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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 5)

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I think you are overstating the importance of a circulator. It  depends on a number of factors (heat source, bath size, bath size relative to what is being cooked, etc.)

It may be critical in some situations but it is not critical in all applications. A PID controlled rice cooker or multicooker or table-top roaster works fine with or without something added for circulation. The natural convection in my multicooker is such that the temperature is pretty constant. The tabletop roaster because it is side-heated doesn't have the same convections patterns and there is a tiny bit more variation -- which a $10 aquarium airpump easily solves. Even in the roaster, the temperature distributes evenly enough that I no longer bother to  use the pump.

I would seriously consider involving some some of circulator- it is critical to the process of temperature stability and safety.

randall

Its better to overstate for safety reasons I would like to think- especially for the majority of folks here that dont have ServeSafe certification, or understand the nuances for modified atmosphere cooking/storing protocols.

Even the smallest baths Ive seen (and I trained in a 2-star Mich with multiple IC stations) in restaurants all have a IC; with water baths being much cheaper than a IC- still choose a circ.

Ive asked the water bath vs IC question to most of them, and discussed at length with Dave Arnold at FCI, and the common opinion is that circulation is key, can you LTC w/o - sure, but its not good practice.

randall

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Circulation in a water bath can be very important, but it is possible to live without it in some cases if you are careful.

The point of circulation is to make sure that you don't get cold spots so there is even heating all over the food.

The factors that make circulation more important are:

- How big is the bath/pot?

- How much food is in the bath/pot?

- Is it clumped together, or spread out?

If you have a large crock pot / rice steamer / roaster controlled by a PID it will work very well with it if you keep the food in the center, keep it from touching or clustering and have a good ratio of water to the amount of food.

To prevent food from clumping you can use use things to separate it (cake cooling racks, mesh baskets made for deep fat frying...), either from other bags of food, or from the bottom or sides of the pot or bath.

Or you can use binder clips to clip the bags to a rack you put over the top of the pot. Or magnetic clips for something similar.

On the other hand if you jam it full of sous vide bags that are all touching one another you will not get even cooking.

In fact, even if you do have a stirred / pumped water bath or immersion circulator you can overload it to the point where the stirring or circulation still does not prevent cold spots and uneven cooking.

An aquarium pump with bubbler can do a reasonable job of forcing water circulation - it isn't as good as a circulation pump. It is OK for home use but don't crowd the bath. Make sure the bubbles are coming up on all sides - if you have a bubbler over in one corner of a large pot and there food blocking the flow to the other side of the pot, it won't do you much good. The bubbles are what stir the water so they need to be reasonably distributed.

Some of the posts above talk about "water bath" and "immersion circulator" as two separate things. Laboratory water baths come in two forms - those with pumps which are basically indentical to an immersion circulator, but have a built in tank. They are also called "stirred water baths" but in reality it is a pump not a stirer.

There are also "utility water baths" which are unstirred and have no pumps. The unstirred ultility baths are very simliar to an improvised outfit with a PID controller and a rice cooker, or roaster.

In general water baths with pumps usually have better temperature control, and are more expensive. But generally they are worth it. Restaurants that do a lot of volume production really ought to use a bath with a circulation pump. Home users may also find it convienent if they do large quantities.

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Quick SV report:

Brined 1.5" thick pork rib chops for about 1 hour in sugar/salt mix, then popped them in the water bath with nothing else in the bag for 12 hours at 131 degrees as per Douglas Baldwin (*thanks Douglas!).

Then I fished them out and seared them in a pan with smoking vegetable oil for a couple of minutes.

I am a pork chop enthusiast but the texture and flavor here went well beyond anything I had previously cooked. This was a remarkable demonstration of what can be done with this method. Also a pan sauce would have been super-easy using the juices from the bag. Good, good stuff

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Has anyone done beef or veal bone marrow before? I did one a while ago by default when I did an osso bucco... the osso bucco was done at 82.2 for about 6 hours, I think... it was good, but the marrow stole the show...

Has anyone done just a marrow bone? If so, what temp/time and how did it come out? Any suggestions??

Thanks!

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I'm guessing a whole marrowbone would be quite slow to come to temp, since the object to be cooked is insulated by a thick layer of bone. I would either thinly slice the bones (as they would be for osso bucco), or remove the marrow beforehand.

Cooking marrow sous-vide is genius, though. Roughly speaking, I imagine cooking marrow sous-vide has much of the same advantages as cooking foie gras sous-vide.

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That marrow in the osso bucco was a revelation... everything else in the dish was a waste of time, by comparison... I was thinking now of doing an "upscale" pho bo - where I have the pho broth, but clear like a consomme (I've done this before in the pressure cooker - works great), little ravioli filled with the cooked marrow (which take the place of the rice noodles and the marrow that gets usually integrated into the broth), and some raw prime rib eye sliced thin that is "cooked" in the broth at the last minute... finish with chives to act as the sliced raw onion/scallion component...

ETA: It's a great idea to have the butcher slice the marrow bones into 1" thick slices... I didn't think of that ..

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I'm having some problems getting rid of the milky-white stuff when doing fish this way. I tried Thomas Keller's recommended "quick salt cure" method, but that didn't seem to work. I've yet to try the brining method, but I was wondering whether there was a recommended salt:water ratio.

Thanks for any advice.

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What temperature are you cooking the fish to? Above a certain temp, I don't think it's possible to avoid.

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Hmmm...the tuna I did last night seemed to be overdone at 140F, but the milky white appears at 120F, too.

Keller does the following:

1) Bass 143.6F

2) Monkfish 147.2F

3) Tuna 139.1F

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My latest SV experiment form a couple of weeks ago involded pork belly. I brined a skin on piece and cooked it with some ginger and garlic at 150 for 24 hours. I then let is rest under a heavy weight in the fridge overnight. Then I removed the skin and seared it. Here it is served with Soba, Napa Cabbage, a thin cucumber slice, a soy pudding sauce and sesame.

gallery_5404_94_31157.jpg

The texture was pretty good and the taste was rich and porky. Oddly enough not much ginger or garlic flavor came through. I was worried these might be overwhelming actually. I would like to cook at maybe a slightly higher temp and a shorter time, say 155 for 15 hours or so. I am hoping to get the fat a bit softer.

I am thinking of trying a piece of pork butt soon too. The idea is along the lines of barbeque flavor. I do not think it is a good idea to cook it with bbq sauce, but maybe apply a good rub, sear it, add a little liquid smoke and CSV. Whenit is done I can brush with bbq sauce and torch lightly. Does that sound right? Any suggestions to timing/temp? Should I treat it like a piece of chuck and cook in the high 30s for 36 hours?

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More results:

Short rib and lamb shoulder with salt and pepper 135 for 36 hours. Both produce great texture-

sous vide for braised items like this is truly unparralleled in cooking. The liquid produced by both is useless for sauce as far as I'm concerned.

Brought some to work and my restaurant will be buying an IC perhaps just a sous vide magic setup now.

Matt

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Is this something practicable and or do-able for the (maybe slightly below) average home cook? Cooking in a vacuum packed bag...what are the benefits, anyway? Saw it mentioned in a article and was curious...

I have to respond to Suzanne F's comment: sous vide cooking is not like cooking en papillote, which is steaming. The vacuum bag allows intimate contact with the cooking medium (convection) for efficient heat transfer and precise temperature control (also not true for en papillote, where steam temperatures may rise significantly above the desired done temp.). Last, a marinade or flavor medium stays in intimate contact with the item.

You can achieve a fair level of success with a home vacuum sealer, but your ability to include a liquid is very limited. I don't know if Food Saver bags have been tested for leaching of undesirable chemicals under high temperature, and this question begs to be answered given the growing popularity of sous vide.

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You can  achieve a fair level of success with a home vacuum sealer, but your ability to include a liquid is very limited.

This thread is getting so long details are easy to miss. Most of us freeze the liquids (including fats and oils) before vacuum sealing them, which solves this issue.

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You can  achieve a fair level of success with a home vacuum sealer, but your ability to include a liquid is very limited.  I don't know if Food Saver bags have been tested for leaching of undesirable chemicals under high temperature, and this question begs to be answered given the growing popularity of sous vide.

With the right FoodSaver and just a little bit of care, one can vacuum pack bags with liquid in them -- even without freezing. FoodSavers with the Pulse option can deal with liquid as long as you pay attention and stop pulsing once the liquid starts getting sucked in. They have removable drip trays so some liquid getting sucked in is ok. These ones seem to have a better sealer so that the liquid does not prevent sealing. The FoodSavers without the pulse option are a little trickier unless you freezed the liquids.

The FoodSaver bags are designated as food safe for cooking -- unlike the ZipLoc vacuum bags. Of course, I can't vouch for their testing. But I would trust those bags ahead of bags not designed for cooking.

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What temperature are you cooking the fish to?  Above a certain temp, I don't think it's possible to avoid.

Hmmm...the tuna I did last night seemed to be overdone at 140F, but the milky white appears at 120F, too.

Keller does the following:

1) Bass 143.6F

2) Monkfish 147.2F

3) Tuna 139.1F

a tip to stop the milky white is to brine your fish for 15-20 minutes in a basic brine (sugar salt water - spice optional) It will stabilize the fat.

good luck!

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Latest dinner.

We had a surplus of sage on a home herb bush so did pork, sage and apple.

Seasoned the pork with salt and pepper, added a slice of apple, some frozen olive oil, and three sage leaves (see picture).

bagged%20pork.jpg

Cooked at 57C for two hours.

Made sauce from roux, some chicken stock, grated apple, chopped sage, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and a small amount of sherry vinegar.

Pork came out exactly as it went in, but cooked. Put sauce under and around the pork so as not to interfere with ready made garnish design. We're just out of summer, hence the salad.

The apple slice was cooked but still crisp so it added some texture to the dish.

pork%20dinner.jpg

New dish, first time I've done it, needs a bit of work on presentation but shows some promise. Thought I'd put it here to show what can be done with "vacuum sealed garnishes."


Edited by nickrey (log)

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Hello, S-V Gang!

It's been a while...

Well, I have some good news: there is a new S-V book available now.

gallery_57905_5970_54993.jpg

I like the description of the technical aspects ( by none other but Bruno Goussault), as well as European style recipes.

Can't wait to give some of those a try!!!

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Mike, how does it compare to the other two book?

Worth the money?

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My latest SV experiment form a couple of weeks ago involded pork belly. I brined a skin on piece and cooked it with some ginger and garlic at 150 for 24 hours. I then let is rest under a heavy weight in the fridge overnight. Then I removed the skin and seared it. Here it is served with Soba, Napa Cabbage, a thin cucumber slice, a soy pudding sauce and sesame.

gallery_5404_94_31157.jpg

The texture was pretty good and the taste was rich and porky. Oddly enough not much ginger or garlic flavor came through. I was worried these might be overwhelming actually. I would like to cook at maybe a slightly higher temp and a shorter time, say 155 for 15 hours or so. I am hoping to get the fat a bit softer.

I am thinking of trying a piece of pork butt soon too. The idea is along the lines of barbeque flavor. I do not think it is a good idea to cook it with bbq sauce, but maybe apply a good rub, sear it, add a little liquid smoke and CSV. Whenit is done I can brush with bbq sauce and torch lightly. Does that sound right? Any suggestions to timing/temp? Should I treat it like a piece of chuck and cook in the high 30s for 36 hours?

I have SVed many times Pork butt and Pork rib meat at 82.2 C for 8 hours with very good result. Your idea of rub, sear, liquid smoke all sounded right on. Let us know the final result.

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You can  achieve a fair level of success with a home vacuum sealer, but your ability to include a liquid is very limited.  I don't know if Food Saver bags have been tested for leaching of undesirable chemicals under high temperature, and this question begs to be answered given the growing popularity of sous vide.

With the right FoodSaver and just a little bit of care, one can vacuum pack bags with liquid in them -- even without freezing. FoodSavers with the Pulse option can deal with liquid as long as you pay attention and stop pulsing once the liquid starts getting sucked in. They have removable drip trays so some liquid getting sucked in is ok. These ones seem to have a better sealer so that the liquid does not prevent sealing. The FoodSavers without the pulse option are a little trickier unless you freezed the liquids.

The FoodSaver bags are designated as food safe for cooking -- unlike the ZipLoc vacuum bags. Of course, I can't vouch for their testing. But I would trust those bags ahead of bags not designed for cooking.

I had used regular 3mm bag with Foodsaver. I usually put food with liquid in bag than squueze out as much air as I can than seal. As long as you do not use their own brand bag, you do not get vacuum but sealing only. Even with a chamber vacuum sealer, you do not vacuum out all the air anyway.

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Curing Lardo in Sous Vide - I have lots of Berkshire fat back from my charcuterie so I decided to make some Lardo (brine/cured with herbs over 3 months.) I was able to use much less space /containers, and eliminate a majority of the oxygen which Ill assume is helpful. The chamber vacuum came in handy to seal in all the liquid.

gallery_63095_6539_80398.jpg

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Mike, how does it compare to the other two book?

Worth the money?

gallery_57905_5970_60755.jpg

I don't know.... It's a good book, but I find a few points to be very questionable ( e.g. - the author suggest cooking all fish @56C to the internal temp of 54C - first, why not cook at 54C? second, salmon @54 is overcooked/monkfish @54 may even be undercooked). Some of the recipes, esp. the ones involving cooking in jars are closer to "preserving/canning" than "sous-vide", but it's still an interesting approach.

Finally, there is the cost - $125 is a lot for a book of that caliber, I think. Again, there is a lot of good info, though...


Edited by MikeTMD (log)

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hi. if anyone could help it would be highly appreciative. I want to do short ribs for 36-48 hours. What is a good temperature 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit? Thanks.

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So who has the experience with Sous Vide Corned Beef. My guess is hot and long.

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