MasterClass Professional Cooks Blowtorch
Every so often the bakers on The Great British Baking Show need to turn things up a notch and finish off a crème brûlée or toast a meringue . What better way than a blowtorch? When the circumstances arise they have access to the MasterClass Professional Cooks Blowtorch (Amazon Link (UK)).
The MasterClass Professional Cooks Blowtorch (Amazon Link (UK)) is a nifty little gadget and just right for the bakers on The Great British Baking Show, but perhaps there are better options for you and me, the aspiring home bakers.
The torch has some nice features. First off it has a metal body, which is great for durability and not cracking it on accident. Cracked torches are a hazard! Second the torch has a trigger to light it, this means you don't need to spark it or start it with a match. I'm sure you're thinking that is a basic feature, but if you don't have it you're really going to miss it!
The torch can be locked to an on position, which is nice. No need to keep a button or trigger depressed while you're using the flame. Additionally there is an adjustment nob to control the flame output. Again when you don't have the features, it can be really frustrating. There is an anti-flare on the flame, and the torch will work at any angle.
MasterClass is another subsidiary of Lifetime Brands, sister to KitchenCraft and thus finds itself in a favored position to be on The Great British Baking Show. I'm not completely sure if the show utilizes their products because they are British (really Lifetime Brands is US owned... but they hark to a British heritage), or because they're convenient and good quality.
MasterClass was established in 1850 and now makes over 600 products. They enjoy a fairly high-quality image and encourage you to "cook with flair." They try to design products that are easy to use and accessible to anyone who wants to cook. Which honestly, is a pretty cool goal. I assume their target audience has some money to spend on cooking and take it fairly seriously.
However, in my opinion, while trying to make everything, 600 different products, they don't seem to be the best at any one thing. More of a jack of all trades. Which is not necessarily bad by any means, but it does mean that you can typically find specialized items that out perform MasterClasses products in most categories.
MasterClass Professional Cooks Blowtorch
See nice features
Back to the subject at hand! Blowtorches!
Not all torches are created equal. Some are incredibly frustrating. Personally, I've gone through 4, and have friends who experienced the struggle as well. So lets look at what makes a good torch.
1. Having a trigger is nice, having to light the torch is really annoying.
2. Being able to adjust the flame is great, having one setting - normally 11 - is no good.
3. A large working volume. Here I'm not sure the MasterClass torch excels. It is a great size to take to a table if you're a waiter, or to keep tucked away. It's not ideal if you're trying to sear a ton of meat (yea - its a thing and oh my!), caramelize a ton of brûlée's, or toast a great many merengues. Running out of gas after toasting 3 of 4 dishes is both annoying and embarrassing. "My apologies - I need to go fill this torch again..." ugh.
4. Trigger locks are nice so that you don't have to keep depressing a trigger or a button. Normally clicking the trigger once again turns it off - super nice.
5. Operating in any orientation. If it can't create a flame while aiming down you're going to be holding things above you to torch them, and not only is that messy, its impractical and I hope you did not even imagine it.
If you want a handy blowtorch, that looks really nice, works really well (minus the gas volume and selection...), and is quite convenient you can't go wrong with the MasterClass Professional Cooks Blowtorch (Amazon Link (UK)). Go for it!
However after going through quite a few blowtorches, and having friends do the same, I have a strong preference when it comes to blowtorches.
The Bernzomatic TS8000 - High Intensity Torch (Amazon Link) is amazing. It even comes in a convenient starter pack. And not to dissuade you with the price on Amazon, take a look at Home Depot where it is roughly 1/2 the price and I got mine! Lowe's also carries it at roughly the Home Depot price.
The TS8000 checks off every box. I love that it can be used with large cylinders of Mapp gas or Propane, and the gas is available at hardware stores. You're not paying a premium for something targeting bakers / cooks at a specialty store which is always nice. I have no idea how many steaks I've finished off and crème brûlée I've toasted on the same canister of gas. It is wonderful.
The Bernzomatic TS8000 works at any inclination and has every feature that you could possibly want. It of 7,200+ reviews on Amazon, 87% are 5 star - that is uncanny. The only thing it is missing is a sexy facade. So if you're down for form over function this may not be your jam.
I imagine if you're a waiter at a Michelin restaurant, finishing off dishes at the patron's table, and you bring this out you're going to get some looks. I mean, they'd know you're serious, but possibly less refined than what is desired, but definitely ready to toast something.
And I hope it goes without saying - follow the safety instructions and be careful! Blowtorches are... hot.