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Temperature Control in Sous Vide Cooking


billieboy
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I am fascinated by the sous vide process, but one thing that makes me hesitate, is that I have heard you have to keep the temperature accurate within a 1/10 of a degree for safe and positive results. Without buying a mega-dollar lab cooker, how is this accomplished in the home, or is it even necessary to be that accurate?

Bil

I wanted to put this in with the other sous vide section, but it ended here. don't know how to move it. First time post (Newbie :rolleyes: )l

Edited by billieboy (log)
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I am fascinated by the sous vide process, but one thing that makes me hesitate, is that I have heard you have to keep the temperature accurate within a 1/10 of a degree for safe and positive results. Without buying a mega-dollar lab cooker, how is this accomplished in the home, or is it even necessary to be that accurate?

Bil

I wanted to put this in with the other sous vide section, but it ended here. don't know how to move it. First time post (Newbie  :rolleyes: )l

Buy a surplus lab cooker for about $100-$200.00. I have two. As for whether the accuracy is needed, that depends on the recipe. You can get by with a one or even two degree difference for a lot of recipes but certain dishes like 2 hour soft boiled eggs are best done to that +/- .5 degree range.

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For someone who is just beginning to explore sous vide cooking, the only bit of fancy equipment that you need is a decent digital thermometer. Although you expand your possibilities with more robust equipment, for basic cook-to-temp, you can get by with very little added investment. Besides, better to see if the technique really does have a place in your kitchen before breaking out the checkbook, right?

My "sous-vide" setup consists of a large pot of water on the stove, ziploc freezer bags, and a thermometer. Sure, there's a learning curve associated with regulating the temperature (flame/ice), but over time it becomes less and less of a chore. I have not ventured towards cooking times greater than 3-4 hours...but I've learned plenty with what I already have on hand.

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i started with a digital thermometer and a crock-pot.

had simply amazing results with confit duck and turkey legs, even though the crock pot temps were not exactly "right".

i got a foodsaver vac system at Costco, which i used for several years packaging meat for freezing, before i ever used it for sous vide.

yes, I plan on getting a immersion circulatory, but you certainly don't need one if you want to start trying sous vide.

i would buy a digital thermometer and a foodsaver system initially (they are useful for way more than sous vide).

you can start with a big pot of water and manually adjust the water temp for short term sous vide cooking (less than a couple of hours).

for long term sous vide, a crock pot will certainly work, with some fiddling.

when your hooked, get a water circulator.

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Thanks to all. I have a foodsaver, hence my interest in sous-vide. Also a digital thermometer. At the moment I am monitoring my slow-cooker temp with just water in it. It is on "warm" now but will test the low and high as well. Think the high will be to hot. It boils everything...Will be interesting

Eat your heart out Keller :raz:

Bill

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most "modern" crockpots are useless for sous vide on the high setting..

your best bet is the "low" setting, or even the "warm" setting, which is a setting some crock pots switch over to after the cooking cycle is complete.

i have 2 slow-cookers (aka crock pots)

one ia all-clad behemoth, which i sous vided by turkey legs (major tastety goodness)..

the all clad runs at 187 degrees on the low setting...

i have a smaller, hamilton beach slow cooker, which can be set as low as 145 degrees.

in order to get lower temps on a crock pot, you'll need a "PID" controller, and a really dumb crock pot (no auto temp controll, just on/off). The PID controller adds a feedback loop and a thermistor to turn your crock pot into a temperature regulated bath (see the big sous vide thread for details).

when i used the crock pot, it was for 8-10 hours of cooking, and i partially filled it with hot water from the tap, and had a kettle of boiling water available to top off the crock pot once the cold turkey legs went in the cooker. The water temp was not exactly 180 degrees (the target), but i was close enough so the crock pot could maintain the water temp at a safe (high) level, so as not to promote bacterial growth.

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Well my slow-cooker has been on warm for a few hours and is registering 163F. Too hot it seems for sous vide. I won't even bother checking the low setting.

I guess I will have to find another toy    :wacko:

Try blowing a fan on it. An open door has a huge effect on my oven's simmer temp.

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There is a device called sous vide magic which controls a crock pot or a rice cooker and keeps it at whatever temp. you set it at. This combined with a foodsaver or whatever will give you great results for home. This can be had for less than 300 dollars. It will also accomplish 90% of the things that you would want to do with sous vide.

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There is a device called sous vide magic which controls a crock pot or a rice cooker and keeps it at whatever temp. you set it at. This combined with a foodsaver or whatever will give you great results for home. This can be had for less than 300 dollars. It will also accomplish 90% of the things that you would want to do with sous vide.

Thank you thank you thank you. Did a little googling and found the site. Looks like the answer to a maiden's prayer.

I now realize I could have got this info from the regular sous vide thread, but 2,200 replies were a bit daunting, especially when I didn't have a clue what they were talking about.

A little more educated now, thanks to you guys and gals.

Again, thank you

Bill

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I don't think the original question has yet been fully answered.

How precise DOES the temperature control really need to be?

(I don't know the relationship between Fresh Meal Solutions and Auber.)

FMS seem now to offer just one ready-to-run controller.

Auber offer that one as part of a range which offers a choice of precision.

They offer a standard (version 2) model with an accuracy of ±1°C, and a "high precision" model which offers an accuracy of ±0.2C at 65C, and a 0.1C resolution. (Quite apart from the previous choice of wattage and their range of various diy components.)

Standard: http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=44

Extra Precision: http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=42

Obviously, equalising temperature within the bath becomes more important for higher real precision, but with forced circulation (or at least a bubbler), is there any practical value in going the extra $50?

Incidentally, I wouldn't advise anyone to think they can drop the temperature in a thermostatically-controlled oven by opening the door... all that happens is that more heat is called up to make good the heat losses out at the door... :wink: and the heating process in the oven is actually intensified! It was different in the very old days before thermostats ...

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

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I don't think the original question has yet been fully answered.

How precise DOES the temperature control really need to be?

(I don't know the relationship between Fresh Meal Solutions and Auber.)

FMS seem now to offer just one ready-to-run controller.

Auber offer that one as part of a range which offers a choice of precision.

They offer a standard (version 2) model with an accuracy of ±1°C, and a "high precision" model which offers an accuracy of ±0.2C at 65C, and a 0.1C resolution. (Quite apart from the previous choice of wattage and their range of various diy components.)

Standard: http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=44

Extra Precision: http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=42

Obviously, equalising temperature within the bath becomes more important for higher real precision, but with forced circulation (or at least a bubbler), is there any practical value in going the extra $50?

Incidentally, I wouldn't advise anyone to think they can drop the temperature in a thermostatically-controlled oven by opening the door... all that happens is that more heat is called up to make good the heat losses out at the door...  :wink: and the heating process in the oven is actually intensified! It was different in the very old days before thermostats ...

Thank you for those sites. They seem to have more info than the other one and seem to have done some homework on what it works best with. I'm impressed.

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I had great success cooking sous vide with a rice cooker, sousvidemagic controller, and a foodsaver. The one thing that impresses me most is the support at FreshMealsSolutions where I bought my sousvidemagic temperature controller. The guy's name is Frank and he is very knowledgeable and helpful with any questions about sous vide.

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I had great success cooking sous vide with a rice cooker, sousvidemagic controller, and a foodsaver.  The one thing that impresses me most is the support at FreshMealsSolutions where I bought my sousvidemagic temperature controller.  The guy's name is Frank and he is very knowledgeable and helpful with any questions about sous vide.

I'd like to endorse this, I shopped for mine from Australia and did not want to pay air express, which would have in essence doubled the price. Frank was very helpful and sent it to me via normal post, communicating all the way and sending me useful emails about using the unit.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I don't think the original question has yet been fully answered.

How precise DOES the temperature control really need to be?

(I don't know the relationship between Fresh Meal Solutions and Auber.)

FMS seem now to offer just one ready-to-run controller.

Auber offer that one as part of a range which offers a choice of precision.

They offer a standard (version 2) model with an accuracy of ±1°C, and a "high precision" model which offers an accuracy of ±0.2C at 65C, and a 0.1C resolution. (Quite apart from the previous choice of wattage and their range of various diy components.)

Standard: http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=44

Extra Precision: http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=42

Obviously, equalising temperature within the bath becomes more important for higher real precision, but with forced circulation (or at least a bubbler), is there any practical value in going the extra $50?

Incidentally, I wouldn't advise anyone to think they can drop the temperature in a thermostatically-controlled oven by opening the door... all that happens is that more heat is called up to make good the heat losses out at the door...  :wink: and the heating process in the oven is actually intensified! It was different in the very old days before thermostats ...

Just ordered the extra precision. I think it will work great for a fermentation chamber for salamis and in cheesemaking. excited about the possibilities.

As for the the circulation bubbler, any insight into this. I'm assuming an aqauirium pump and something that can withstand high temps for an aerator?

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I don't think the original question has yet been fully answered.

How precise DOES the temperature control really need to be?

(I don't know the relationship between Fresh Meal Solutions and Auber.)

FMS seem now to offer just one ready-to-run controller.

Auber offer that one as part of a range which offers a choice of precision.

They offer a standard (version 2) model with an accuracy of ±1°C, and a "high precision" model which offers an accuracy of ±0.2C at 65C, and a 0.1C resolution. (Quite apart from the previous choice of wattage and their range of various diy components.)

Standard: http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=44

Extra Precision: http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=42

Obviously, equalising temperature within the bath becomes more important for higher real precision, but with forced circulation (or at least a bubbler), is there any practical value in going the extra $50?

Incidentally, I wouldn't advise anyone to think they can drop the temperature in a thermostatically-controlled oven by opening the door... all that happens is that more heat is called up to make good the heat losses out at the door...  :wink: and the heating process in the oven is actually intensified! It was different in the very old days before thermostats ...

Just ordered the extra precision. I think it will work great for a fermentation chamber for salamis and in cheesemaking. excited about the possibilities.

As for the the circulation bubbler, any insight into this. I'm assuming an aqauirium pump and something that can withstand high temps for an aerator?

Yes I thought of that too..they are dirt cheap and would add circulation to the water.

The temps in sous vide don't seem to be high enough to hurt a bit of plastic tubing.

Bill

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...

Just ordered the extra precision.  I think it will work great for a fermentation chamber for salamis and in cheesemaking.  excited about the possibilities.

As for the the circulation bubbler, any insight into this.  I'm assuming an aqauirium pump and something that can withstand high temps for an aerator?

Hmm, not sure where you are going regarding the cheesemaking ...

These units have an output for a HEATER --- ONLY.

You cannot just plug in a cooler!

The logic needs to be reversed. Or connection to the other terminal of a 'changeover' relay - which these things don't have; they use plain SSRs, not changeovers.

I'd also suggest that the precision involved is way greater than needed for cheese or curing sausage.

Check the big sv thread regarding bubblers, etc. I'd use silicone tube, to a couple of 'stones' and seek out a specially quiet pump. They tend to be a bit noisy.

ADDED: the point about any bubbler or circulation enhancer is to even out the temperature differences within the bath - its a bit pointless having a 0.1 degree controller and 2 or 3 degrees variation within the bath.

Edited by dougal (log)

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

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  • 3 weeks later...
I am fascinated by the sous vide process, but one thing that makes me hesitate, is that I have heard you have to keep the temperature accurate within a 1/10 of a degree for safe and positive results. Without buying a mega-dollar lab cooker, how is this accomplished in the home, or is it even necessary to be that accurate?

Bil

I wanted to put this in with the other sous vide section, but it ended here. don't know how to move it. First time post (Newbie  :rolleyes: )l

You can try a table top roaster. The temperature control takes a bit of trial and error to get it right. I have found (using a PID to control the temperature) that there is good uniformity throughout the container.

Once you get a PID controller, you can achieve 1 degree F (about 0.5 degree C) control.

Have fun.

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I have bought this (Combo 4):

http://freshmealssolutions.com/index.php?p...emart&Itemid=26

works great, a friend of mine that is a chef has bought one for his home as well, results are as good as in his restaurant. Now either he has a rubbish restaurant, or sous vide magic works well ;) I think the latter.

Edited by RedRum (log)
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I have bought this (Combo 4):

http://freshmealssolutions.com/index.php?p...emart&Itemid=26

works great, a friend of mine that is a chef has bought one for his home as well, results are as good as in his restaurant. Now either he has a rubbish restaurant, or sous vide magic works well ;) I think the latter.

It looks very nice and I would love to have it, however, by the time I got it up to Canada, with shipping and taxes and exchange, it would be about $700CDN. Very much out of my price range.

I will put it on my next year's Christmas wish list :biggrin:

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For that money, you should be able to get a reconditioned clip-on laboratory recirculating water bath heater that you could use with any vessel you wanted. I don't understand paying $483 US on a non-recirculating PID heater with size limitations.

--

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For that money, you should be able to get a reconditioned clip-on laboratory recirculating water bath heater that you could use with any vessel you wanted.  I don't understand paying $483 US on a non-recirculating PID heater with size limitations.

I bought it when the sterling to the dollar ratio was 2 to 1 (I live in the UK), so it was not that expensive. I could not get anything better for that money, and although I am in science myself could not really find a lab water bath... I just wanted something that worked straight out of the box. The recirculation makes sense in a restaurant environment, but for home use I find that the system is sufficient. I just move the pot around a few times, no big deal. One could go for Combo 1, which is $250, should not make much difference.

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