more potential the more you look at them. These pliers grip a large piece of meat while providing the perfect cutting point. This is great in restaurant kitchens because it allows for cleaner cuts and uniformity.

Measurements also need to be precise in a professional kitchen. Some of the following gadgets may seem as though they belong in the home kitchen for easy cooking. However, they could have their place in small, fast-paced professional environments.

6) Digital Volumetric Spoon Scale

Kitchen  Appliances

The digital volumetric spoon scale is one of those products that lives up to its name. It is both a soon and a scale, and it has a digital display. It is a little gimmicky, but it could be great for precise measurements for signature sauces.

7) Perfect Portions Digital Scale

The perfect portions digital scale is sold with an eye to at-home cooking, but it could also work in a restaurant kitchen. The idea is that the scale uses pre-programed data to determine the nutritional value of a portion of food. This could be useful in cafes with a healthy eating ethos.

It is amazing what you can get for the kitchen these days. There are so many kitchen appliances that I wouldn’t mind having but cannot justify. These final options are extravagant but impressive.

8) The Gripet

The Gripet is impractical at home but a must in a professional kitchen. These note-holders are the ideal way to display orders and messages at the line.

9) The Deglon Meeting Knife Set

The Deglon Meeting Knife Set is an intelligent storage option for professional kitchens that are short on space. The knives slot together, eliminating the need for a cumbersome block. It is also far too expensive for general use at $999.

10) UCE-9000 Turbo Water Ionizer 

Kitchen  Appliances

One item that I might get away with if it were cheaper is the UCE-9000 Turbo Water Ionizer. This device ionizes your water supply for safer, sterilized water and drinking water. At $2795 it is one for restaurants that want their tap water to be perfect.

By: support | March 10, 2017

Robotic Cleaners For Restaurant Cleaning

As diners, we usually come to a restaurant for the food over anything else. However, it takes more than that for us to consider a return visit. There are lots of factors to count when creating the ideal establishment. A great location, pleasant décor, fun ambiance and clean dining area all play their part. We always expect to be seated at a clean table and offered a meal on clean plates with clean cutlery. The whole area needs to be kept as fresh and tidy as possible with continual cleaning and maintenance. I feel it is important that front of house staff remember that regular table was wiping, and replacement knives and forks are just the starts when it comes to cleaning. That is why I am here to advocate the robotic vacuum. 

There Are Forever Going To Be Spills And Accidents In A Restaurant Setting, So Deal With Them Effectively

If we aren’t accidentally knocking over a glass of wine, there will be a mistake by the waiting staff. Even the most immaculate floor can be a mess with drinks, pasta sauce, and soup stains by the end of service. It can be tricky to deal with liquid spills during a lunch service, but I believe it is essential to do so ASAP. This is especially the case in establishments with buffets where we are serving ourselves and transferring food from station to station. Staff should have hygienic, absorbent wipes on hand for accidents during service.

A Quick Mop And Sweep Will Only Go So Far. This Is Why I Recommend Robotic Vacuum Cleaners And Related Tools

The robotic floor cleaner, in my eyes at least, has to be the best cleaning invention in modern times. A robotic machine can cover the ground with a scrubbing action, water, and detergent. This lets them deal with those spills while staff focuses on table tops and other issues. These cordless machines are great tools in large spaces where spills need to be treated effectively. The ones that have a drying function are even more beneficial as they cut the drying time. This means no risk of a slippery floor when us diners arrive for the dinner service.

 

Robotic vacuum cleaners are also a great tool for dealing with dirt and crumbs in the carpet. This is true under tables or in hard to reach nooks and crannies. The last thing that any of us want is food getting into a seemingly out-of-reach place and causing a smell or insect infestation. The more intelligent the model is, the better the chance of creating a route that it can remember. This feature, as well as obstacle recognition, means that these robots can be left to their own devices.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaners Are A Vital Tool For Effective Restaurant Cleaning

It is usually all about the human touch with fine dining, but I am certain that robots can help to keep the place clean. It is vital that a restaurant dining area is spotless and ready for customers at the start of every service. This effective process really can make a difference between an efficient, inviting establishment and those that struggle to meet expectations.

 

By: support | January 11, 2017

Kitchen Equipment To Open A Restaurant

Kitchen  Appliances

Setting up a new restaurant is an exciting task, especially if you are thinking ahead to your paying customers and interesting menu. However, the only way to create that mouth-watering menu is by adding the right equipment and appliances to your kitchen. Here I want to look at some of the most valuable items that restauranteurs need to create the perfect cooking space. I know that some seem obvious, but others may have slipped your mind.

Industrial Grade Cooking And Chilling Equipment:

Kitchen  Appliances

This first item is probably the most prominent on my list, which is why I put it first. If you plan on having a busy restaurant with lots of covers, you can’t have a bad machine. Ovens, grills, hobs, grates and all other cooking apparatus need to be built to last. They need to be able to handle the high heats and fuel consumption of a busy dinner service while remaining reliable. The same applies to any chillers, freezers and other, more specialist equipment that you might decide to use.

Pots, Pans, And Other Related Items:

Kitchen  Appliances

Once you have all of the different pieces of cooking equipment set up, you need to be able to cook. The first place to start is with the sauce pans, stock pots, frying pans and other pieces of cooking apparatus. The more versatile, the better when starting out with your new kitchen. Again, specialist items can be useful for specific menus and dishes, but you need to be sure that they are worthwhile. A wok is a must for a Chinese restaurant but not so much in more traditional hotel restaurants. Consider the quality of the items as well as the capacity. A stock pot needs to be large enough to meet the needs of customers but small enough to fit the space. Pans also need to be tough and heat resistant for long-term use.

Utensils:

Then all the different appliances are necessary to create the dishes within these pieces of equipment. Once we start to think of all the different items that are used, the list seems endless. First, there are all the spoons, spatulas and ladles for stirring and serving the dishes. Then there are all the different types of knives for chopping and cutting the produce. As with the pans and other devices, it is best to start with the multifunctional, essential elements first. It may be worth holding back on specialist items until you are sure they are worthwhile. We all get drawn in by clever contraptions and have buyers remorse when they sit unused in the drawer.

Plates And Bowls:

Kitchen  Appliances

This is one of those categories of appliances that seems obvious but comes quite far down most check-lists. All restaurants need plates and bowls to serve up the finished dish to the paying customers. Strange wooden blocks and plates are fashionable, but we can all agree that a simple white plate is essential. It is important to ensure that there are more than enough on hand to deal with the covers, breakages, and mistakes. This also means having a large set of appetizer, entrée, side and salad plates as well as soup bowls and pasta bowls. With the bowls, it is also important to remember mixing bowls for creating dishes

Safety Equipment:

Kitchen  Appliances

Kitchens are fast-paced, dangerous places. It is not just us amateurs that cut ourselves with knives and set dishes on fire. Why do you think those blue band-aids were invented. This means that it is important for all restaurant kitchens to have a good first aid kit in a prominent, accessible place. Hand sanitizer and cleaning aids are also essential for creating a safe, clean work environment. Finally, every kitchen should have the right fire safety apparatus and extinguishers in place in case of an emergency.

Portable Air Conditioners:

This final item on my essential kitchen checklist may seem odd after talking about some of the most obvious pieces. So far I have mentioned the cooking equipment, other heat-generating machinery and the pans creating hot sauces and steam. This all results in a boiling, uncomfortable work environment. Portable air conditioners could make all the difference by circulating the air and creating a more pleasant temperature. That is as long as they are in a safe, efficient place. I get flustered when my glasses steam up after opening the oven door. I can’t imagine being a professional kitchen without air conditioning

By: support | November 01, 2016


Commercial Kitchen Equipments Used  In  Crust

Kitchen Appliances

It is easy to become overwhelmed by a list of equipment and appliances when creating a new restaurant kitchen. The more I consider the tools that go into making all the best Italian dishes I have enjoyed, the longer the list gets. A checklist of all the necessary tech is great, but it just isn’t enough when planning out an effective, functional space. It is as important to understand how each of these elements fits into the kitchen as a whole. In this guide, I want to go beyond some of the key items that new restaurateurs need to their practical implications

Consider The Layout Of The Kitchen Before Deciding On Your Appliances.

Kitchen Appliances

There may be the particular type of oven, blast chillers or another device that you feel is ideal for your style of cuisine. However, it can only actually be considered ideal if it works within the space and your chefs can use it with ease. The fast-paced environment of the kitchen requires a clear flow from the preparation to the line and into service. The smaller space, the harder this is. Be realistic about the number of burners that can fit into space.

Organization Is Important In Any Restaurant Kitchen.

Once you know what equipment you need, you also need to be able to keep track of it all. I can’t keep track all of my teaspoons in my kitchen. It must be a nightmare in a fast-paced professional environment with utensils I couldn’t even name. There are potentially hundreds of small items in use. This varies from cutlery for diners and for tasting the food to every pan, ladle, spatula and knife. The organization helps kitchen staff keep track of where equipment is, who is using it, what items are clean or any missing items.

Be Realistic When It Comes To Some Of The More Niche Appliances.

Kitchen Appliances

Many new restaurant owners can go overboard with their wish-lists of equipment. There are lots of fun, specialist devices out there that can set a kitchen apart from other restaurants in town. Personally, I feel that a stone baked pizza brought out on a wooden paddle is better than “easier” methods. Practicality does depend on the food you are serving and the item’s place within the kitchen. Start with the essentials to get the kitchen up and running and use your profits and experience to determine the next purchase. Perhaps wait until next summer to put home-made gelato on the dessert menu and focus on the entrees.

Last, But Not Least, There Is The Cost Of This New Restaurant Make-Over.

Kitchen Appliances

I hate to end on this note, but this vast list of items will mean a massive bill. The cost of fitting out a commercial kitchen can be astronomical to first-timers that don’t fully appreciate the scale of the project. A large piece of the budget will go on that industrial-grade burner and chillers, but there are also plenty of pans, utensils and other appliances that need to be in place for opening night. Making a wise investment with the right equipment is important. Remember that you will make the money back with a profitable approach, big menu, and efficient kitchen.