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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 8)

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I'm having some problems with the shape of different tenderloins, after vacuum packing. I do wrap them in clingfilm to form a tight log, but they still get deformed when I vacuum pack them (chamber sealer). If I cut the loin into medallions, to speed up the cooking time, it gets even worse. Modernist Cuisine has a little note about this, saying that you could use clingfilm and then dip the bag in scalding water. Does the dipping make any difference? Any advices?

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you might try firming them up in the freezer just short of freezing?

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Just opened a new box of Ziploc quart bags and they (SC Johnson, a Family Company) have made them out of thinner plastic. The box proudly says that they are giving you 30 bags for the price of 25.

Thanks, SC Johnson (A Family Company) for making your product less useful for storage and for sous vide. Not sure I trust the bags anymore.

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I'm having some problems with the shape of different tenderloins, after vacuum packing. I do wrap them in clingfilm to form a tight log, but they still get deformed when I vacuum pack them (chamber sealer). If I cut the loin into medallions, to speed up the cooking time, it gets even worse. Modernist Cuisine has a little note about this, saying that you could use clingfilm and then dip the bag in scalding water. Does the dipping make any difference? Any advices?

If you pre sear with a blow torch, you will get a nice crust and will firm the ouside so it doesnt deform when you vacuum seal it. That is generally the idea begind dipping it in haot water, but i would advice against that esepcially diffing the cling wrap log as it will fill with water.

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Just opened a new box of Ziploc quart bags and they (SC Johnson, a Family Company) have made them out of thinner plastic. [...] Not sure I trust the bags anymore.

$0.15 each, versus $0.09 each for chamber vacuum pouches that are heat safe. Get a $30 impulse sealer and play with these nicer bags. I'm never going back.

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Just opened a new box of Ziploc quart bags and they (SC Johnson, a Family Company) have made them out of thinner plastic. [...] Not sure I trust the bags anymore.

$0.15 each, versus $0.09 each for chamber vacuum pouches that are heat safe. Get a $30 impulse sealer and play with these nicer bags. I'm never going back.

I have one and i use it for bigger jobs. I'm frustrated with all of the vac sealers I've had. Even the big names are cheap junk that just works for only so long. I try to avoid using it to prolong its life.

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Cabella's brand vacuum seal rolls and pouches seal really well. I havent had a leak yet. Im using a foodsaver vacuum sealer with them. Ironicly Ive had the foodsaver brand pouches leak on me many times.

You can get a good deal if you buy the 6 roll box from cabella's. You get an extra 2 ft per roll then foodsaver brand.

Cabella's rolls say right on them "Boil, Freeze, Store"


Edited by FeChef (log)

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That's good to know. Foodsaver pouches suck.

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If you pre sear with a blow torch, you will get a nice crust and will firm the ouside so it doesnt deform when you vacuum seal it. That is generally the idea begind dipping it in haot water, but i would advice against that esepcially diffing the cling wrap log as it will fill with water.

Thanks! So the dipping cooks the outside and makes it firmer? In case I don't want to pre-sear it.

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Cabella's brand vacuum seal rolls and pouches seal really well. I havent had a leak yet. Im using a foodsaver vacuum sealer with them. Ironicly Ive had the foodsaver brand pouches leak on me many times.

You can get a good deal if you buy the 6 roll box from cabella's. You get an extra 2 ft per roll then foodsaver brand.

Cabella's rolls say right on them "Boil, Freeze, Store"

Interesting. I have used Foodsaver rolls for 15 years and haven't had any leaks yet.

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Interesting. I have used Foodsaver rolls for 15 years and haven't had any leaks yet.

My theory is my sealing strip may not be getting hot enough to make a good seal on there thicker plastic. Or there plastic just isnt of good quality. I dont know for sure, but I do know ever since i switched to the cabella's brand, i havent had a leak or break in the bags. Im not even talking about just SV, I pulled food saver brand vacuum sealed food out of the freezer and the bag or seal had broke.

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Made General Tso's Chicken (Taiwan version) tonight from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes From Hunan Province by Fuchsia Dunlop. Rather than deep frying the chicken thighs, I cooked them sous vide at 150 F a couple of hours in a bit of stock, using the "snip the corner" impulse sealer method of http://forums.egulle...31#entry1902431. Filtered and reduced the stock, sliced and marinated the chicken then stir fried in a bit of lard. Very interesting "twice cooked" texture, and I vastly prefer the flavor of lard to that of peanut oil.

Peasants didn't deep fry, they never had that much oil on hand, that's restaurant technique. Peasants rendered fat from the animals they slaughtered, and used it sparingly as the precious material it was. I like Chinese food this way, and I'm looking for other ways to work in sous vide technique.


Edited by Syzygies (log)

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Something I've been doing of late that most people in my situation (i.e. using a slow cooker/rice cooker/etc as a ghetto sous vide setup) probably already do. You know how when you get the water to, say, 85C or 65C or whatever the intended cooking temperature is and then you put your bag of food in and the temperature drops right down? Well, if I want to cook carrots at 85C I'll set the temperature to 90C. When I drop the carrots into the bath the temperature of the water will drop down to something close to 85C, at which point I'll actually adjust the pid unit. I suspect I'm the last person on eG to figure that one out but, hey, maybe I'm the second last ...

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Well, if I want to cook carrots at 85C I'll set the temperature to 90C. When I drop the carrots into the bath the temperature of the water will drop down to something close to 85C, at which point I'll actually adjust the pid unit.

The entirely parallel issue of brining meats is discussed at length in Paul Bertolli's Cooking by Hand. He guesses the water weight of the meat, and takes it into account in salting the brine, aiming for a target equilibrium salinity. Easy with a spreadsheet, but adoption in barbecue circles isn't universal. (Like cooks who proudly don't measure, there's this whole "Deliverance" angle to barbecue where one pretends one hasn't done arithmetic since dropping out of high school.) The computation is perhaps more critical for brining, because there's no device in the water that adjusts the water bath salinity.

One could imagine an application like Sous Vide Dash computing your desired initial temperature. Weight is a reasonable first guess for thermal mass. If you have 1 Kg of carrots at 5 C, you need 10 Kg of water at 93 C to average 85 C: You're solving X*10+5*1=85*11.

Where a calculation like this makes a lot of sense is with a totally passive method such as throwing a ziplock bag into a cooler filled with hot water, or with greater control, using something like the Zojirushi SN-XAE60XA Stainless Steel Thermal Vacuum Cooking Pot, 1-1/2-Gallon: http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/B004P489NM There one would want to also model heat loss during the cook. The cooler idea is entirely analogous to how people brine without a computation: Just use a huge quantity of brine, so the meat itself is insignificant, and the approximation given by ignoring it is reasonably accurate.

Of course, if you don't have a circulator, you could just swish the contents a few times at the start, like stirring a pot. For meats, sometimes we're cooking just below a protein transition we're trying to avoid, and a water bath overshoot is something to avoid. A poorly tuned PID controller will offer an overshoot on its own, without our help!

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The entirely parallel issue of brining meats is discussed at length in Paul Bertolli's Cooking by Hand. He guesses the water weight of the meat, and takes it into account in salting the brine, aiming for a target equilibrium salinity.

Just the water weight of the meat? The MC equlibrium brining uses the whole weight of the protein (without bones, naturally) IIRC. This makes more sense to me, as you want to achieve a certain salinity for the whole product, not just its water content?

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It's true that the water content is the part of the meat that will take the salt (and sugar and/or cure, where applicable), but if I know that I like bacon that's 2% salt when using the whole weight of the meat and weight of the water used in the brine to calculate an equilibrium brine, I don't need to unnecessarily complicate things by guesstimating the water weight of the meat.

Same deal applies to any meat, K.I.S.S.

I've been doing it that way for almost 20 years, it's always worked perfectly for me.

~Martin

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It doesn't hurt the meat to have it slightly higher than temperature until the pid sorts itself out. A few minutes is nothing compared to the effects of pre searing (or for that matter post searing) on the meat. I'm with Martin: let's keep this all simple.

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Just the water weight of the meat? The MC equlibrium brining uses the whole weight of the protein (without bones, naturally) IIRC.
when using the whole weight of the meat and weight of the water used in the brine to calculate an equilibrium brine

Well, if we're using a spreadsheet, then we're debating whether the coefficient of the meat should be 0, 1.0, 0.8, or whatever. These are all approximations. If one is also fairly consistent about the equipment, the ratio of brine to meat and so forth, then most of the remaining error gets compensated for by one's personal choice of target salinity.

On an ongoing basis, using 0.8 in one's spreadsheet is every bit as simple as using 1.0 as the meat multiplier, and 0.8 is a slightly better approximation. If one is already using 1.0 with good results, then it's K.I.S.S. to not think about it again. That doesn't imply that someone else should prefer 1.0 to 0.8, starting out. The effect is small, so pick some number, stick with it, and play to taste with one's target salinity, which matters a lot.

It doesn't hurt the meat to have it slightly higher than temperature until the pid sorts itself out. A few minutes is nothing compared to the effects of pre searing (or for that matter post searing) on the meat. I'm with Martin: let's keep this all simple.

When I overshoot just a little making crème anglaise, I get scrambled eggs.

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Well, if we're using a spreadsheet, then we're debating whether the coefficient of the meat should be 0, 1.0, 0.8, or whatever. These are all approximations. If one is also fairly consistent about the equipment, the ratio of brine to meat and so forth, then most of the remaining error gets compensated for by one's personal choice of target salinity.

On an ongoing basis, using 0.8 in one's spreadsheet is every bit as simple as using 1.0 as the meat multiplier, and 0.8 is a slightly better approximation. If one is already using 1.0 with good results, then it's K.I.S.S. to not think about it again. That doesn't imply that someone else should prefer 1.0 to 0.8, starting out. The effect is small, so pick some number, stick with it, and play to taste with one's target salinity, which matters a lot.

That will certainly work too.

I learned about equilibrium brining via the FSIS' 'Processing Inspectors' Calculations' Handbook many years ago.

They use the total weight of the meat to calculate the amount of cure, salt, etc. in one of their brining methods, so that's what I have always done.

If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.

"Method Two:

The second method assumes that the submerged meat, meat byproduct, or poultry and the

cover pickle act as a single system. Over time, the ingredients in the pickle, such as nitrite

and salt, migrate into the meat, meat byproduct, and poultry until levels in the tissue and in

the pickle are balanced. This system is actually very complex and dynamic, with

components in constant motion, but it will reach and maintain a state of equilibrium.

Therefore, the calculation for ingoing nitrite is based on the green weight of the meat

block, using the percent added as a relevant amount."

http://www.fsis.usda...ives/7620-3.pdf

Using total weights also makes it a cinch to use the meat curing calculator on my website for calculating an equilibrium brine.

http://www.diggingdo....com/page2.html

~Martin

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It doesn't hurt the meat to have it slightly higher than temperature until the pid sorts itself out. A few minutes is nothing compared to the effects of pre searing (or for that matter post searing) on the meat. I'm with Martin: let's keep this all simple.

When I overshoot just a little making crème anglaise, I get scrambled eggs.

Sometimes it helps to read the posts.

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Fellow eGullet members and sous vide enthusiasts…

During a conversation under the “Labels” topic that was started by Chris Hennes on July 10, 2010, I (from the USA) posted a question on November 25, 2012 about what labels or label printers would be a good fit for labeling bags for the sous vide technique, as my freezer was full of sous vide bags that had haphazard labeling, if there was any labeling at all. Check out the post for a chuckle if you'd like.

I also made a comment that I was thinking of writing a database to keep track of the bags in my freezer as well as my cooking attempts. Well someone from “down under” (BHSimon) posted a reply who was also very keen in the same thing, but doing it online so that other eGullet members could take advantage of it – and after a few PM’s and then emails, a plan was hatched to create a web-based tool that would do just that.

Over the past month and a half or so, BHSimon and Todd in Chicago have collaborated to create this web-based tool.

We have been working diligently on this program and are very proud of it and think this is a great way for us to give back to the eGullet community which has provided so much to both of us in terms of learning and conversing with our fellow sous vide enthusiasts. The site we are working on is now ready for pilot, and we are looking for 5 pilot users to “kick the tires” if you will, and see what falls out. As soon as the kinks are worked out, we would open registration for anyone who is interested.

I personally have been using this since it was first in some usable state, and it is PERFECT for me! BHSimon also shares the passion for the program and we are super excited about it.

If you are interested, please send an email to webmaster@modernistcookingdb.com and request to be added to the pilot list. At this point we are restricting registration to the first 5 users who would like to be in the pilot. Although we are mostly looking for “defects” in the current program, please provide any input or requests which you think would make the program useful. All requests will be evaluated for feasibility for future implementation. If you apply to pilot, you will receive within 48 hours an email back indicating that you are free to register.

We hope that you enjoy the program and find it as useful as we do!

Thanks, best wishes, and happy sous viding!

Todd in Chicago and BHSimon

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Sometimes it helps to read the posts.

Scrambled eggs and overcooked meat are both examples of irreversible protein damage. The effect of a temperature overshoot on meat can be subtle, while the effect of a temperature overshoot on eggs so dramatic that everyone notices it.

http://quoteinvestig...03/07/haggling/

Meat: What kind of protein do you think I am?

Egg: We’ve already established that. Now we’re just haggling over the price.

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Sometimes it helps to read the posts.

Scrambled eggs and overcooked meat are both examples of irreversible protein damage. The effect of a temperature overshoot on meat can be subtle, while the effect of a temperature overshoot on eggs so dramatic that everyone notices it.

http://quoteinvestig...03/07/haggling/

Meat: What kind of protein do you think I am?

Egg: We’ve already established that. Now we’re just haggling over the price.

Either not reading again or not understanding, I'm not sure which. My full point was that you either pre- sear or post- sear meat. There is nothing subtle in flaming the meat with a blow torch or pan. What sort of damage do you think that does to the proteins? Would a few degrees too high in the water at the beginning do more damage than this? Not in the physical universe I inhabit.

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Would a few degrees too high in the water at the beginning do more damage than this?

The original spirit of my remark was "something to watch out for." As in, consider this possibility if one is experiencing an unexpected anomaly using the proposed method. In any given cooking procedure, a few issues matter a lot, and most issues matter very little, and it is of utmost importance that the cook maintain perspective and apply intuition without getting lost in inconsequential details.

Nevertheless, I've taught the heat equation and I can dream in the curves involved. You know those bell-shaped curves one sees everywhere? One way to produce a bell-shaped curve is to heat up one spot on a rod really hot, then come back later and graph the temperature along the rod. If one made a movie, one would see a family of bell-shaped curves spreading out over time, as the heat along the rod equalized.

First, many people post-sear, in complete control of the aesthetic effect. If one pre-sears, that's an initial shock wave of heat that is reversed by the cold meat and/or chilling before using a chamber vacuum machine. Use a Thermapen or cut a cross-section and one sees that the part of this heat shock wave above one's target core temperature never gets very deep.

If one throws a thick pork chop into a well-insulated container (such as the Zojirushi) computing temperatures to balance at equilibrium, then near equilibrium one will see a beautifully smooth temperature curve that is too cold across the middle portion of the meat, and too warm across the outside portion of the meat. The temperature curve over time will look something like two people picking both ends of a rope up off the ground, holding the sagging rope between them, and pulling tight. Once the rope is off the ground, the middle part of the rope is always lower than the outside part of the rope. (Gravity is not heat, and the heat equation is itself only a model. One quirk of this model is its prediction that the core starts to react to the application of heat instantaneously, faster than the speed of light.)

Using the Sous Vide Dash application, one can ask to cook a 50mm pork chop to Medium (FDA Sugg.) 145 F, in a water bath held at 150 F. They call 150 F Medium Well. It takes two and a half hours for the core to reach 145 F, at which time the temperature curve smoothly rises from 145 F in the middle of the meat to 150 F at each surface. Roughly half of the meat is closer to Medium Well than Medium (something a restaurant client would notice) and has been at such temperatures a long time.

With the passive equilibrium approach the effect is less, but similar. The cook takes longer. Much of the meat will be too warm for much of the cook. Is this a crisis? Of course not. It's simply closer to the effect of a conventional cook. When one looks at cross-sections of two steaks, and tries to guess which one was cooked sous-vide and which one was cooked conventionally, one is identifying these curves.

The Sous Vide Dash application offered me a similar warning:

When cooking food with water of significantly higher temperature than the desired final food the surface will tend to be at or near the water temperature when the core reaches temperature. As a result, the food may not be uniformly done throughout. Near the surface it will be cooked to a greater degree of doneness than at the core. It will thus resemble the results of traditional cooking methods rather than having uniform edge to edge doneness characteristic of sous vide cooking.

Significantly is the key word here. However, in my initial remarks I discussed cooking as close as I could to the edge of a protein transition I wanted to avoid. I can't get as close with a bath warmer than my target temperature.

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Anyone have any experience cooking portabello mushrooms sous vide? Any suggestions for temperature, duration, and liquid?

I've seen a reference to a few hours at 105 in a raw food focused blog, but no real details. Thinking of whipping up a chicken and portabello dish for dinner tomorrow night.

Thanks in advance, all. A wealth of information here. FYI, my two sous vide rigs are an ICA SideKIC (a good option for <140 degree cooks but underpowered above that), and a homebrew setup that features an Igloo Ice Cube, in which I've used a soldering iron to melt channels for the requisite wires, with a 1000w bucket heater and an aquarium pump suspended on an aluminum bracket that clips into the ridges in the cooler, and a DorkFood DSV controller.

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      With Modernist Cuisine I waited a couple of years and ended up with a copy from the 6th printing run the advantage of this was that all errors picked up in the erratta had been corrected in the print copy.  I am looking to get modernist bread soon and wondered if someone had purchased it recently to check or if someone knew of hand if they have printed any additional corrected runs 
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