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Sous Vide Duck Confit

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#1 MexChef

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:05 AM

Need to make duck confit in under 4 hours... I was thinking sous-vide at higher than 80°C... any ideas?

thanks!
pw

#2 Jon Tseng

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:24 AM

Need to make duck confit in under 4 hours... I was thinking sous-vide at higher than 80°C... any ideas?

thanks!
pw

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but duck confit cooks normally in two or three hours. its the salting/brining that takes forever - hard to accelerate that no?
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#3 MexChef

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:29 AM

Need to make duck confit in under 4 hours... I was thinking sous-vide at higher than 80°C... any ideas?

thanks!
pw

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but duck confit cooks normally in two or three hours. its the salting/brining that takes forever - hard to accelerate that no?

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The salting brining is ok... I can do that beforehand... and the confit I normally cook submerged in fat for 10 hours in an 80°C oven.... Have never done it in less time... so was doubtful about it...

Would you suggest then 4 hours in an 80°C bath as a good option?

cheers!

#4 Alcuin

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:40 AM

Need to make duck confit in under 4 hours... I was thinking sous-vide at higher than 80°C... any ideas?

thanks!
pw

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but duck confit cooks normally in two or three hours. its the salting/brining that takes forever - hard to accelerate that no?

View Post


Umm, duck confit takes a lot longer than that to cook. It's more like 10-12 hours of slow cooking because you want the duck to be just about falling apart but to retain enough definition to hold together. See this thread for an excellent pictorial of the method: Confit Duck.

I don't see how sous vide could speed up this process, but I'd be interested to see if its possible. Ideally though, you'd want to age your confit a bit in the refrigerator to make it extra special too--duck confit is the polar opposite of a quick preparation.
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#5 MexChef

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:52 AM

Need to make duck confit in under 4 hours... I was thinking sous-vide at higher than 80°C... any ideas?

thanks!
pw

View Post

but duck confit cooks normally in two or three hours. its the salting/brining that takes forever - hard to accelerate that no?

View Post


Umm, duck confit takes a lot longer than that to cook. It's more like 10-12 hours of slow cooking because you want the duck to be just about falling apart but to retain enough definition to hold together. See this thread for an excellent pictorial of the method: Confit Duck.

I don't see how sous vide could speed up this process, but I'd be interested to see if its possible. Ideally though, you'd want to age your confit a bit in the refrigerator to make it extra special too--duck confit is the polar opposite of a quick preparation.

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I know this... I was wondering from the chemical perspective if using a hotter than 80°C (ultimate temperature the duck ever reaches if cooked in an 80°C oven) bath will accelerate the fat's and colagen's "melting"...

Maybe some temperature playing near the 2nd or 3rd hour...

I don't know... will experiment on this and let you know if results are satisfactory...

cheers!

#6 vice

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:57 PM

Sous vide is covered pretty extensively in the thread linked above. I don't recall if people played around much with time. The main benefit, of course, was that much less fat was required.
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#7 Jon Tseng

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 03:08 PM

Umm, duck confit takes a lot longer than that to cook. It's more like 10-12 hours of slow cooking because you want the duck to be just about falling apart but to retain enough definition to hold together. See this thread for an excellent pictorial of the method: Confit Duck.

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Not convinced confit duck takes that long.

Quick round-up from my bookshelf:
Larousse (Goose): 2 hours.
James Peterson: 2-3 hours.
Michel Roux Jr: 2 hours or until tender.
Harold McGee: Several hours.
Robuchon: 1hr 40 for duck, 2 1/2 hr for goose.
Marco Pierre White: 1 1/4 hours.
Nico Ladenis: 1-3 hours.
Gordon Ramsay: 1 1/2 -2 hours.
The Roux Brothers: 1 hr 20 mins.
Alice Waters: 1 1/2 hours.
Jeremiah Tower: 1 1/2 hours.

Now that is not to say sous vide-ing for half a day isn't a superior or more consistent method of preparing goose-fat-poached-duck-leg-sous-vide. But that's not confit in the garbure-on-the-side-with-pomme-sarlardaise-to-go sense. Generally a traditional confit is prepared in a much briefer time, and over a higher temperature (either just bubbling fat on the stovetop of a oven in the 120-150c range).

Or to put it another way the traditional method has worked perfectly well for hundreds of years. It fits easily into your time budget. Why not try it?

J

PS If you do feel like being non-traditional I've found that brining is a useful alternative to salting. Adding aromatics to the brine gives for scope for them to flavour the meat (and of course if you are cooking for a shorter period of time it will mean, conversely, any aromatics you add to the fat will have less time to flavour the meat. I quite like the brine recipe from Heston Blumenthals duck jambonettes, which used to be on the fat duck cheapo lunch set many many years ago: http://www.guardian....ddrink.shopping

Edited by Jon Tseng, 06 April 2009 - 03:28 PM.

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#8 Alcuin

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 03:27 PM

Umm, duck confit takes a lot longer than that to cook. It's more like 10-12 hours of slow cooking because you want the duck to be just about falling apart but to retain enough definition to hold together. See this thread for an excellent pictorial of the method: Confit Duck.

View Post

Not convinced confit duck takes that long.

Quick round-up from my bookshelf:
Larousse (Goose): 2 hours.
James Peterson: 2-3 hours.
Michel Roux Jr: 2 hours or until tender.
Harold McGee: Several hours.
Robuchon: 1hr 40 for duck, 2 1/2 hr for goose.
Marco Pierre White: 1 1/4 hours.
Nico Ladenis: 1-3 hours.
Gordon Ramsay: 1 1/2 -2 hours.
The Roux Brothers: 1 hr 20 mins.
Alice Waters: 1 1/2 hours.
Jeremiah Tower: 1 1/2 hours.

Now that is not to say sous vide-ing for half a day isn't a superior or more consistent method of preparing goose-fat-poached-duck-leg-sous-vide. But that's not confit in the garbure-on-the-side-with-pomme-sarlardaise-to-go sense. Generally a traditional confit is prepared in a much briefer time, and over a higher temperature (either just bubbling fat on the stovetop of a oven in the 120-150c range).

Or to put it another way the traditional method has worked perfectly well for hundreds of years. It fits easily into your time budget. Why not try it?

J

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Interesting. I'm certainly no authority when it comes to duck confit, but I do wonder how the texture of the duck is going to be with 1 1/2-2 hours cooking. It seems to take a pretty long time to achieve the texture I associate with duck confit. McGee says that a low and slow cooking time allows the cook to keep meat at temperatures that break down collagen (but have the side effect of drying meat out) for less time, making for a tender but still succulent product. Higher heat and more time at the required temp (70-80C) might then lead to a drier, possibly stringy result.

I guess it would depend on how you want to use the confit--if you're talking about serving an entire leg, the possible texture issues will be apparent. If the confit will be a small element of a larger dish, it might not be so apparent.
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#9 Jon Tseng

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 03:40 PM

Interesting. I'm certainly no authority when it comes to duck confit, but I do wonder how the texture of the duck is going to be with 1 1/2-2 hours cooking. It seems to take a pretty long time to achieve the texture I associate with duck confit. McGee says that a low and slow cooking time allows the cook to keep meat at temperatures that break down collagen (but have the side effect of drying meat out) for less time, making for a tender but still succulent product. Higher heat and more time at the required temp (70-80C) might then lead to a drier, possibly stringy result.

I guess it would depend on how you want to use the confit--if you're talking about serving an entire leg, the possible texture issues will be apparent. If the confit will be a small element of a larger dish, it might not be so apparent.

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No no, there is no textural problem for a whole leg or even a part. There is no problem with texture and the duck certainly does not end up stringy! Remember virtually any description of confit you will have ever read in the printed media would have been prepared under the traditional method i.e. 2-3 hours in the fat.

Now in theory the shrinkage in the meat would be more than under sous vide, but it really doesn't make that much difference. There is also probably lower margin for error in overcooking, particularly on the stove top (I prefer to use a low oven rather than a stove top nowadays).

Personally I worry that slow cooking for a very long time would lose flavour from the meat to the fat (remember fat is a very good carrier of flavour molecules), although adding aromatics to the fat or using sous vide to reduce the amount of fat would ameliorate the situation. Remember sous vide / low temp is one method but it is not the answer to everything. I've had more than enough pappy flavourless 56c beef to teach me that!

To be honest badly done or stringy duck confit is generally the fault of the chef rather than the method. Tough or dry confit is generally either due to way too aggressive cooking temperatures, or leaving it too long in the frying pan when you reheat.

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#10 slkinsey

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 03:43 PM

I have made sous vide duck confit many times. I salt and herb overnight, rinse off in the morning, seal each leg individually with a tablespoon of frozen duck fat, and cook 8-10 hours at 82C, chill in an ice bath, and in to the back of the refrigerator until I need it. Works like a charm.

MexChef: If you're doing it sous vide, why the time constraint? One brilliant thing about sous vide cooking is the "set it and forget it" aspect. If you can cure them beforehand, why not also cook them beforehand? It's not like you have to be awake and standing over the circulator while the duck legs are cooking. Do them overnight while you sleep. Heck, do it a week ahead of time. Do it a month ahead of time. So long as you keep it below around 4C (i.e., coldest spot in the refrigerator) it should last a long time.
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#11 Alcuin

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 04:02 PM

Interesting. I'm certainly no authority when it comes to duck confit, but I do wonder how the texture of the duck is going to be with 1 1/2-2 hours cooking. It seems to take a pretty long time to achieve the texture I associate with duck confit. McGee says that a low and slow cooking time allows the cook to keep meat at temperatures that break down collagen (but have the side effect of drying meat out) for less time, making for a tender but still succulent product. Higher heat and more time at the required temp (70-80C) might then lead to a drier, possibly stringy result.

I guess it would depend on how you want to use the confit--if you're talking about serving an entire leg, the possible texture issues will be apparent. If the confit will be a small element of a larger dish, it might not be so apparent.

View Post

No no, there is no textural problem for a whole leg or even a part. There is no problem with texture and the duck certainly does not end up stringy! Remember virtually any description of confit you will have ever read in the printed media would have been prepared under the traditional method i.e. 2-3 hours in the fat.

Now in theory the shrinkage in the meat would be more than under sous vide, but it really doesn't make that much difference. There is also probably lower margin for error in overcooking, particularly on the stove top (I prefer to use a low oven rather than a stove top nowadays).

Personally I worry that slow cooking for a very long time would lose flavour from the meat to the fat (remember fat is a very good carrier of flavour molecules), although adding aromatics to the fat or using sous vide to reduce the amount of fat would ameliorate the situation. Remember sous vide / low temp is one method but it is not the answer to everything. I've had more than enough pappy flavourless 56c beef to teach me that!

To be honest badly done or stringy duck confit is generally the fault of the chef rather than the method. Tough or dry confit is generally either due to way too aggressive cooking temperatures, or leaving it too long in the frying pan when you reheat.

J

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Long term cooking doesn't compromise the flavor of the meat. I've done it in an oven and a water bath with excellent results, cooking it for a long time (aprox 10 hours--usually a little less). I've never done it for a short amount of time--I'm not doubting that it works, but I am saying I don't think it would be as good. The point is this: choose your method according to what you want the result to be. Whole leg: I'd go low and slow. Shredded or otherwise heavily manipulated: maybe a little quicker would work. Ultimately though, I'm making lots of duck confit and letting something slowly bathe in its own fat so that I get the texture I like (and a nice rosy interior with the myoglobin intact I associate with duck confit) is not a big deal. Plus, as Slkinsey notes, it keeps--hence the term "confit." In fact, it gets better with age.
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#12 MexChef

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 08:18 AM

I have made sous vide duck confit many times. I salt and herb overnight, rinse off in the morning, seal each leg individually with a tablespoon of frozen duck fat, and cook 8-10 hours at 82C, chill in an ice bath, and in to the back of the refrigerator until I need it.  Works like a charm.

MexChef:  If you're doing it sous vide, why the time constraint?  One brilliant thing about sous vide cooking is the "set it and forget it" aspect.  If you can cure them beforehand, why not also cook them beforehand?  It's not like you have to be awake and standing over the circulator while the duck legs are cooking.  Do them overnight while you sleep.  Heck, do it a week ahead of time.  Do it a month ahead of time.  So long as you keep it below around 4C (i.e., coldest spot in the refrigerator) it should last a long time.

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It's for a cooking competition... I only have 5 hours to prep and cook and cannot arrive with cooked duck.... all ingredients have to be raw...

I thought sous-vide might help due to the higher control over things and less use of fat than traditional oven way (water conducts heat about 27 times better than air)....

Legs are in fridge curing with a compound salt... will cook today sous-vide at 85°C for 3 hours and will let you know tomorrow how it turns out...

cheers!

#13 redolivemartini

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:42 PM

Anyone have a good recipe for this? I came across a few and they all say to let it sit in a ton of salt overnight. Anyone tried these? Successful?

 

http://www.cuisinete...it-of-duck-leg/

 

http://www.foodandwi...oked-in-a-pouch

 

Couldn't find the recipe for Thomas Keller's but this blog talks about it: http://www.tinyurban...-sous-vide.html

 

 



#14 KennethT

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:03 PM

there are literally tons of information about duck confit sous vide on these boards... look in the sous vide main thread here: http://forums.egulle...ous-vide-index/

I'm sure there are other discussions in the subsequent sous vide thread, as well as in the modernist cuisine/MCAH threads... or do a search for it and I'm sure you'll find tons of responses...

#15 weinoo

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:06 PM

And tons of salt might be an exaggeration, no?  Confit does require a certain amount of salt, however if done correctly, doesn't really end up salty.


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#16 sigma

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:12 PM

Sous vide confit is nice.  It's a pretty simple concept, and it works well.  It doesn't age as well as real confit, and while it is true as nathanm likes to say that very few people these days have had real confit to know the difference, the difference is there.  As with all things.  Better or not?  Who knows.



#17 weinoo

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:17 PM

Different, that's for sure.  I like doing duck leg confit because it makes practically no mess as opposed to the traditional version.

 

ETA:  I like doing duck leg confit sous vide because it makes practically no mess.


Edited by weinoo, 30 September 2013 - 02:23 PM.

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#18 sigma

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:25 PM

Different, that's for sure.  I like doing duck leg confit because it makes practically no mess as opposed to the traditional version.

 

ETA:  I like doing duck leg confit sous vide because it makes practically no mess.

 

 

Yeah.  Totally agree.  The lack of mess is great, also the lack of space for storage.  



#19 weinoo

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:32 PM

Yeah, I do a pair of legs per bag. Can do a dozen or so in my Sous-Vide Supreme.  And they go right into the freezer. It's pretty cool to be able to pop one out of the freezer and have a couple of delicious confit duck legs to top a salad or eat with some duck fat sauteed potatoes.


Edited by weinoo, 30 September 2013 - 02:32 PM.

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#20 nickrey

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:41 PM

This post may be of interest to you.

 

You only need about 1 tbsp of duck fat as the fat in the leg will render out in the cooking process leaving the leg in the bag totally immersed in fat as a cooking medium.

 

Rinse the cured legs well and dry off before putting in the bag.

 

Cook at 82C (180F) for 8 hours. Rapid chill in an ice bath. You can keep the resultant product for a while in the fridge before cooking as it is salted, pasteurised, stored in fat, and vacuum sealed. The Polyscience site says up to 45 days if your refrigerator is 5C (41F) or colder.


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#21 Keith_W

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 03:59 PM

Cook at 82C (180F) for 8 hours. Rapid chill in an ice bath.

Why do you need to rapid chill it in an ice bath?
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#22 nickrey

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 04:41 PM

Cook at 82C (180F) for 8 hours. Rapid chill in an ice bath.

Why do you need to rapid chill it in an ice bath?

It is pasteurized, not sterilized so rapid chilling keeps it out of the danger zone when cooling. Besides it allows me to throw it in the fridge without affecting other foods by raising the temperature by putting hot food in there.

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#23 Keith_W

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 05:34 PM

It is pasteurized, not sterilized so rapid chilling keeps it out of the danger zone when cooling. Besides it allows me to throw it in the fridge without affecting other foods by raising the temperature by putting hot food in there.

Hm, I am not particularly convinced by either argument. The latter argument (re: fridge temperatures) has been debunked. As for rapid chilling for food safety, I think you will find that the risk is minimal if almost nonexistent if you chill in an ice bath as opposed to simply moving the bags from the SV machine directly into the fridge.
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#24 David Hensley

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 06:21 PM

To me, confit should involve a good amount of salt, just for curing purposes, as it is the original intent of the dish. I wouldn't say that I disagree with doing it SV, because mine is cooked at about the the same temps as you modernists would use. As far as holding longevity goes, I would think that the original, saltier version would be edible for much longer, simply because of its salt content.

Just my thoughts on the matter...


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#25 nickrey

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 06:58 PM

 

It is pasteurized, not sterilized so rapid chilling keeps it out of the danger zone when cooling. Besides it allows me to throw it in the fridge without affecting other foods by raising the temperature by putting hot food in there.

Hm, I am not particularly convinced by either argument. The latter argument (re: fridge temperatures) has been debunked. As for rapid chilling for food safety, I think you will find that the risk is minimal if almost nonexistent if you chill in an ice bath as opposed to simply moving the bags from the SV machine directly into the fridge.

 

 

 

It is pasteurized, not sterilized so rapid chilling keeps it out of the danger zone when cooling. Besides it allows me to throw it in the fridge without affecting other foods by raising the temperature by putting hot food in there.

Hm, I am not particularly convinced by either argument. The latter argument (re: fridge temperatures) has been debunked. As for rapid chilling for food safety, I think you will find that the risk is minimal if almost nonexistent if you chill in an ice bath as opposed to simply moving the bags from the SV machine directly into the fridge.

 

 

I'm always persuaded by data. Where was the former debunked? and what is your evidence for the latter? I recall looking at the thermal cooling model put together by either Douglas or Nathanm and they came down firmly on the side of using an ice bath rather than just throwing it in the fridge.


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#26 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 07:04 PM

 

It is pasteurized, not sterilized so rapid chilling keeps it out of the danger zone when cooling. Besides it allows me to throw it in the fridge without affecting other foods by raising the temperature by putting hot food in there.

Hm, I am not particularly convinced by either argument. The latter argument (re: fridge temperatures) has been debunked. As for rapid chilling for food safety, I think you will find that the risk is minimal if almost nonexistent if you chill in an ice bath as opposed to simply moving the bags from the SV machine directly into the fridge.

 

 

 

Rapid chilling is the recommended safe procedure for sous vide food that'll be held in the fridge for an extended period of time.

 

"(to avoid sporulation of C. perfringens (Andersson et al., 1995)), and either refrigerated or frozen until reheating for service. Typically, the pasteurized food pouches are rapidly chilled by placing them in an ice water bath for at least the time listed in Table 1.1."

 

"While keeping your food sealed in plastic pouches prevents recontamination after cooking, spores of Clostridium botulinum, C. perfringens, and B. cereus can all survive the mild heat treatment of pasteurization. Therefore, after rapid chilling, the food must either be frozen or held at

  1. below 36.5°F (2.5°C) for up to 90 days,
  2. below 38°F (3.3°C) for less than 31 days,
  3. below 41°F (5°C) for less than 10 days, or
  4. below 44.5°F (7°C) for less than 5 days

to prevent spores of non-proteolytic C. botulinum from outgrowing and producing deadly neurotoxin (Gould, 1999; Peck, 1997)."

 

Source: http://www.douglasba.../sous-vide.html


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#27 nickrey

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 09:34 PM

Keith, see this food safety document from New South Wales Health. They got the bulk of their information direct from Douglas Baldwin. Table 4 shows the cooling times for meat of varying thickness and shape in an ice slurry. Given the length of time it takes to cool in an ice slurry, I'd be using this rather than conventional fridge temperatures.


Edited by nickrey, 30 September 2013 - 09:34 PM.

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#28 Keith_W

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 12:58 AM

I'm always persuaded by data. Where was the former debunked? and what is your evidence for the latter? I recall looking at the thermal cooling model put together by either Douglas or Nathanm and they came down firmly on the side of using an ice bath rather than just throwing it in the fridge.

Hi Nick, re: refrigerator temperatures I can't seem to find my reference right now. I thought I read it in MC or McGee, but a quick flick through McGee didn't show it up. In any case, if you put hot food in the fridge, it does not warm up the rest of the fridge any more than opening the door would. The thermostat on your refrigerator regulates the temperature and takes care of that.

Re: bacterial growth I defer to your source. Thank you for pointing that out.
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#29 EnriqueB

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 01:35 AM

 

I'm always persuaded by data. Where was the former debunked? and what is your evidence for the latter? I recall looking at the thermal cooling model put together by either Douglas or Nathanm and they came down firmly on the side of using an ice bath rather than just throwing it in the fridge.

Hi Nick, re: refrigerator temperatures I can't seem to find my reference right now. I thought I read it in MC or McGee, but a quick flick through McGee didn't show it up. In any case, if you put hot food in the fridge, it does not warm up the rest of the fridge any more than opening the door would. The thermostat on your refrigerator regulates the temperature and takes care of that

 

Hi Keith, I think I remember Modernist Cuisine claiming the opposite. There was a "heat-map" photo (taken with infra-red camera or something similar) showing how foods close to the hot one and the whole area around were much hotter, in fact moving into non-safe temperatures.



#30 abat

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 07:50 AM

Regarding quick lazy duck confits. I have made a lot of duck legs properly salted overnight, but recently got lazy and am doing exclusively the 3 minutes version: add salt, pepper, herbs to the fresh leg in a bag, seal and sent it into SV. It comes out really good; in fact, my wife is convinced that we never had a better duck leg at any restaurant. As for me,I think there is difference between the proper and lazy versions, but i am not 100% sure. Even if it exists, the difference is too small to overcome my laziness. 

 

What do you think? Does all the long-term salting make any difference?







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