Jump to content
Forums offline 11pm CDT tonight, 3/23/2019 Read more... ×
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

francois

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 2)

Recommended Posts

A couple more practical questions I have for the more experienced folks on this thread, mostly dealing with using immersion circulators:

1) I've been using a hotel pan that's about 6" deep for my cooking vessel: with my immersion circulator, that means that the bottom of the heating element is resting on the bottom of the pan. I'm wondering if maybe that's not such a good idea? I do have a large 16-qt stockpot that would be taller, but when I tried clamping the 10+ lb circulator to the wall of stockpot, it felt like either the stockpot wall or the clamp was about to give. Just curious how others are mounting their circulators.

2) I'm also getting a lot of noise and vibration from the circulator- I'm wondering if that's not partly due to the fact it's resting on the floor of my pan. I did buy my circulator used, and I have no idea how much noise it's supposed to generate. How loud are other people's units?

3) I have pretty hard water in my area, and I'm getting some serious lime scale issues when I try for longer cooking times. I'm using a citric acid solution to descale, similar to what you'd do for a coffee machine, but it got me thinking: could I just regularly add some citric acid to my water bath liquid while cooking, to make it lightly acidic and prevent scale buildup? In theory, it shouldn't affect the food. I'll probably give it a try, but I'm curious what experiences others have had.

Overall, I'm having fun experimenting. Slow-cooked eggs are a simple and gratifying success. I've done boneless chicken breast a couple of times, and the flavor is distinctive, though not radically so. I did a pork belly for about 48 hours, and then finished it off by roasting at low heat for another few hours, a la Shola from StudioKitchen: good, but I think perhaps I would have been better off with just a quick sear or broil. I tried to poach some Bosc pears with some lavender honey and nothing else: I don't think I got the temps or timing quite right, and the texture wasn't as soft as I was looking for (though the flavor was yummy). I'm going to try it again at a higher temp, coring the pear, and perhaps adding a little bit of liquid (tea? mulled wine?)

-a


Edited by alwang (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use heavy duty stainless stockpots with my circulator - from 14 to 23 quarts depending on quantity and have never had a problem The citric acid might affect the bags when you are cooking for 24 hours or more but I have had no experience with that as I have no serious scaling. It is fun to experiment - total failures are rare but, yes, sometimes the results are less than perfect.

I tried veal shanks and was unhappy with the result. Duck confit did well from the point of view of texture and flavor but far too much fat remained under the skin. On the other hand chicken or any poultry breast are supeior cooked sous vide (and then seared) and there is nothing better than a steak brought to 120° sous vide and then quickly seared on a hot grill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2) I'm also getting a lot of noise and vibration from the circulator- I'm wondering if that's not partly due to the fact it's resting on the floor of my pan.  I did buy my circulator used, and I have no idea how much noise it's supposed to generate.  How loud are other people's units?

This varies a lot depending on the model. I have some that are very quiet (VWR, Lauda), and some that are medium (Fisher) and some that are noisy (Cole Parmer). However even within those brands it varies a lot. The noise comes from the pump motor. Water baths without a pump are totally silent, but you miss the benefit of the circulation which keeps the temperature even.

3) I have pretty hard water in my area, and I'm getting some serious lime scale issues when I try for longer cooking times.  I'm using a citric acid solution to descale, similar to what you'd do for a coffee machine, but it got me thinking: could I just regularly add some citric acid to my water bath liquid while cooking, to make it lightly acidic and prevent scale buildup?  In theory, it shouldn't affect the food.  I'll probably give it a try, but I'm curious what experiences others have had.

This should work just fine. Having the water slightly acidic will not hurt the water bath, nor will it affect the bags.

However, you might be better off getting a water filter and filtering your water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2) I'm also getting a lot of noise and vibration from the circulator- I'm wondering if that's not partly due to the fact it's resting on the floor of my pan.

Check to see if the circulator pump drive shaft protrudes from the bottom of the housing. It may be spinning on the bottom of your steam pan and that will be noisy.

If this turns out to be the problem you can probably extend the height of the end-wall of the pan with a piece of appropriate material and a C-clamp. A chunk cut from a polyethylene cutting board or a Corian sink cutout should work, and a piece of 1/2" plywood would be a temporary approximation. Just enough height to get the circulator off the bottom of the pan.

Cheers,

Doc


Edited by DocDougherty (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to everyone for the replies. I think I probably do need to find some way to get the circulator off of the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, I'm starting to get used to falling asleep to the high-pitched buzzing emanating from my kitchen. :)

However, you might be better off getting a water filter and filtering your water.

You know, I tried getting one of those Brita on-faucet filters, only to read afterwards that only the Brita pitchers remove calcium and magnesium ions; the on-faucet filters do nothing for water softening. Oh well. A Brita pitcher would take forever to fill my pan, and a full water softening system is a little more than I'm willing to spring for right now.

-a

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi guys I know this has probably been dicussed already- but what is a safe time/ temperature for chicken breasts? I have tried one hour at 64 degrees C, following a previous trudge through nine pages of posts, one that I did see said; 51 mins @ 58.5 degrees C or something to that effect.....

but the meat still looks pinkly juicy. I think that it looks fine, but maybe customers would object to any pinkness in chicken breasts. I worry about clostridium, as I am making a cook chill product (for a product development module for college.... I am not a danger to public health). I have tried doing low temp ie 60 degrees C/ 1 Hour, followed by a 'botulinum cook' or 1 min at 90 degrees C, there is a noticable difference in texture, however.

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are tables and FDA recommended times elsewhere in the post. 60C for about 1.5 hours to 2 hours should be OK, and is accepted in some FDA documents posted elsewhere in the thread.

Not all health inspectors know this - they are very poorly informed about the reality of food safety.

Your "botulinum cook" step does absolutely nothing for food safety, especially not against Clostridium botulinum or botulism. This explained elsewhere in the thread.

If you eat the chicken breast without storing it in vacuum there is NO threat of botulism.

If you store the chicken breast in a vacuum bag at low temperature (34F/1C) then FDA says you can keep it a week with no botulism threat. Botulism is a threat if you either store for longer than that, or store warmer than that. There is an FDA time table for other temperatures.

So, in most cases for sous vide botulism is not a concern. BUT, you should know that if there is a concern, your "botulinum cook" is not sufficient. 1 min at 90C is NOWHERE NEAR enough to kill the spores.

Whether your customers like the color, taste and texture is a different issue from food safety. Many people are used to overcooked chicken!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hi guys I know this has probably been dicussed already- but what is a safe time/ temperature for chicken breasts? I have tried one hour at 64 degrees C, following a previous trudge through nine pages of posts,  one that I did see said; 51 mins @ 58.5 degrees C or something to that effect.....

but the meat still looks pinkly juicy. I think that it looks fine, but maybe customers would object to any pinkness in chicken breasts. I worry about clostridium, as I am making a cook chill product (for a product development module for college.... I am not a danger to public health). I have tried doing low temp ie 60 degrees C/ 1 Hour, followed by a 'botulinum cook' or 1 min at 90 degrees C, there is a noticable difference in texture, however.

Thanks.

Nathan is a minimalist when it comes to temperature. And he probably thinks I am overcooking them, but 153°F for 1.5 hr has proven to produce tender, juicy, non-pink chicken breasts. Turkey breasts seem to need 2 hr.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
followed by a 'botulinum cook' or 1 min at 90 degrees C, there is a noticable difference in texture, however.

Thanks.

You probably were thinking about a salmonela cook? Salmonela is the probelm with undercooked chicken (salmonela is destroyed in under 1 sec at around 70C). However, since meat's thermal conductivity is so low, a 1 min at 90C will only solve the problem for the outer layer of the meat (i.e. completely uneficient). You would be better off just searing the meat at that point : same (probaly useless) microbial destruction results, better flavor.

Anyways, read trought this thread, you will get all the answers you need and much more. Very much worth it!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice guys... this is in the very early stages of product development; its very much a teach yourself sous vide through trial and error. The product is a sort of ready meal, so it needs to be stored chilled; thats why i was trying to get rid of the botulism spores, anyway, I will try the times and temps you suggest and see how that works out.

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone. I have a question regarding seasoning items for sous vide cooking. I am planning on cooking small boneless leg-of-lamb roasts based on the time and temperature charts posted in this topic. For leg of lamb I typically use a rosemary-thyme-garlic-lemon-olive oil paste and roast, but I'm worried that such a paste would be overpowering using sous vide. Any guidelines for general seasoning or lamb specifically?

Also, if anyone has any experience with boneless leg-of-lamb and sous vide, your comments would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would go lighter than normal with the garlic, but I've used all of those flavorings regularly with great success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually bone out a leg of lamb and separate it into individual muscle groups. For the most part, I keep the shank as a shank and pull out three to four muscles for poaching. After prepping the muscles, I sear them in oil, and finish with butter, garlic, and herbs. Quickly chill the meats, and when cold to the core, I package them in bags with extra virgin, szechuan peppercorns, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. I use a rondeau and an induction burner to regulate the temperature to 64 C for 55 minutes. This achieves a medium rare. We ice the leg muscles and regenerate them at service time in a pot of water that is monitored to be around 60 C.

Shanks are different, and I believe Ruth has posted a few comments and recipes about her work with them.

There is mention a few times about time and temperatures for eggs, but I've been unable to find any posts that refer to egg cookery. Could someone point me to the right page?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made a bottom round roast, which i was going to use as roast beef to make sandwiches. Well i learned that you CAN cook something too long. It was nice and pink (cooked at 127), but i cooked it for about 16 hours. The flavor was good, the texture was too much like processed meat. It had no chew to it anymore.

just an FYI

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Phil from the Bacchus posted the link to the first of a series of instructional videos which will encompass sous-vide recipes, techniques and info on equipment as well as other modernist cuisine techniques. I found it ver interesting, so thought I would share it!

http://bacchus-restaurant.co.uk/tutorials/lang.html

Moderator's note: broken link -- CA


Edited by Chris Amirault (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Folks - a couple of questions on steak cooking a la sous vide that I'd like your opinion on. The meat cut I am experimenting with is called Sirloin (in the UK). It is tasty and not as tender as Fillet. There are nice striations of interior fat.

1. I pack the steaks into the bags and freeze them. Would it be safe to take the steaks direct from the freezer and drop straight into the water bath without defrosting beforehand?

2. I am currently cooking (thawed) steaks for 1.5 hours at 55C. They are 30mm thick. I then sear them over a red hot pan. They come out nice but not as tender as one might hope for sous vide. How long would you cook them for?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2. I am currently cooking (thawed) steaks for 1.5 hours at 55C. They are 30mm thick. I then sear them over a red hot pan. They come out nice but not as tender as one might hope for sous vide. How long would you cook them for?

Well, I've gone as long as 8 hours on a NY Strip which I'm guessing is the same cut. If you over do it, they can get too tender, but 8 hours is well within limits, but I would consider that an extreme for a Strip steak. Give it a try once, and see if the results are to your family's liking. This way, you'll have two extremes and will be able to fine tune the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I usually do around four hours for strip steaks. I think eight is pushing it, but probably fine.

I've been doing a lot of experimentation with duck breast cooked sous vide, with the skin. So far, I'm really liking long cooks of 6-12 hours at 53-54C because the texture is really unique and quite pleasant. This isn't a replacement for a more typical pan roast, but an interest application.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure how best to render out the fat. I'm a big time stickler for perfectly executed duck breast and can't stand a layer of chew fat and skin. I've usually refrained from cooking duck with the skin sous vide because of this concern. Now, however, I've found the the long cook, while not explicitly rendering out as much fat as I would like, does make the skin/fat entity much more tender such that a few minutes in the pan to crisp up the outer skin is sufficient in creating a tasty, not-chewy final product. Aesthetically, a wider-than-I'd-like fat band remains where one wouldn't exist via a more traditional cooking method.

This sufficient result, however, is not exactly what I'm looking for. I want a duck breast that has the texture of a long cook with thin, crisp skin. I've found that going straight from bath to pan leads to overcooking by the time enough fat has rendered out. If I chill the breasts out of the bag then cook on the stove--probably the best compromise thus far--the overall rendering process seems to take longer (than if I was cooking in a pan from the raw state).

Anyone have any ideas for a minimum water temp that will allow for more rendering during the bathing process while still maintaining med-rare, med meat? Other suggestions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you opposed to rendering some before putting it into the bag? I've had some success getting thin, crispy skin by scoring it, then putting it over med-low heat (watch and adjust so it doesn't burn) and rendering it until the skin is a tiny bit thicker than you want it to end at. Then I put it in the bag with some of the rendered fat, let the water bath do its thing, and then kiss it off on a hot pan or with a torch to finish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the logical next step that I haven't tried yet. I'm generally not a big fan of the brown before and after technique, but for duck breast it seems to be worth the extra effort. I also figure it's worth getting the breasts really cold before the first pan treatment.

And yes, I do score heavily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i've heard of putting partially cooked lobster tails, and clarfied butter in a vaccum packed back, and finish cooking in poaching water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Skin the duck breast and cook the skin (cure it a bit in salt and then render the fat). The two parts can be reunited on the plate--crispy skin and tender duck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry there seems to be a degree of cross-posting here. I guess it's because this is the one Sous Vide here you are guaranteed to get some stellar quality answers!

Unconundrum, Bryanz - thanks for your help. I think you're right - somewhere between the one hour and eight hours lies the answer. I am going to try 4 at the weekend.

Can anyone weigh in on the safety of dropping the vacumm packed steaks straight from the freezer into the water bath? I would love to be able to do this as I often forget to remove the steaks for defrosting but am not sure if doing this would pose safety risks e.g. by allowing the steaks to be in the danger zone for too long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it should be fine. You're already in the "danger zone" (40-140) if you cook the steak rare (125), but it is there long enough to sterilize, as i understand it.

Hopefully nathanm can weigh in

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By lindaj1
      Is there any recipe from the modernist universe or any other galaxy to make ketogenic (low carb) puff pastry and strudel type doughs?  Unusual ingredients OK.  There must be a way...
    • By haresfur
      I got to thinking after the disgusting job of separating globs of fat from sous vide short ribs and debating never doing them that way again. If the fat renders out in a braise, but not in the sous vide, what temperature would you need to turn the fat liquid to get rid of it? Is it below well-done or do you really have to cook the shit out of it? Is it just temperature or a time&temperature thing?
       
      Along those lines, what happens with marbled, tender cuts? where is the sweet spot between solid fat and something more palatable?
    • By Daily Gullet Staff
      By John Sconzo

      The Daily Gullet is proud to present this, the first in a multi-part, front-row report on the recent "Spain and the World Table" conference. Watch for subsequent installments in this topic.

      In his introduction of Ferran Adria, Thomas Keller -- perhaps the most celebrated American chef ever -- described four elements that go into making a great chef. The chef must be aware. Once aware of one’s culinary and other surroundings that chef can then be inspired, which leads to the ability to interpret those surroundings. But a great chef does not stop there. Instead, the great chef continues to evolve. Ferran Adria, perhaps more than any other chef who has ever lived, is the embodiment of those four elements.

      The moment that Ferran Adria strode towards Thomas Keller on the stage at the CIA/Greystone’s World of Flavors’ “Spain and the World Table” Conference was electric -- as if a giant Van de Graf generator had been turned on. The feeling didn’t subside when Adria took the stage from Keller; it only became more pronounced as the packed crowd rose to its feet, raining applause, admiration and love on the Spanish master. Adria accepted the response with aplomb, and gave it right back to the audience -- and to his fellow Spanish cocineros, who were standing off to the side. He brought each one up to join him on the stage for a rousing thank-you to the conference organizers, sponsors and participants. Once this emotional release subsided, Adria got down to what everyone had been waiting for -- his discussion and demonstration.

      Ferran Adria, with eyes sparkling like the finest cava, began speaking Spanish in a voice as gravelly as the beaches of the Costa Brava, while Conference Chairman Jose Andres translated. The crowd, hushed and straining for every word, moved forward in their seats as Adria explained El Bulli and himself, with a lesson in recent culinary history thrown in. Ferran explained that El Bulli is not a business. While offshoots of El Bulli are operated on a for-profit basis, the restaurant runs without profit as a primary motivation. For example, he said, the greatest difficulty they have is distributing reservations. Given the extraordinary demand and the severely limited supply, he explained that they could simply raise the price of a meal to the point where the supply and demand met. Indeed, the price of a meal at El Bulli is in itself quite reasonable given the stature of the restaurant and well within means of most motivated diners should they be able to get there, and this is how Adria prefers it. He stated that he was not interested in cooking solely for those with the most money. He prefers to work for people with a true interest in exploring the limits of cooking with him. To this end he showed a short film depicting “A Day in the Life . . .” of El Bulli set to the Beatles’ song of the same name. The film showed a couple’s response to the experience.

      Ferran’s voyage into creativity began with a visit to Jacques Maxima at Le Chanticleer Restaurant in Nice, France. He learned from Maxima that to be creative is not to copy. This idea changed his entire approach to cooking -- from making classic cuisine to making his own. Aware of elaborate books of French cuisine, Adria resolved to catalogue his work, the results of which are the richly detailed El Bulli books, published by period. These books, as wonderful as they are, are huge and extremely expensive. During his presentation, Adria announced -- and demonstrated -- that the individual dishes photographed and described in a chronology within each book are all now available online at elbulli.com.

      He finished the philosophical discussion by talking about the general style of haute cuisine that he and others are engaged in. While others have coined the term “molecular gastronomy” to highlight the scientific component of the creativity involved, Adria rejected it, saying that all cooking is molecular: most of his techniques are in fact rather simple and don’t employ radical new technology. Most of the technology that they do use has been around for some time; they have simply adapted it to their own purposes. Nevertheless, he applauds contributions to gastronomy from Harold McGee and other food scientists, and welcomes their collaboration in the kitchen. He has yet to find a term that describes the movement: as of now, he feels that there really is no good name for this style of cooking.

      More than any other single thing, Ferran Adria is known for the use of “foams” in cooking. While he is proud of his achievements with foams, he stressed that while appropriate in some circumstances, the real utility of foams is limited. He bemoans their ubiquity -- and wishes to not be blamed for others’ poor deployment of the concept. In the course of describing this and other techniques, Adria made a point of stating that using them should not be inferred as copying. Techniques and concepts are to be used and shared. He invited everyone to learn and harness whatever they found interesting, and to employ it in to their own pursuits.

      Another set of techniques discussed and demonstrated by the master and his assistant, Rafa Morales from Hacienda Benazuza, included three types of spherification. These included the use of calcium chloride (CaCl) and sodium alginate as well as the converse, and exploration of a new agent, gluconodeltalactone. The original combinations of alginate into CaCl for “caviar” production, and CaCl into alginate for larger “spheres” have chemistry-related limits as to what can be sphericized. In private correspondence, Harold McGee explained to me that Adria described encapsulating a mussel in its own juice. While this would make the dish technically an aspic, unlike conventional aspics it remains a liquid. Adria said that though gluconodeltalactone is very new, and they are just beginning to get a handle on it, he is very excited by it. He also demonstrated a machine for spherification on a larger scale than they had originally been able to do, as well as liquid nitrogen and freeze-drying (lyophilization) techniques. At the conclusion of his demonstration -- and thus the Conference -- the audience once again awarded him a standing ovation.

      While Adria’s appearance was the culmination of the conference, the energy it produced was not just because of his stature in the world of gastronomy -- it was also due to the excitement generated by the conference that preceded it. If there had previously been any doubt, Thomas Keller’s welcome of Adria was a clarion: Spanish cuisine has landed on North American shores and is finding a niche in the North American psyche. Spanish cuisine -- in its multifaceted, delicious entirety -- lives here, too.

      + + + + +

      John M. Sconzo, M.D., aka docsconz, is an anesthesiologist practicing in upstate New York. He grew up in Brooklyn in an Italian-American home, in which food was an important component of family life. It still is. His passions include good food, wine and travel. John's gastronomic interests in upstate northeastern New York involve finding top-notch local producers of ingredients and those who use them well. A dedicated amateur, John has no plans to ditch his current career for one in the food industry. Host, New York.
    • By docsconz
      About Jose Andres
       
      Throughout his career, Jose’s vision and imaginative creations have drawn the praise of the public, the press and his peers. José has received awards and recognition from Food Arts, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, the James Beard Foundation, Wine Spectator, and Wine Advocate. In addition, José has been featured in leading food magazines such as Gourmet as well as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Good Morning America, Fox Sunday Morning News with Chris Wallace, the Food Network, and USA Today.
       
      Widely acknowledged as the premiere Spanish chef cooking in America, José is a developer and Conference Chairman for the upcoming Worlds of Flavor Conference on Spain and the World Table at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, November 2 – 5, 2006.
       
      In 1993, Jose moved to Washington, DC, to head the kitchen at Jaleo. From there, Jose took on executive chef responsibilities at neighboring Café Atlantico and later Zaytinya. In July of 2003, Jose embarked on his most adventurous project to date with the opening of the minibar by jose andres at Cafe Atlantico. A six-seat restaurant within a restaurant, minibar by jose andres continues to attract international attention with its innovative tasting menu. In the fall of 2004, Jose opened a third Jaleo and Oyamel, an authentic Mexican small plates restaurant and launched the THINKfoodTANK, an institution devoted to the research and development of ideas about food, all with a view toward their practical applications in the kitchen.
       
      Every week, millions of Spaniards invite Jose into their home where he is the host and producer of “Vamos a cocinar”, a food program on Television Española (TVE), Spanish national television. The program airs in the United States and Latin America on TVE Internacional.
       
      Jose released his first cookbook this year, first published in English, Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America (published in the United States by Clarkson Potter) and shortly after in Spanish, Los fogones de José Andrés (published by Planeta). The book is an homage to Spanish cooking and to tapas, one of Spain's gifts to the world of good cooking.
       
      Jose Andres is passionate, intelligent, dedicated, witty and a fan of FC Barcelona.
       
      Jose has been a member of the eGullet Society since 2004.
       
      More on Jose Andres in the eG Forums:
      Cooking with "Tapas" by Jose Andres
      Vamos a Cocinar - cooking show with Jose Andres
      Jaleo
      José Andrés' Minibar
      Zaytinya
      Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Crystal City
      Cafe Atlantico
       
      Jose Andres recipes from Tapas in RecipeGullet:
      Potatoes Rioja-Style with Chorizo (Patatas a la Riojana)
      Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew
      Squid with Caramelized Onions
    • By gibbs
      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 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×