- Thursday, January 19, 2012 |
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Centrifuges are one of the best unintended tools used for modern cooking applications. There is always the question of Whether a particular tool is worth having based on the cost versus practical use scale. While that logic makes sense unfortunately there are certain things you can do with a centrifuge that cannot be achieved by any other devices so the question becomes what to buy and why.
Justifiably they are expensive and one can be very tempted to go searching for a used unit in one of countless laboratory equipment recyclers on the internet. That however does come with some risk as most laboratory equipment has in fact been used for scientific research which generally includes lots of toxic pathogens and biohazards. It is certainly possible to decontaminate a used centrifuge but even with that I personally find it to be an unacceptable risk to use such a device for culinary use. The only sensible option is to buy new.
The main decision then becomes what to buy. In terms of footprint,cost and practicality the best option appears to be a general purpose benchtop centrifuge with a high capacity. The only variation you may want to consider is constant temperature (20C) as opposed to a variable temperature refrigerated unit. Unfortunately it is absolutely not a toy and costs about the same as 4 Pacojets.
We decided to work in collaboration with BECKMAN-COULTER , one of the premier manufacturers of centrifuge technology. We chose the Allegra X-14R with a rotor capacity of 4-750ml bottles. It is also a fully refrigerated unit and built to the highest standards of safety. There is an excellent interactive tutorial on the specifications HERE. Although the tutorial is for the Allegra X-15R, it is essentially identical to an X-14 but we opted for the practicality of a 120 volt machine for standard household outlets.
We are very excited about new adventures of discovery and applying some of the techniques in Modernist Cuisine. Beckman basically insists the rotor be checked and installed by their technicians. More to come after it is safely installed and we get trained to use it properly. Now there is a new and much better reason to use that annoying term old school New York French chefs are always yelling in the kitchen..........Allez ...Allez...Allez !