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Daniel Duane

Sous Vide Supreme vs. Supreme Demi?

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I've been experimenting with the new, smaller water bath model from Sous Vide Supreme. It's called the Sous-Vide Supreme Demi and it's just about half the size of the Sous Vide Supreme. Works the same--which is to say, in my limited experience, quite well. So here's my question: the Sous-Vide Supreme Demi is plenty big for a couple big steaks, even for the big sirloin tip roast I've got in there right now. Can anybody help me think through why I'd want the full-sized Sous Vide Supreme? I'm a home cook, not a pro; I do love dinner parties, but they rarely run to more than 8 or 10 people. Am I missing something?

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I have the SVS and am quite happy with it. I've never used is full capacity, but it seems to me that since it relies on convection for circulation one might want to have a hard-to-overfill unit. Is it wortth the $$? Not sure.

The only thing I don't like about the SVS it the counterspace it takes up. SVD might be a little better in this regard.

If I had to do it again, I think I'd get one of the new polyscience sous vide immersion units. Though pricey, they actively circulate and can be used in a regular old pot or bucket or whatever...and then stored in a drawer.

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Not sure if I can really claim the right to reply to this one - I'm a happy Sous Vide Magic owner - but there have been several mentions in the eG SV topics that more water = more stable temperature, particularly at the point where a large chunk of cold food is placed in the bath.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Thank you! Good thoughts both. I guess the space consideration is on my mind: the sous-vide supreme is pretty darn big, while the demi is far more manageable. But now I'm seeing the benefit of the extra water volume, vis-a-vis temperature stability.

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I was lucky enough to grab a demi last year when they ran the $199 special (red or white only). I love it and it is big enough for small dinner parties. I also figured that at $199, I could have bought 2 for less than the SVS and then been able to do varied temps along with bigger capacity. Alas, I only bought one, but I COULD have bought two.

An immersion circulator may be in my future as it does give the mos flexibilty in a convenient package, but I will wait until they are $400 instead of $800.

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....

An immersion circulator may be in my future as it does give the mos flexibilty in a convenient package, but I will wait until they are $400 instead of $800.

Why spend $800 for an IC? You can have the same accuracy and stability with the much cheaper SVM/FMM, see my last post in the old SV topic, with even more flexibility (stock-pot, rice-cooker, FMM's 18L polycarbonate container, beverage coolers of any size up to 100L, or even a bath tub), and an IC occupies much more space in the bath than the stem of an FMM. Remember that an IC measures the temperature within the IC itself in contrast to a PID-controller with the probe in the bath; so with an IC you do not know the actual temperature in the bath, you can just hope the temperature gradient from the IC to the surface of the bath will be small, or better check the temperature in different locations in your bath to rule out cold spots.

For the money you saved, you might want to get a calibrated high-precision thermometer to adjust your SV-rigs and document temperature stability.


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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I can't decide. I've been muddling through with bare bones equipment for the past few months. I finally sprang for a new vacuum sealer, but I can't decide it I want a circulator like the Polyscience one, or if I want a SVS or the SVD. Are there any less expensive circulators out there? I am not a tech person, so I can't build one. Suggestions?

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I can't decide. I've been muddling through with bare bones equipment for the past few months. I finally sprang for a new vacuum sealer, but I can't decide it I want a circulator like the Polyscience one, or if I want a SVS or the SVD. Are there any less expensive circulators out there? I am not a tech person, so I can't build one. Suggestions?

See my previous post upthread. SVM/FMM at $300 gives flexibility and temperature stability practically equal to SVP or other ICs; it's not as streamlined as a SVS, but more flexible. See also an article in the wikiGullet: a tall container makes vertical placement of even larger bags easier to prevent them from floating.


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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I've been experimenting with the new, smaller water bath model from Sous Vide Supreme. It's called the Sous-Vide Supreme Demi and it's just about half the size of the Sous Vide Supreme. Works the same--which is to say, in my limited experience, quite well. So here's my question: the Sous-Vide Supreme Demi is plenty big for a couple big steaks, even for the big sirloin tip roast I've got in there right now. Can anybody help me think through why I'd want the full-sized Sous Vide Supreme? I'm a home cook, not a pro; I do love dinner parties, but they rarely run to more than 8 or 10 people. Am I missing something?

I've run into the space limits on my Sous Vide Supreme several times. I can just barely fit 4 or 5 boneless ribeyes into it. Also, if you want to cook quantities of certain ingredients for freeze/reheat the extra size is nice. Other things you might want extra space for would be things like brisket or pulled pork. I also use mine to finish cooking smoked items like Polish Sausage.

In cases where I don't have enough space in the SVS I break out my roaster/PID/bubbler combination.


Larry Lofthouse

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I have the SVS and haven't used the Demi, so all I can offer are hypotheticals. But it seems the larger volume/mass of water would help keep the larger unit more thermally stable. Also, even though I generally am just cooking for one or two it's nice to be able do accommodate larger items like a hunk of prime rib or a pork loin. Baby back ribs also take up a bit of space and require a long time- with the larger machine you can add a steak during day two of a three day rib cook where you might not have room with the smaller one. Also it's nice to be able to fit an entire package of chicken breasts in there at once.

Another benefit of the larger unit is being able to reheat something cooked at a higher temp while cooking something at a lower one. Lets say you cooked the legs and thighs of a turkey at 155 F on Monday and chilled them, then cooked the breast at 140 on Tuesday. The legs and thighs can be reheated to 140 while you finish the breast. Very handy if you have the space.

Heck, there are times I wish my SVS was bigger!

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I have the Demi and love it. I was hesitant to go into SV cooking, did I really want to spend $1000 on cooking a steak by walking away from it, or should I maybe perfect my steak by hand cooking instead? (which I did :-)

Prices came down and once the $199 deal was offered I jumped on it. A smaller machine, nice to look at, all in one package. Easy fits on the counter and can sit there for a couple days w/o getting in the way. Light and easy to store in the pantry when I don't need it. I was a bit concerned about the smaller size, but so far I found it plenty big for my family of 4. I would not have had use for a larger unit so far. (parties are either a huge bowl of pasta or a roast in wet winter or something from the bbq/smoker, so cooking SV for a party is not an issue for me)

I have been completely convinced by the benefits of SV though, I can prep a piece of meat after lunch, drop it in the bath, and no matter when we come home from kid's errands or if my wife is a bit late from work, I can have a perfectly seared steak/chicken/pork on the plate in minutes! That's really the main advantage to me right now. No matter the kids running in circles around me, I'm prepping some side dish while the pan heats up, 30 sec on each side and a short rest on the cutting board is all I need for my meat.

Of course, that the meat turns out fantastic doesn't hurt either. I'm just editing two posts to my blog that will revive that sleeping dog, just have to add some photos. So, the demi would definitely be worth it's full price to me, it's my most used "gadget" next to the sealer. Them fluctuates about 1.5 degree F once you put something in, then pretty much stabilizes quickly and stays in the +/-1 degree range, I can't imagine the SVS is more accurate. Temp is measured with a probe along the inside wall. Just make sure to fill it as full as you can w/o making it run over once you add your food.

If I were concerned about size, thinking I need larger pots, I would follow Pedro's recommendation above, instead of getting the SVS. Largely for counter space and storage reasons, and the extra flexibility, you can practically cook SV in your sink with that setup. And it's cheaper than the SVS. I have a large kitchen, but not one of those show kitchens you find in newer houses, the Demi fits perfect and doesn't look out of place.

Once the kids get older and start eating two steaks at a time, I'll get the SVM or what ever might exist then. Same if I should decide I "need" two units, though that has not happened so far. With a bit of planning you can easily make several things ahead of time and then warm them up at dinner time.


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I've had the svs for about a year now and think it's excellent. I use it at caterings all the time.

Even did about 50 63* eggs at once one time. Worked great.

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Appreciated your comments, but could you say more about the Sous Vide Mini being more flexible, please? Is that added functionality? Thanks.

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Appreciated your comments, but could you say more about the Sous Vide Mini being more flexible, please? Is that added functionality? Thanks.

By "Sous Vide Mini" did you mean "SousVideMagic" (SVM) mentioned upthread?


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

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I thought I might put my two bits in about temperature stability. It is not correct to assume that a bigger amount of water will give you better stability. What you will see is a slower reaction time to putting in cold food. The important feature of any of these is the software running the controller and it's proper adjustment followed by a design that has no extra material between the heating element and the water and a reasonably sized heating element. If you have a slow response when the water cools, you might expect a slow recovery when it heats back up and thus more time out of your desired temperature range. If you have your own PID controller, you can use auto tune to get pretty good parameters but even that is not going to be your very best settings all the time. It is normal for an industrial process to tweek the settings for better performance. If you build your own setup, you want to select things that do not hold a lot of heat themselves. For instance, when I tried placing the big chafing dish I use on a large hot plate, the heat up time of the plate was so long (due to the mass of the metal slab built into the unit to make the temperature stable, like the big water bath idea) that by the time the water warmed up, the hot plate was so hot it overshot by 4 or 5 degrees. Same overshoot on cooling. Not an acceptable outcome. Controllers can be designed to deal with this with precision but they will not be the PID design that you can pick up easily. The software is not written to cope with the extra thermal effects.

I use a PID controller from Automation Direct at about $100 (I already had it) and a small pump. My heat source is a 150 watt lab heating pad that I put under a large stainless chafing dish and I control current with an SSR. I can hold temperatures within about .2 or .3 F with that using the autotune feature to set the PID parameters. I have not tried to tweek the PID settings to improve things as I am happy with what I got.

I have a second controller and thermocouple coming out of eBay for $32 that I will use for a second setup on a turkey roaster. I expect it to do the job just the same as the $100 unit. I used the $100 controller on a turkey roaster as a test and got results that were less effective control than my chafing dish setup after using the same auto tune process. The temperature fluctuated by about 2F up and down. The difference was probably the result of the size of the heating element and some thermal inertia inside the cooker that I could not see and probably the ease of heat loss of the unit. I expect to be able to tune out the wide swings but it is more fiddling.

I hope that helps put things in perspective. I am sure the Sous Vide Magic equipment is just fine and I assume they have good temperature control since they are designed for this task. Immersion heaters are probably just great but kind of spendy. If you DIY your setup, you need to put some effort into understanding the the proportional, integral and derivative settings on the controller but auto tune might do all you want. You also need to verify that the temperature read on your electronics matches the real temperature of the water. I use a good glass lab thermometer for that but you could just check 32F with an ice/water bath and 212F with boiling water (at sea level). If those look good, you are probably pretty well off.

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A larger volume will certainly drop less in temp when food is added. I'm not sure it that it will be any slower than a smaller volume's change.

Consider what would happen when two volumes of water of different temp are mixed. Will the speed of reaching the final temp differ depending on the relative size of the volumes? No. But the final temp will. There might be a difference in kinetics if a cool solid is added to hot water(Heat transfer is not intuitive for me) but the final temp will change less with the larger volume.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

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I like the large size of the SVS as can get a load of things in, esp if they take 72 hours and then chill to reheat later. But thinking. SVD would be great for doing fish/veg.

Must admit the SVS gets used more than the microwave does (just to defrost things or cook the cats fish these days)


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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I love my SVS and am glad I got the larger one, however, that said, after doing a fair amount of sous viding for my family (5), I ended up purchasing a Polyscience Professional Chef immersion circulator as well to add to my sous vide arsenal. That's not to say I still don't love my sous vide supreme, I do! Especially the fact that it is dead quiet! The Polyscience uses a powered circulator so it actually humms which is not loud, but constant and above background noise although you do get used to it. If you want to do food for a large party, the sous vide supreme is not large enough. If you pack it too full, it will not be able to hold the temp so you will hear it beep as it loses stability and then regains the temperature (it beeps when it reaches the desired temp). This is annoying so you end up re-arranging or removing bags to allow it to maintain the temperature. The Polyscience can be used in any container. I use it in either a large pot or a large 5 gallon food container which allows me to cook for a large party or cook a full turkey. In actuality, another reason I got the Polyscience in addition to the SVS is that I can not do two types of sous vide cooking in parallel, like vegetable and meat. This is very desirable if you're committed to sous vide on a regular basis.


Artie

Silicon Valley Sous Vide Home Chef

The Art and Presentation of Sous Vide

www.siliconvalleysousvide.shutterfly.com

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The demi has disappeared from the product web site (at least from the european version, there must be some cookie at my computer that prevents me accessing the US version), anyone knows whether they might have ran out of stock temporarily or there is some other reason?

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For instance, when I tried placing the big chafing dish I use on a large hot plate, the heat up time of the plate was so long (due to the mass of the metal slab built into the unit to make the temperature stable, like the big water bath idea) that by the time the water warmed up, the hot plate was so hot it overshot by 4 or 5 degrees. Same overshoot on cooling.

Were using any kind of active circulation or just depending on convection?


Edited by sreeb (log)

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I love my SVS and am glad I got the larger one, however, that said, after doing a fair amount of sous viding for my family (5), I ended up purchasing a Polyscience Professional Chef immersion circulator as well to add to my sous vide arsenal. That's not to say I still don't love my sous vide supreme, I do! Especially the fact that it is dead quiet! The Polyscience uses a powered circulator so it actually humms which is not loud, but constant and above background noise although you do get used to it. If you want to do food for a large party, the sous vide supreme is not large enough. If you pack it too full, it will not be able to hold the temp so you will hear it beep as it loses stability and then regains the temperature (it beeps when it reaches the desired temp). This is annoying so you end up re-arranging or removing bags to allow it to maintain the temperature. The Polyscience can be used in any container. I use it in either a large pot or a large 5 gallon food container which allows me to cook for a large party or cook a full turkey. In actuality, another reason I got the Polyscience in addition to the SVS is that I can not do two types of sous vide cooking in parallel, like vegetable and meat. This is very desirable if you're committed to sous vide on a regular basis.

I'm going through the same thing actually. I started with a sous vide supreme, but I feel my ambitions are quickly outgrowing the unit. Im planning on moving towards a svm/fmm + icechest setup before thanksgiving.

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OK,

Is this thing suposed to every time is drops 8 degrees, then beap once it get back to target temp? It is driving me nuts, like every 20 minutes...


Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

My eGullet Foodblog

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OK,

Is this thing suposed to every time is drops 8 degrees, then beap once it get back to target temp? It is driving me nuts, like every 20 minutes...

Hi Scott,

Mine has done that in the past and I discovered it was because the arangement of bags was blocking too many of the holes in the base pan. Rearranging the bags solved the problem. I was recently able to do 10 bags of chicken thighs (two per bag) and it worked fine - but I took care to leave some vertical "channels" so the water could flow.

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Well dangit, I had one bag of chicken floating exactly half way horizontally in the unit. Nothing was blocked at all. I used it for prep all day today and I would estimate it beeped at me a good 40 times.

Me thinks something is wrong.


Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

My eGullet Foodblog

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I also had this happen once with a single bag. The excess bag material was causing the same blocking effect even though it was not actually blocking the holes directly (like yours it was in the middle). Tucking the "flaps" into the rack fixed it.

Here's what SVS has to say: http://www.sousvidesupreme.com/en-us/productsupport.htm

Since I have learned to leave some vertical water channels, especially at the edges, I have not had the problem again.

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