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Posts posted by vengroff

  1. How about on an outdoor gas grill?  What about other types of cooktops, like induction?


    Can it be set up to handle variations of temp, such as bringing something to simmer, then to a boil, then down to a simmer again, which is not an unusual sequence.  Is the device programmable to a user's specific recipes and needs?


    We are definitely looking at other kinds of cooking, and we will adapt the system to handle them. But for the moment, we are a small team and want to focus on getting the first product shipped.


    Many of our recipes do involve different temperatures at different stages for different amounts of time. We've also gotten a lot of early interest from home brewers who tend to want to do exactly that.

    • Like 1
  2. Not looking for such precision.  What about recipes that are not delivered with the app?  How does one set the device for those?  Will the cooking still "come out great?"  Where can one find the recipes that come with the app?  Are they specific recipes, or just general descriptions?  Seems like a smart phone is required for this product, yes?  If so, how does one use the product without a smart phone?


    For recipes that are not in the app, there is a manual mode you can use to choose a temperature and the system will hold it. We'll be releasing a list of recipes that come with the app in the not too distant future. They are specific recipes, not just generic ones. The list is constantly expanding because we are developing and testing new recipes and will continue to do so through and after the knobs and clips are delivered.


    A smart phone is not technically required, as it will work with iPads and Android tablets too, but you do need a smart device of some form to run the user interface.

  3. Would you be kind enough to address the points I made in my earlier post?  I'll quote here so you needn't search for it:


    Does it work on an electric range?


    Since the probe remains stationary, and there's no water circulation, it's quite possible that the probe will

    measure a hot or cool spot.  Having taken the temp of many meals with the Thermapen, I know that the temp

    of the food being cooked varies in different areas of the pot. This seems to be more prevalent in lesser quality

    cookware (Martha Stewart vs All-Clad D5, same size and shape pot, for example) and on electric ranges, but

    it holds true even with high end cookware and the gas ranges I've measured. 


    Yes, it works on electric. At the very beginning of the project we were not sure it would, but we have been very pleasantly surprised at the performance on electric ranges.


    We have done a lot of testing with multiple thermocouples in and around pots to try to understand how well convection works in various cooking modes. We're quite satisfied that for the recipes we will deliver with the app things will come out great. If, on the other hand, you are looking for tenth-of-a-degree precision for e.g. eggs, we're not there yet.

  4. Hi All,


    Thanks for the comments. We've spent a lot of time tweaking the algorithms so they adapt on the fly to different sized pots with different amounts of liquid inside.


    As far as the low simmer issue we've done a couple of things there:


    1. When you first install the knob the app asks you to turn your burner off, then on to max, then over to low. It records these positions in its memory to use from then on.


    2. We have several built-in safety features. One of them is that if we detect that the amount of heat entering the pan is much lower than we expect (e.g. if the flame has blown out) we automatically turn the knob off and alert the user.


    Thanks for your support and I'm happy to answer any other questions you have.

    • Like 1
  5. Why not make them programmable rather than fixed. It can start off with fixed values but let the user change the preset to reflect their own idea of what medium rare (for example) should be.

    That's a good question. The problem is that that's the kind of feature only a tiny fraction of uses of mobile apps tend to use. Often, their presence in the app then confuses the other 98% of users.

    Back in the early days of SVD, we didn't give any advice on subjective descriptions like doneness. We just focused on temperature and writing code that could numerically solve partial differential equations in a second or two on a device that fits in your pocket. The result was an app that gave you access to millions of scenarios, where tables gave at most hundreds.

    Having solved that problem, we were asked by users to give more advice on what temperature to choose. That's where the shortcut buttons on the temperature selection screens came from. Those tested extremely well across users, and have this been an integral part if the app for years now. We got some advice to be conservative with the numbers, which is where the values currently in the shortcuts came from. We're now wondering whether we should undo that change.

    Personally, I have my favorite temperatures, like 54.4C for ribeye. I can always select that even if it's not one of the shortcuts.

    I also personally like the idea of user-modifiable definitions for advanced users. But I struggle with the question of whether it will be worth it for the vast majority of users.

  6. SVD 4.0 is now available on the App Store. This is mainly a cosmetic release for new iOS devices and new versions of iOS. It also adds support for some new sous-vide equipment.

    We are considering going back to some of the older temperature labeling we had, e.g. medium rare beef is 54.4C, as opposed to the more conservative values presently in the app. This does not affect the thermodynamic simulation in any way. It only affects the values entered by the shortcut buttons.

    Thanks again for you patience.

  7. vengroff - 


    Thanks for the program, it's been fun to play with so far.  I used it for a pork loin last monday, and it will help out with my next tri-tip.  (Right now, I have 72 h @ 62 C short ribs going, which don't really need the program.)


    Do you happen to know the h value for the Sous Vide Pro Creative Series?  I bought the non-polyscience Sous Vide Dash (hoping you get a bigger cut of the profits), and it only has an entry for the original Sous Vide Pro. 


    I've also had fun writing my own simulation based on Baldwin's article, your FAQ, and wikipedia. It was a good excuse to learn a little bit of applied math and physics.  (I ended up using the Crank-Nicolson method to solve Baldwin's equation and managed to get times consistent with SV Dash.)


    It would be nice if I could use SVDash to time frozen foods, even if it overestimated the time a little, but I understand that's a much more complex problem. Would something along the lines of this work? A Difference Scheme for Solving Two Phase Stefan Problem of Heat Equation  (the author considers a moving boundary between frozen and melted and tweaks the time values so the boundary always lands on one of the steps in the space dimension). 


    Thanks for the pointer. I will take a look. And it's always nice to get independent confirmation that the simulation results are on target.

  8. I take it that this method is an attempt to model the stall at phase change when the ice turns into a liquid. Most of us just add a somewhat arbitrary time constant to take this into account.


    Yes, that's correct. The thermodynamics get a little hairy because there tend to be three distinct layers, one above freezing, one below, and in between those two a slushy mess right around the freezing point.

  9. Can anyone comment on the often huge discrepancies between the Modernist Cuisine tables and Sous Vide Dash app?

    So far I've only looked at steaks and medallions, in pork and beef. Time recommendations (to reach core temperature) are greater in SV Dash by 60% to 100%.


    If the MC cuisine times are accurate, then people using Dash are just cooking for extra time and may not notice a difference. But if the Dash times are accurate, I'd expect people to be screaming about the MC cuisine tables leading to undercooking.


    The high level answer is I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Modernist Cuisine charts.
    I actually first wrote the thermodynamic simulation code at the heart of the app after noticing that the last column in Table 1 on page 276 and the last column in Table 3 on page 278 of MC both describe a cylinder 15cm in diameter and 15cm tall, yet they have different times for the same temperature change. I was also bothered by the fact that cubes, spheres and squat cylinders were all supposed to use the same table (table 3).
    Things may have changed in the second edition, but as I dug deeper on the numbers in the first edition I really wanted to write the code and do some research myself. I corresponded a bit with the MC team, but I didn't get enough details of their simulation code to compare it to mine and determine why we tend to disagree. There are a lot of factors, including how food is situated in the bath and how well the water circulates.
    Having said all of this, I can say that I have done experiments and found the app's predictions on target, and an independent lab hired by one of the equipment manufacturers has done the same.
    I'm happy to participate in an ongoing dialog, and if changes are warranted, make them. 
    • Like 1
  10. Hi All,


    First, let me apologize for the lack of updates to the app. I'm truly sorry for that. My day job has kept me on the road so much of the last two years that I have not devoted adequate time to maintaining the app. So the abandonware label is not too far fetched.


    Second, let me share a bit of hopefully good news. The app is in the process of being taken over by a new startup. I can't share too many details at this point, but I'm confident a new version 4.0 designed for more modern versions of iOS will be out in a matter of weeks. Longer range there will be more announcements that I think will interest SVD users as well.


    Thanks for your ongoing support and suggestions.

  11. Thanks everyone for that he positive feedback. We just released 3.1.1 with a couple of small user requested features, namely elapsed time counter and mute button for silencing the timer while the ice bath is prepared.

    There is going to be some much bigger news soon. Stay tuned.

    P.S. if you like the app please review it in iTunes.

    Any update on an Android version? I just got a tablet and this looks like a good tool to have around.

    We are working towards it. But no firm date yet. Say tuned for more news.

  12. I am stunned that the Keurig K-Cup system is so popular though. Blech.

    I don't drink much drip coffee in general, but I agree that all the K-Cup stuff I have tasted has been awful.

  13. Count me as another Nespresso fan. I would not have thought of trying it except that Sur La Table was offering free samples one day when I was in. I wasn't expecting much and almost fell over when I tasted it and it was not just decent but actually quite good. As others have said, they really get some serious crema.

    I bought a home machine for our office (~10 people) and it gets pretty heavy daily use. After two years it's still running strong. We occasionally descale it, but that's it.

    Is the espresso as good as the best local independent cafes? Of course not; it's not even close. But for a quick shot in the office kitchen 5 meters from my desk it is awesome.

  14. This is correct, but you should not use it as an excuse to drop an arbitrarily large hunk of meat into your circulator. A thick piece of meat can take many hours to come to temperature at the core. Along the way bacteria can create enough toxins to cause trouble. I personally would not want to eat something that took 12 hours to come to temperature even if it cooked for a total of 48.

    I'm not sure that's a valid concern: we generally assume that the interior of an intact muscle is sterile, thus it is only bacteria on the exterior surface of the meat that we need to be concerned about. The surface temperature of a roast comes to bath temperature nearly instantly, halting surface bacterial growth.

    I definitely wouldn't say instantly, though surface pasteurization does happen in a short time relative to an overall 48-72h cook time for a tough cut of meat. It's a fairly common misconception that surface pasteurization happens really quickly at typical long-cooking temperatures (55-65°C). Unless you are talking about an initial dunk in 85-90°C water, it actually takes a fair bit of time to pasteurize even at the surface.

    Here is an example of a 90mm thick piece of pork at 60°C:


    It takes an hour and eighteen minutes to pasteurize at the surface. Even though the temperature starts rising rapidly at the surface, as shown by the grey line, the slope drops very quickly as it approaches water temperature. It takes a while in the mid 50's °C to achieve pasteurization, as the dotted lines show.

    With a much thinner 10mm piece, surface pasteurization happens a lot faster, as shown below:


    But even in this case, it still takes twenty-eight minutes to pasteurize at the surface.

    As for the assumption of interior sterility, I admit I often make it too, especially for beef from ranches I trust. However, I essentially never run across situations where there is some kind of presentation value that trumps cutting the meat into smaller pieces before cooking to eliminate the even the small risk that I am wrong.

  15. Really enjoying 3.0.... when doing cook-chill, is there a way to turn off the audible alarm but not start the chill timer? Sometimes my ice bath isn't ready when the timer goes off (or I'm in the middle of doing somethign else and don't have the time at that moment to do the transfer) but I don't want to hear the timer beeping the whole time.

    Thanks for the feedback. Great idea on the timer. I'll incorporate a pause button in a future version to allow you to stop the beeping after cooking without starting the ice timer. It will be either 3.1.1 or 3.2 since 3.1 is already done and submitted to Apple for review.

  16. Right, what Shalmanese said. In this case the pork will come to temp in just a small percentage of the overall cooking time no matter how thick it is. It's a time-at-temp issue in this case, where you are trying to break down the collagen. Thickness is essentially irrelevant.

    This is correct, but you should not use it as an excuse to drop an arbitrarily large hunk of meat into your circulator. A thick piece of meat can take many hours to come to temperature at the core. Along the way bacteria can create enough toxins to cause trouble. I personally would not want to eat something that took 12 hours to come to temperature even if it cooked for a total of 48.

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