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Sous Vide Supreme and other home options: 2009-10

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#61 mtigges

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:14 AM

This topic has dropped the radar, but I thought I would revive it.

Last night I was just about to start cooking dinner when Mr. UPS knocked on the door. Heh Heh, my xmas to myself arrived. Not that I was ignoring what I read here from happy customers, but I pulled the trigger when Ruhlman talked it up on his site last week.

So, I dropped a duck breast in there at 63C for about 40min. Various souces (the internet, Under Pressure) told me 60.5C for 30 minutes. For safety sake I went with what the SVS book says about duck breast, but I ignored the fact that they say 2 hours (holy CYA). Absolutely amazing. I'm totally blown away. I seared the breast skin side down after it was done in the SVS. Possibly the best part about this, is I ended up with a thicker layer of unrendered fat :).

This morning I did an egg at 62.5 for 1:15. Gorgeous.

Tonight, it's a double bone Kurobata pork chop.

I've wanted to dive into SV for a very long time. But call me silly, but the aesthetics of a rice cooker, or slow cooker with a pid sensor snaking into it through the lid turned me off just enough to not bother. So, despite the extra cost, I opted for this thing, and thus far I don't regret. And don't think I will.

It's fantastic.

#62 OliverB

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:17 PM

ha, you almost sold me one! I'll still hold off though, I'm still not convinced I need this at home. I agree though, the rice cooker pit thing is not for me either.
But it's great to see the first consumer level machines coming out for this, can only get better (and cheaper) in time if they have some success. And this unit really seems to work well and it looks nice enough to have on the counter. I'm mostly not sure I'd use it enough to make it worth the price of admission.

For now I'll continue on concentrating on cooking with fire though, thinking of a fireplace bbq or spit right now...
"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"
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#63 jk1002

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:11 PM

>>ha, you almost sold me one! I'll still hold off though, I'm still not convinced I need this at home.<<

I do have a sous vide setup at home (Not the Supreme) and I have done it in the past with an induction cooktop.

In regards to using it at home, many things need quite a bit of time and advance planning. Who wants to wait more then an hour and a half in the morning for perfect poached eggs.

Also while for tough steak cuts, chicken breast and pork tenderloin I am a huge fan, chickens legs I like baked and broiled, same for lobster (par boiled and broiled). Yes the sous vide tail was perfectly cooked, but it was very tricky to get the shell off while it was raw and it looked a bit beaten up because of that.

I think if it is worth it, depends drastically on one owns cooking style. I am not yet sold on it being the next microwave for the home cook - in fact I doubt it. Some things like chicken breast I will consistently do sous vide as I am less nervous about bacteria - when done normal I always overcook it just to be sure. Same for pork. Lamb and duck I haven't tried but I am guessing that will be SV as well as I just don't do those often enough that I could pull that off reasonable well without it.

For some things I just don't see a point, with the lobster I haven't see anything other then TKs butter poaching and that was impractical cause of the shell that didn't come off, for chicken legs that is just too forgiving to be messed up in my oven so I am not bothered with SV.

#64 mtigges

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 09:10 AM

I'm mostly not sure I'd use it enough to make it worth the price of admission.


That right there is the salient point. For me, there is a single dish that alone makes it worth it. My level of devotion to short ribs is without bound. The idea of being able to achieve medium rare, meltingly tender short rib is by itself justification enough to spend this money.

What makes it worth it, is how much you value what you can do with a sous vide setup that you cannot in any other way. Somewhere I read about what happens to potatos cooked at the right temperature, they cook but something else doesn't break down resulting in something very unique. I can't remember anymore what it was (because it doesn't interest me that much), but no doubt, that idea makes someone salivate.

The point is there are things you can do with sv that are simply not achievable any other way. What's it worth to you? Changes for everybody.

For now I'll continue on concentrating on cooking with fire though, thinking of a fireplace bbq or spit right now...


Damn I wish I had a huge stone hearth.

#65 paulraphael

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 09:39 AM

I don't know if it makes sense to approach this based on what you happen to cook now. Everyone I know who's started cooking sous vide has found that it's transformed their approach to cooking ... they do things now that they'd never considered before the gizmos showed up.

#66 Jonathan Kaplan

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 05:18 PM

For those of you who own the Sous Vide Supreme, a couple of questions...

I know the temp. accuracy is supposed to be at least +/- 1F, and above an owner noted that they'd tested it to be accurate to within .5F, but how does the temp setting work re: accuracy? That is, when you set the temp does it go in 1 degree increments or does it go in .1 degree increments or what? And is it different in C and F -- that is, does it go by e.g. .1 in C, but 1 or .5 in F, or what?

I'm torn -- part of me thinks this is a good, easy solution (given that my old lab water bath is having some technical problems and getting it fixed would prob. cost more than I paid for it), and part of me wants to hold out for a cool circulator...


Jonathan

#67 LoftyNotions

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 12:24 PM

Hi Jonathan,

If using C, the temperature setting increments are .5 degree. In F, the increments are 1 degree. The actual temperature display is in .1 degree increments, and seems to be very acurate in my unit.

Larry
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#68 Jonathan Kaplan

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 05:45 PM

Thanks Larry; it is interesting that the display is in .1 units, but the setting are 1 or .5 units... I wonder why they did that?

jk

#69 mtigges

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 09:09 AM

I use it in C and as Larry said, setting resolution is .5 degrees. The reason that the setting resolution is coarser than the measuring resolution is that it has to be if PID control is going to work. If it needs to maintain to a tenth of a degree, then it needs to be able to accurately measure to withen hundreths of a degree (maybe not that good, but the main point remains). It can't properly maintain to a tenth if that is its measurement resolution limit as it cannot understand the rate of change well enough; you would incur significant oscillation around the set temperature. Increasing the measurement resolution would greatly increase the cost.

I have now done several animal proteins and fish in this thing, ranging from 60 C (140F) to 63 C. I would love to see the person that can accurately discern the difference between a duck breast cooked at 60 and one cooked at 60.5.

Measurement resolution would become more important at temps below 60 C, but I don't plan on going lower. So, I for one don't care.

M.

#70 LoftyNotions

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:44 AM

I've cooked several beef roasts now at both 131F and 135F (55C and 57+C). Temperature variations have been, at maximum, + or - .5F typically. 131F is a bit on the rare side for most of my guests, and 135F seems to be the preferred tepmerature for most of my friends.

I'm not sure I could tell 1F difference in cooking temp either. Even if I could, it wouldn't bother me in the least.
Larry Lofthouse

#71 Reignking

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:48 AM

Richard Blais has been plugging this on Twitter; check it out for some discount ($25?).

#72 therippa

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:13 AM

... same for lobster (par boiled and broiled). Yes the sous vide tail was perfectly cooked, but it was very tricky to get the shell off while it was raw and it looked a bit beaten up because of that.

...For some things I just don't see a point, with the lobster I haven't see anything other then TKs butter poaching and that was impractical cause of the shell that didn't come off, for chicken legs that is just too forgiving to be messed up in my oven so I am not bothered with SV.


I did lobster on New Years Eve and got around this problem by throwing the lobster whole into a pot of boiling water for two minutes, then chilling in an ice bath. The meat came right out. I then cooked the lobster (with butter in the bags) at 140 for about 45 minutes while I made stock from the shells (about 1.75 cups of white wine and water to cover). Strained, reduced in a skillet, added some heavy whipping cream, thickened with butter.

lobster_plated.jpg

I wish I had some parsley to throw on it, it would have looked even better. The taste though...this was one of the most flavorful things I've ever cooked, and certainly by finest sous vide experiment so far.

#73 mtigges

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 12:42 PM

Lobster is on my shortlist of things to try, so thanks for this post. My question is, why does everyone stick to just the tails. Is there a particular reason why the claws aren't used as well? What did you do with them since you didn't use them. I suppose you could use them in a salad, and include the meat in the legs via AB's extraction method. But is there a reason the claws aren't mentioned in the same breath as SV?

#74 therippa

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 12:47 PM

I did use the claws, they're sitting on top of that bread. I squeezed the leg meat out and the next morning we had it with scrambled eggs (cooked in the reserved lobster butter of course!)

Forgot to mention I added a tablespoon of tomato paste and a little over a cup of mire poix to the stock. Adapted the recipe from here

Edited by therippa, 05 January 2010 - 12:59 PM.


#75 ojisan

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:03 PM

So, those of you with sous vide cookers in this price range ... what are you using for a vacuum sealer?
Has anyone come out with one at the right price / performance point?
Betty Crocker E-Z Suck Cryovac?

I'd like to know too.

Monterey Bay area


#76 therippa

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:07 PM

I just use the ziplock vacuum bags, I find if I use it on a smooth surface (glass table) and push down really hard, I get a great seal. I haven't had any problems with air bubbles or anything.

#77 jk1002

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:17 PM

>>I would love to see the person that can accurately discern the difference between a duck breast cooked at 60 and one cooked at 60.5. <<

When you look how far the temperature ranges for medium and medium well done steaks are defined, it sure should not matter.

I think the reason lies around the pasteurization. See example below from the baldwin tables.

mm 57.5°F 60.5°C 63.5°F 66°C
20 2:04 55 34 26

The only thing I found so far was the Egg where the tiny difference seems to matter.

Edited by jk1002, 05 January 2010 - 01:36 PM.


#78 jk1002

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:35 PM

>>I just use the ziplock vacuum bags, I find if I use it on a smooth surface (glass table) and push down really hard, I get a great seal. I haven't had any problems with air bubbles or anything. <<

I use those as well. No problems at all. Peapod has both sizes for 2$ a box - I am guessing as the reynolds system it doesn't sell to well.

#79 therippa

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 02:11 PM

The reynolds system was discontinued

#80 NickDawson

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 07:04 PM

Hey folks,
Im thrilled for my first post here to be in this thread! I've been lurking for years. This is where I come to track food trends. It's my first stop when I need a ratio for some kind of alginate caviar. In short, I have really enjoyed following many of you for quite some time.

In a snap decision, I picked up my SVS a few days before New Years Eve. We decided to throw a last minute dinner party and it seemed like the perfect time to play with something new (because what could go wrong, right?). So far, we have been very happy campers. Some things - buffalo tenderloin, truffle infused potatoes, veal cheeks - came out as a testament to the technique. We have had less success with the duck breasts and chicken thighs but suspect that had more to do with me than the technique. Tonight tucked into some 72 hour short ribs which were amazing. I can see why they are often seen as poster child of sous vide cooking.

Here are some of the results



I have a tone of questions that I will try and space out over time :D The first that comes to mind is the right temp for a perfect poached egg, say for a salad frise et lardons - set white, warm liquid yoke? What about a perfect hard boiled egg? I usually do mine in a pan and get inconsistent results. Anyone have thoughts on either?

Looking forward to picking the collective brain around here!

#81 therippa

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:29 AM

Check out this guide here...

http://amath.colorad.../sous-vide.html

148 degrees is supposed to give you the perfect egg

#82 nickrey

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 01:16 PM

What about a perfect hard boiled egg?

See Margaret McArthur's post Eggs Enough and Time for a discussion of hard-boiled eggs.

As for your perfect poached egg, a sous vide process tends to give white and yolk set to the same custardy consistency. If you want a runny yolk, which is also my personal preference, you will most likely need to use a more conventional method. Try this link for some good advice.

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Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog


#83 mtigges

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:12 PM

I use this. I bought it after my 20 yo foodsaver died. There's a discussion in this forum on vacuum sealers in general. I use it for much more than packaging food for SV and I absolutely love it. I highly recommend it.

#84 Chef Bradley

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:06 PM

You can make your own immersion circulator on the cheap(er) by going to a lab supply company and getting a hotplate and magnetic stirrer combo. You can buy magnetic stir bars of varying sizes and then place a stand in the beaker or whatever to keep the food and bag off the stirrer. Probably would need to calibrate the temperature dial with a good thermometer, but once that was done you're in business. I priced it out from my own company that supplys schools and it was in the sub $200 range.


Has anyone tried this yet? This sounds like a great alternative, especially for a home user on a budget. Question is, I guess, would be if this were done, do you have to use a glass beeker or can you use any sort of container (ie stock pot, or even a pyrex soup pot?)

#85 jk1002

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:50 PM

>>Has anyone tried this yet? This sounds like a great alternative, especially for a home user on a budget. Question is,<<

With 200$ you are very close to the price of the fresh meal solution which is somewhat proven with a rice cooker.

Note that you will see a lot of movement in this market space. Apparently Polyscience will introduce a slightly cheaper unit for cooking and also Fresh Meals has new things come out plus there is a company called Addelice that should bring their product to the US sometime later this year.

Now with a 200$ budget I think fresh meal is the way to go.

#86 Chef Bradley

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:26 PM

>>Has anyone tried this yet? This sounds like a great alternative, especially for a home user on a budget. Question is,<<

With 200$ you are very close to the price of the fresh meal solution which is somewhat proven with a rice cooker.

Note that you will see a lot of movement in this market space. Apparently Polyscience will introduce a slightly cheaper unit for cooking and also Fresh Meals has new things come out plus there is a company called Addelice that should bring their product to the US sometime later this year.

Now with a 200$ budget I think fresh meal is the way to go.


So, are you saying that I can use a rice cooker to sous vide? I saw one for sale on fresh meal solutions web site for arounf 80 bucks USD.

I may have access to the magnetic stirrer with heat plate for under 50 bucks USD, if this is the case, what sort of vessel could I use to cook with this item?

#87 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:54 PM

If you have a controller, like the Sous Vide Magic, then you can use a large rice cooker (has to be the simple on-off kind) to sous vide. Since I've already got the rice cooker and a vacuum sealer, I've been contemplating this option--

http://freshmealssol...chk=1&Itemid=31

Edited by David A. Goldfarb, 25 January 2010 - 08:02 PM.


#88 jk1002

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:55 PM

What I am saying is you need the PID from freshmeals plus rice cooker. That gives you a decent solution that some here use. Note that freshmeals should come out with a "bubbler" some time soon, that should make the rice cooker obsolete. Check sousvidecooking.org, he has an article and there is some information in comments.

I don't see how a 50$ hotplate with stirrer can be exact enough neither how these small plates can handle a pot large enough to carry a decent amount of product.

Personally I would recommend using a digital thermometer and maintain the temperature manually. I did this for a while and it's a bit of a pain but it's a good way for getting one's feet wet. I did this for sirloin steak and chicken and just upped the temperature and time a bit to be safe.

Use ziplocs, no vacuum machine needed. Just submerge and push the air out.

I got a circulator for christmas for toying around. There are few things that knocked me out, a pork tenderloin, a 24h flank steak but then there were some other things like Eggs that I didn't care for or am afraid to try like that ultra rare salmon (simply cause I trust my fish market not enough - fish is often a bit slimy). For chicken I am not yet sure - I was after perfectly cooked chicken but somehow this reminded me of the cubed mystery poultry they use in our canteen at work for their chicken soup - or maybe deli chicken breast. I am still playing with that though ......

P.s.:
Note the Frank HSU comments

Edited by jk1002, 25 January 2010 - 07:59 PM.


#89 dougal

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 04:37 AM

...
So, are you saying that I can use a rice cooker to sous vide? ...




Such questions and answers are among the reasons that the main sv thread has grown to such a length!
http://forums.egulle...ques-equipment/


There are three things to tackle (apart from the bagging)

1- Supplying heat in a controllable manner
2- Controlling it rather more precisely than usual
3- Ensuring that the whole pot/tank/vessel is kept, as close as possible, at the same temperature


A suitable rice cooker can do #1
A magnetic stirrer plus hotplate tackles #1 and #3 (best use a non-metallic, but stovetop-safe, pot - and do play with a couple of fridge magnets, one inside, one outside, to see how the magnetism passes through).
A home aquarium bubbler is another means of stirring constantly, to achieve #3.

Interestingly, the Sous Vide Supreme has no active assistance to circulate heat evenly throughout the bath.
Instead, by carefully keeping the food pouches vertical (in a sort of toast rack), the natural convection currents are enhanced by the pouches, instead of being obstructed. The 'cold' water contacting the pouch is able to fall freely to the bottom heater, and the water heated at the base can rise fairly freely through the slots. And its possible that the metal framework itself also significantly helps to distribute heat throughout the bath.
I believe that the rack is a VERY clever (and important) part of the design, which is (passively) boosting the circulation of heat within the tank.
Homebrew sv constructors should take note!

Requirement #2, precision temperature control, is the main departure from standard kitchen/domestic equipment.
If you use an external controller, like for example the PIDs from Auber or Freshmealsolutions, it will work by turning the power to your heater on and off (probably quite rapidly, potentially even several times each second). And THAT causes problems if your stirrer is also being switched at the same time (because it gets its power down the same cable), or if your heater has its own control system.
You want the dumbest heater you can find! A mechanical thermostat can be easily over-ruled (bypassed, taken out of the game) by being set to maximum, so that the real control is being done by your special, external, controller.
However, electronic controls in your heater (for example in some sophisticated rice cookers) don't appreciate their power being constantly turned off and on. At best, they will reset and just switch off. Not helpful. You need a really dumb, basic, heater if its going to accept external control.
Its also worth noting that the better the flow over the heater and the sensor (think of a circulator), the easier the control problem becomes ...



Nutshell upsum: if you want to keep the budget down, you CAN indeed 'roll your own' system - to a greater or lesser extent -- however, if you want it neatly packaged and the price point suits, it seems like the SV Supreme (subject of this thread, remember) does provide a functional option and is cheaper than most people are likely to find used circulators.

Edited by dougal, 26 January 2010 - 04:39 AM.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#90 Chef Bradley

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:18 AM

Thank you for all the info, this thread has been really helpful! Upon doing some research, I stumbled upon this thread about the upcoming "FreshMealsMagic" which combines the best of both worlds, a bubbler to keep the water moving and a device that creates its own heat, thus using any vessel to sous vide!

http://www.sousvidec...reshmealsmagic/

I think I may hold off and see how much this bad boy is going to cost. If its too costly, Im kicking around the idea of grabbing a Presto Kitchen Kettle to play with for under 50 bucks like was mentioned by a previous poster, at least until these home machines come down in price a little.

Edited by Chef Bradley, 26 January 2010 - 09:19 AM.






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