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Sous Vide Supreme and other home options: 2009-10


weinoo
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>>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 (log)
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>>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.

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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

tucking in

tucking in

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!

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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.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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  • 3 weeks later...

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?)

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>>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.

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>>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?

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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://freshmealssolutions.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=30&category_id=15&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=31&vmcchk=1&Itemid=31

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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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 (log)
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...

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!

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 (log)

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

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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.sousvidecooking.org/tag/freshmealsmagic/

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 (log)
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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!

The Sous Vide Supreme rack does not get used only in a vertical manner. The manual details how the rack can be used so that the food pouches stand vertically or lie flat.

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...

The Sous Vide Supreme rack does not get used only in a vertical manner. The manual details how the rack can be used so that the food pouches stand vertically or lie flat.

I don't think that is so smart.

Anybody care to check the temperature difference above/below a large horizontal pouch in the SV Supreme?

Holding the pouches vertically would enhance natural convection's efforts to even out temperature differences.

But a horizontal pouch is going to block that circulation. And the bigger in horizontal area the pouch is, the more its going to block the heat transport to the middle of the top side of the pouch.

Its going to be even worse with plural flat-ish pouches horizontal.

There's nothing to drive the heat into the spaces between the pouches. No pump and no help from natural convection currents.

Convection is essentially vertical heat transport - it doesn't work sideways!

What reasons are given to 'assist your choice' of which orientation should be used for particular tasks?

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

Waterbath temperature stability and temperature uniformity

How much temperature oscillation is acceptable for sous vide cooking?

Douglas Baldwin http://amath.colorado.edu/~baldwind/sous-vide.html says ±1.2°C will do for most sous vide cooking. The Sous Vide Supreme is specified to be stable within ±0.5°C, LoftyNotions reports it to be stable even within ±0.5°F (±0.25°C), which should be comfortable for most sous vide cooking. With my SousVideMagic 1500B and VEGA 400W sideheater stockpot with forced circulation (indoor fountain pump) I have stability within ±0.07°C, see and with the SousVideMagic 1500D and a pre-production model of the FreshMealsMagic stability is similiar (after some PID-tuning). With laboratory immersion circulators stability may be ±0.05°C (Douglas Baldwin) or even in the milliKelvin-range, which in my opinion is an overkill for sous vide cooking.

So, temperature stability with a Sous Vide Supreme may be sufficient, with an appropriately tuned PID-controller (Auber or FreshMealsSolution) it is very good, and with an immersion circulator it should be even better and rather an overkill.

How is water bath temperature uniformity with / without forced circulation?

I did a test with the SousVideMagic 1500B and VEGA 400W sideheater stockpot, mounting one sensor of my Voltcraft K202 data logger (resolution 0.01°) near the vessel wall together with the SousVideMagic's sensor, and the second sensor was a few millimeters near an iceBrick which I introduced to simulate addition of a cold pouch of food.

gallery_65177_6825_221471.jpg

With forced circulation by an indoor fountain pump (which has supported temperatures up to 58°C so far), deviation of temperature at the center of the bath to the periphery of the bath is between -0.2°C and +0.3°C

gallery_65177_6825_3925.jpg

Without forced circulation, deviation of temperature at the center of the bath to periphery of bath is between -1.7°C and +0.3°C; maximum deviation is during initial heating. Deviation during disturbance dip is significantly more pronounced than with forced circulation.

gallery_65177_6825_195877.jpg

So, for longtime cooking (24-48h) forced circulation may be optional, but for short time cooking or for adding pouches while another pouch is long-time-cooking, forced circulation is strongly recommended.

It would be interesting to see a similar experiment with a Sous Vide Supreme and with a rice cooker (bottom heater). Who is going to undertake and publish these experiments?

Edited by PedroG (log)

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just purchased the Sous Vide Supreme. As recommended by several people writing on the subject here and on other blogs, I started out with chicken breasts. The thing that is daunting is the fact that no body seems to really agree about temp settings, often giving ranges rather than precise numbers. So, I decided to always use the median temp for the degree of doneness I am looking for.

I cooked the chicken breasts at 63.5 C for an hour and 15 minutes - they came out perfect: even texture and doneness no matter what place you cut in. (I seared them momentarily in a little grapeseed oil to get a little color before serving.) Now I have some lamb breast and lamb shanks in - they have been in for 24 hours at 55 C and I mean to leave them in for another 12 hours, at least.

I have noticed the temp in the SVS varies by just the tinyest bit (exactly as advertised) - it has ranged between 54.5 C and 55 C the entire time I have been observing it. Most of the time, when it is not right on target, I notice it is at 54.9 C. I am amazed at how constant the temp seems to stay!

I am only sorry that there are not more recipes out there to give me some inspiration. I have no idea what I am going to do with this lamb.

I am going to continue to experiment with the SVS because the texture and consistency of the finished product is simply amazing. I love the idea of being able to cook a london broil or tri-tip and achieve the consistency of filet.

BTW, Dr. Eades addressed the temperature variation issue in a couple of posts up on Ruhlman's blog on the subject of the SVS.

I've got one body and one life, I'm going to take care of them.

I'm blogging as the Fabulous Food Fanatic here.

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Cooked my first items in my new SVS. Momofuku's 48 hour Short Ribs set at 140 f w/ Pickled Carrots, Braised Dikon, and Pickled Mustard Seeds. The cooking process extended to 52 hours because I couldn't get out of bed and it was outstanding. The machine is very east to use, and the flexibiity of timing for some dishes is a relief! I love mine. Currently using vaccum Ziplocks which were messy, but worked well.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been using a home-made sous vide "machine" for a couple of years - PID controller, thermocouple, relay, hot plate, stock pot - and no circulator. If I move the thermocouple around in the bath after the temperature has stabilized, I never see more than half a degree F variation, and generally much less. The only thing I cook that needs anywhere near this precision is Atlantic salmon, which I cook at 107F (41.7C), and even there, a don't notice what a difference a degree makes. I don't believe a circulator is important at all, except perhaps if the pot is very crowded.

And I use ordinary zip-lock bags (which are food-grade), not vacuum bagging. I push the bottom part underwater to squeeze out most of the air, then seal. I use glass marbles as weights for anything that will float, such as mushrooms confit.

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I just built the Seattlefoodgeek.com sous vide rig(link) and use a simple VA80 fountain pump for circulation. You could easily take one of those and put it into the SVS to make sure there isn't any temperature variation. The pump cost me $10 and I've run it in water as high as 180F.

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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I just built the Seattlefoodgeek.com sous vide rig(link) and use a simple VA80 fountain pump for circulation. You could easily take one of those and put it into the SVS to make sure there isn't any temperature variation. The pump cost me $10 and I've run it in water as high as 180F.

The link was broken, here is the correct link: http://seattlefoodgeek.com/2010/02/diy-sous-vide-heating-immersion-circulator-for-about-75/#more-921

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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  • 2 months later...

It took a while -- and combining Father's Day and birthday gifts from all comers -- but I've ordered my SVS just now. Note that the BLAIS coupon for $25 off still works, and standard shipping is free.

Very eager to jump in and will report back when I've got something to report.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm looking for opinions as to the best machine for the home cook. As between Sous Vide Magic and Sous Vide Supreme, does anyone have an opinion which is better? Does anyone have an opinion on any of the other brands that are meant for home use and don't require spending thousands?

Thanks.

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