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Everything posted by DocDougherty

  1. Looks good. At what temperature for 1.5 hrs? And how was it packaged for cooking? Just wrapped in film? Or also in another bag, but not vacuumed? Doc
  2. A much easier and much more reliable way to do it is to just buy one that sounds good from Sourdo.com I have had two from Ed and a number that I started from scratch. I still use his SF every week and it performs well, even here in SoCal. Doc
  3. I use tap water in my bath, and I honestly can't say what its composition is, I just moved into a new house that is in the same town as where I had this problem before. I dont suspect the polycarbonate bath to be the problem but the actual bags. I try to change the water frequently, when it happened the water was changed shortly before I started the two day long cook(63C). I think im going to simmer a sample of each bag and some plain tap water in a stainless pot on the stove for a few hours each and see if if i can start ruling things out. I was just curious if anyone had ever noticed anything similar. The fact that it happened in two separate baths was just puzzling. Dave. ← Let us know what you discover. I use a similar bag and have not had a problem. Doc
  4. Dave, help us with the diagnosis. What is the source of the water that you use? Hard or soft? If hard, what is the source of the hardness (Ca, Mg, ...?). If soft, are you using sodium or potassium salts in the softener. Other minerals like iron at high concentrations? How often do you change it? How often do you cook in it? With a polycarbonate bath it shouldn't be reacting with the plastic.
  5. Not surprisingly, it varies a LOT. I did some tests of choice, prime, and "kobe" (American grown Wagyu). There was a big difference between them, as one might imagine from the price! An a concrete example, I get both regular flat iron steak, and "kobe" and the there is a big difference in cooking times to get the same amount of tenderness - about 12 hours different. ← A 50% reduction in cooking time is a lot. Do you think it is due to more (or more evenly distributed) fat, or to less connective tissue, or both?
  6. Looks really good. It might entice me to drop the temperature 4C on my next tri-tip. I have found that because sous vide does such a good job of tenderizing, I look for a piece of meat that is less marbled and more lean. Does anybody have any data on differences between cooking highly marbled or very lean samples of the same cut? Doc
  7. It has been a long time since I made pita, but I remember using the same technique as for rolling chapatis except that the pita dough is leavened. Take a puffy ball of dough, flatten it with the palm of your hand on some excess flour, then use a tapered rolling pin. Press down on the right end and roll forward; press down on the left end and roll back. Repeat until you reach the size you want. The pita comes out round and slightly thicker in the middle than on the edges. The excess flour acts as a dry lubricant and allows the dough to rotate (counter-clockwise) as your roll it out. Once you get the hang of it you can do them quite fast. I set them on a tray, covered them with a towel then with a plastic sheet to let them rise before baking - just until they are puffy. I used to make them on a gas BBQ when I lived in Arlington VA to keep from heating up the kitchen in the summer. Had some initial problems with getting them to puff, but with the right thickness, dough condition, and temperature (hot, hot as Bill44 points out) they were consistent every week. Doc
  8. I routinely do tri-tip at 59C for 24 hrs and it comes out fork tender and medium. Seasoning is 1t salt per lb of meat + 2t pepper + 1t garlic powder + 1t liquid smoke (Wrights), all mixed together and rubbed onto the meat before vacuuming. I do not use a Jaccard, and I use the whole tri-tip usually with the flap folded back enough to make it uniformly thick, but it doesn't make much difference. If you want it less well done, then 131F is a good place to start, and I would still let it go for 24 hrs. If you chill it thoroughly before grilling to finish, I think you will need to do something to get the core temperature back up to where you want it without overcooking it. You might consider leaving it in the bag and bringing it up to 115F in the water bath before you grill. I have not done the calculation, but you should be able to figure out the timing from Nathan's tables. Doc
  9. Well, I have finally worked my way through this thread from the beginning so I wouldn't be too redundant in my questions or suggestions, but I now have a thought experiment for whoever takes it on: When you retard an active dough, the temperature drops and the rate of proofing goes down, but I think it is for two reasons, not just the reduction in the metabolic rate of the yeast and LAB - but as the temp drops the solubility of CO2 goes up, so some of the gas being produced is absorbed by the liquid in the dough and does not contribute to the rise. When you take it out of the refrigerator and bring it back up to "room temp" the CO2 stays in solution and the additional proofing is a result of warming up the gas trapped in the existing bubbles (plus a little new produced gas). When you put this loaf into the hot oven, what happens to the dissolved CO2? Does it contribute to the oven spring? Is it the source of the surface blistering of retarded dough? (I think yes, but can't figure out how to instrument it to prove it.) Or does it just diffuse out during baking? Am I making something out of nothing? I have not found this topic discussed in any of the sourdough forum posts I have read and would be interested in your collective opinions. Doc
  10. Nathan, Actually in this particular experiment the chicken thighs were proxies for a turkey that is too big to bag and sous vide. The last time I tried browning a full size bird (12 lb) after cooking it for 8 hrs at 153F, it came out both tough and splotchy. The theory for this trail was that the concentrated pentose sugar and lysine in the evaporated milk would accelerate the Maillard reaction without having to carry a lot of extra residual sweet taste. This seems to prove true, but it is still possible to burn it (5 min @ 525°F will do that). With the high rate of convective heat transfer in the combi at 525°F I was able to get a fairly uniform color on the thighs (these were skin-on). As for checking the average temperature of the combi, a #2 can of water with a foil cap wired on will do a good job of averaging the temperature when the oven is kept below 210. Just measure it with your digital thermometer after two hours. Cheers, Doc
  11. I have run a series of sous vide experiments with rump roast and settled on 59C for 72 hrs. It still has a nice pink color and is fork tender. I have also tried sous vide brisket at the same temperature and quit before I found a time long enough to get it tender. I finally decided that if I had to go beyond medium, I might as well braise it. For low temperature cooking in a combi oven I have done chicken thighs at 165F for 5 hrs @ 100% humidity after 20 min @ 320F to get them up to temperature. After they were cooked I let them cool off a little, dried off the surface, painted them with evaporated skimmed milk, and browned them at 525F and 10% humidity for 3 min. The sugar and protein in the milk enhances the Maillard reaction and you get a nice result without overcooking. Without the milk you get very little browning of the skin due (I think) to the high fat, low protein, low sugar surface. Doc
  12. I think you also don't want a marble mortar. Marble is really quite soft and you can grind marble powder off of both the mortar and the pestle if you are grinding anything hard (or just when the pestle runs up against the mortar when you have little to grind). On the other hand it won't hurt you and will add a little calcium to your diet. That also means you should not grind acidic materials in a marble mortar as it will form pits if not cleaned up right away.
  13. Look here: Flatiron steak - how it got its name and what it is
  14. I was surprised, but at 66 C the color of the finished shortribs was still quite pink and the texture was that of med beef (firm), just not yet tender enough to cut with a fork. I didn't take any photos, and it is now all gone, but I have one bag of crosscut shortribs that I left in the tank for an additional 12 hrs so I will have one more data point. The first batch was cooked bone in, which made them about 2" thick, and from Nathan's charts perhaps they didn't get the benefit of a very long time at the final temperature, though perhaps it was the particular piece of meat rather than the process.
  15. Marc, I have tried brisket twice, and no amount of LTLT seems to get it tender. After 72 hrs at 59 C it was still too tough to cut with a fork. I finally took it up to 90 C for 2 hrs which overcooked it, so perhaps a little higher temperature (a low temp braise as described above) might be what is required. I am sure others have quantitative data to supplement this experience. As for tri-tip, I have had good success with 24 hr @ 57, 58, and 59 C, the only difference being the color and texture of the finished product. At 57 C it was clearly med rare, and at 59 C it was closer to med well, so this seems to be a very sensitive place on the temperature curve. Seasoning for the tri-tip is 1t/lb salt, 2t black pepper, 1t garlic powder, 1t liquid smoke, 2T cider vinegar. Doc
  16. I just finished short ribs at 66°F for 30 hrs and they could have gone a little longer as well.
  17. For those who don't have a vacuum chamber or a Seal-a-Meal, I have validated a simple alternate way to bag food for sous vide cooking that works quite well. Early in this string someone pointed out that you can cook in regular resealable bags but recommended double bagging as protection from leaks. I found that I can wrap small pieces of food (chicken breasts, single serving pieces of fish, ...) in Stretch-tite plastic wrap, then put it into a resealable sandwich bag with a handful of clear glass nuggets and squeeze out as much air as I can by immersing it in a pan of water and zipping the seal closed. There will be a little trapped air, but the glass is heavy enough to sink the bag; the air moves to the top allowing the water to fully contact the food, and the nuggets don't make dents in the food (as they do if you vacuum them inside a bag with the food). The Stretch-tite provides a second seal, keeps the glass clean, holds the food shape in a way that is not possible with a vacuumed bag, and does not add significant thermal resistance to the package. This may also answer Ruth's question about a way to introduce a marinade without prefreezing it - just pour it in with the food, add a handful of nuggets and squeeze the bag to eliminate most of the air. The glass nuggets are available at craft stores or can be ordered from many sites, among them this one: (Glass Nuggets). There is probably an upper temperature limit for single layer polyethylene bags, but they are certainly good up to 70°C which is above where I want to cook most meat. Doc
  18. I don't use a "fuel" per se, just a 1200W dual temperature electric heat gun from the local Ace hardware store. On high it gets up to 1000F which is enough to roast a pepper or brown a turkey or remove paint. Doc
  19. The only nutcracker that does this right (and also gets whole Brazil nuts out of their shells) is an ancient one I inherited from my parents. It's got a cast iron holder shaped like the palm of a child's hand, with a flange at the bottom (with a hole in it to anchor the tip of the nut) and a screw-down cracker at the top with a conical end that fits over the top of the nut. It works easily and every time. I have no idea whether it's still made and would love to find a source for gifts. ← I am having a hard time visualizing this one. Any chance you could put up a photo? Brazil nuts don't fare well in my pecan cracker. Doc
  20. Nathan, Thanks again. I have previously found that 15 min @ 475°F is long enough and hot enough to get uniform browning (if, as you point out, you have loosened the skin and oiled it when it was dry). I will incorporate your guidance into the next set of experiments. Doc
  21. After a series of experiments I settled on sous vide turkey thighs (about 16 oz each), 24hrs @ 165°F (actually 23hrs @ 165°F and 1hr @ 153°F, see below). They were cooked bone-in, trimmed, skin on, seasoned with only salt, pepper and a (very) little garlic. When they come out you can just pull the bone out and lift the skin off. They are so tender it is a good idea to use an electric knife to cut them up into chunks. They were a big hit. I also did turkey tenderloins seasoned with salt, white pepper, a little butter, and a pinch of poultry seasoning. They were about an inch thick in the bag so I cooked them at 153°F for 60 min. Four thighs and four tenderloins augmented a 15 lb bird that I did in the combi (with less satisfactory results) as the main course for 15. I think I am going to try doing a sous vide turkey in the combi. Does anybody have a starting point? Time, temp, humidity? Brown it first? Or at the end? Or let it cool off a little and then brown it just before serving? Or brown it first, go wet, low, and slow, then dry it out and crisp it up at the end?
  22. I have a piece of stainless steel screen, about 10.5" square with all of the edges folded double and one edge bent up about 1/2" so you can handle it. It was intended to keep fish from sticking to the grill but it works even better for roasting chili peppers, though I prefer to use a heat gun for roasting bell peppers. My screen is about 170 mesh (13 wires per inch in both directions).
  23. Early in this thread somebody was looking for a way to contact Amco and couldn't find a link. I don't know if this is the right one, but it looks like Amco is a common name in India with many companies by the same name making all kinds of products. I found a link that has an 800 number for an Amco that makes stainless steel kitchen stuff. Look here for the kitchenkapers.com listing of manufacturers phone numbers: (Listing containing Amco phone number) for context. The given number for AMCO is: 1-800-621-4023.
  24. How about an electric torch (otherwise known as a dual temp heatgun)? This is a little above the $10 gadget price, but at $20 it is the perfect way to surgically roast a bell pepper (about 10 min, but hold the pepper in an OVE mitt to keep things under control), or brown the skin on a sous vide turkey thigh. On high it gets up to 1000F.
  25. Two days after it is soup: The bird bones take 24 hrs to give up their connective tissue to the stock pot, and another few hours to reduce to a concentration that will gel, then some time to chill and separate out the fat. Only then am I ready to make soup from the pickings. But it now has the flavors of curry and mole (it may sound strange, but it works if you focus on keeping it subtle), contains lots of turkey, bite-sized pasta and brown rice, and is served with some crusty sourdough and a crisp white wine.
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