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francois

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

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I find that there's a line that needs to be experimented with based on the thickness of what you're cooking. As has been discussed a tender piece of relatively thin meat might only need less than an hour in the bath. With that said, you're probably best off somewhere between the 2-6 hour range. If you're cooking a duck breast for 12 hours or more the texture might become very strange.

Generally I find that if you go by your "gut" you can't go wrong with sous vide. A duck breast doesn't need ridiculous amounts of cooking so why do it?

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You can search in the thread using the box a the lower left. I found one Post discussing the use of the wrap, but there may be more with different search terms.


Edited by pounce (log)

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Dear all,

I assume that not all of you are using the same sous vide/cryovac machines, so I would like to hear our experiences with the various models that a non-restaurant owner might be able to afford. Which are the most affordable and powerful?

Thanks for the tips.

Alan

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As far as I know the best is still the Tilia Foodsaver. I have been using their top of the line machine for years and find it indispensible not only for cooking sous vide but for vacuum packing foods for the refrigerator and freezer. They have a variety of models and I believe that the top of the line sells for about $275.00, I know that some restaurants use them too

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I just received the Lauda immersion heater-agitator that I bought on eBay. It seems to work fine, but, of course, it came without any directions. There are dials on the face of it. One is a temperature setting and another has the numbers 40, 80 and 120 on it. Any idea what this is indicating? Thanks.

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Dear all,

I assume that not all of you are using the same sous vide/cryovac machines, so I would like to hear our experiences with the various models that a non-restaurant owner might be able to afford.  Which are the most affordable and powerful?

Thanks for the tips.

Alan

After a lot of research I found the FoodSaver v1205 to be the best of home cooks. It's much cheaper than their other models but still has extended vacuum and instant seal features. To me, this was the best of all worlds (price and features).

I just received the Lauda immersion heater-agitator that I bought on eBay.  It seems to work fine, but, of course, it came without any directions.  There are dials on the face of it.  One is a temperature setting and another has the numbers 40, 80 and 120 on it.  Any idea what this is indicating?  Thanks.

Look online to see if you can find a pdf for a manual. Others have had the same problem and have figured it out.

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Has anyone experimented with the Glad Press n' Seal Wrap?

I've used it successfully for cooking chicken breast. The trick to using it is to have a minimum amount of liquid or to freeze the liquids first because once you get the sealing surface wet, you cannot get a good seal and there will be too much air inside the pouch.

In this thread here, Chef David Hawksworth describes using Glad Press n Seal to cook fish sous vide.

Alex

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After a lot of research I found the FoodSaver v1205 to be the best of home cooks.  It's much cheaper than their other models but still has extended vacuum and instant seal features.  To me, this was the best of all worlds (price and features).

Dear Bryan,

I am looking at the various Foodsaver models and like the V1505 for its ability to store the bag rolls within it. However, it doesn't have the extended vacuum, but something called the "pulse feature" instead. It seems that this pulse feature could be used for the same vacuum extending. Do you know anything about this? Here is the user guide:

http://www.jardendirect.com/PDFs/QS.1505_G...%20T18-0096.pdf

Pulse mode is explained under "Additional Features."

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Alan


Edited by A Patric (log)

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A circulating water bath is sort of like a jacuzzi in that water is constantly taken out and the recirculated back in. This is also reminiscent of a fishtank water filter.

This got me thinking, I wonder if it would be possible to make a cheap circulating water bath with a 5 gallon aquarium, two (or three) submergable water heaters, an aquarium thermometer, and a water circulating filter. By my estimates we are talking about $50-75 for all of this, which seems to me to be much cheaper than any water baths that anyone is looking at. Actually I have only seen prices for one bath, and it was $450, far more than I would be willing to pay.

Any thoughts? Also, has anyone tried a Rival crock pot with the lid off to see what kind of temperatures it runs?

Alan

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I doubt you could bet the water heaters to reach a hot enough temp.

I think it would have to be a heater without a thermostat, simply with numeric heat settings, perhaps 1-10, or something like that. I don't know if many exist like this, but basically, I would think that the highest heat setting on these would be pretty high so as to be able to heat a large--relatively speaking--body of water to the right temperature. My thought was that adding a few of these together could achieve the right temperature. I may be wrong though. At any rate, there should be some alternate source of (submersible) heat that would work, I just have to figure out what that might be. It seems to me that there must be something out there.

Alan


Edited by A Patric (log)

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This got me thinking, I wonder if it would be possible to make a cheap circulating water bath with a 5 gallon aquarium, two (or three) submergable water heaters, an aquarium thermometer, and a water circulating filter.  By my estimates we are talking about $50-75 for all of this, which seems to me to be much cheaper than any water baths that anyone is looking at.  Actually I have only seen prices for one bath, and it was $450, far more than I would be willing to pay.

Any thoughts?  Also, has anyone tried a Rival crock pot with the lid off to see what kind of temperatures it runs?

Alan

There is some discussion on making a cheap waterbath in the Is Sous Vide real cooking? thread.

Fish tank heaters will not get hot enough. Really. They don't need to get too hot and it's good that they don't or your fish would be at risk. Crock pot temps vary and fluctuate. What you use really depends on how fussy you are and what you are trying to attempt. If you really want to play around with Sous Vide I'd recommend that you look at a used waterbath on ebay. I've bought a few for around $100 - $200.


Edited by pounce (log)

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Alan, a termostat will kick off on temperature, regardless of the volume of water involved. If it reaches the temp, it will turn off. I serioulsy doubt any aquarium heater could reach the needed temperatures.... the fish would cook....

I bought a circulating waterbath on ebay for $100.... you've gotta just keep watching. BTW, I bought an under the bar ice chest on which I mounted my lauda... the insulated sides help with the fuel charges. I then cut out a piece of styrofoam as a lid....

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I currently have a Lauda thermal circulator which I am not happy with and am planning on upgrading to a Polyscience Model anyone know the plus and minus of a thermal bath as opposed to the circulator units?

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Initially I was looking at that exact site, MX Hassett, but the prices were simply too high for something that was even going to be used all the time. I am inclined to prefer a noncirculating thermal bath, as they're least likely to breakdown. The accuracy may not be as precise (as +/- 1 degree as opposed to 0.1 degrees), but when I was researching circulators vs. noncirculating baths the simplicity of the bath seemed to win out.

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After a lot of research I found the FoodSaver v1205 to be the best of home cooks.  It's much cheaper than their other models but still has extended vacuum and instant seal features.  To me, this was the best of all worlds (price and features).

Dear Bryan,

I am looking at the various Foodsaver models and like the V1505 for its ability to store the bag rolls within it. However, it doesn't have the extended vacuum, but something called the "pulse feature" instead. It seems that this pulse feature could be used for the same vacuum extending. Do you know anything about this? Here is the user guide:

http://www.jardendirect.com/PDFs/QS.1505_G...%20T18-0096.pdf

Pulse mode is explained under "Additional Features."

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Alan

This 1505 looks pretty good. Likely more expensive than my 1205, but, as I mentioned just above, I was trying to save some money because I was buying a used water bath of unknown functionality on eBay and would only be experimenting for a few weeks before I had to go back to school. Anyway, if I really like this pulse feature. I hadn't seen it on the other units, and it simply seems like a useful feature. Having that control will, to a certain extent, be helpful.

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Sous Vide Ribs - the baby back pork ribs were cooked sous vide with dry rub and finished in the oven. The meat was very tender, but was not falling off the bone and although I had added a bit of liquid smoke before sealing it, it lacked the smoky flavor of BBQ. I would recommend giving this a shot.

gallery_21049_162_50409.jpg

gallery_21049_162_39299.jpg

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I just made some baby back rib carnitas a few days ago. I did it the more traditional way of cooking them in lard at a low heat at just under an hour and then browned them in the same fat at a higher heat. They were excellent! It took me about 3 lbs of lard for the 3 lbs of ribs. I really look forward to using the sous vide method to cook the carnitas to a tender state using a lot less fat, after which I will brown them in a pan. I think that they will be extremely tender and flavorful. I think that instead of doing a really slow cook though, that I will boil them for about 50 minutes or until tender. So, in this case, it is not the long cooking of sous vide that will be the benefit, but rather the fact that all those tasty juices will not be able to escape the meat. I'll keep everyone posted on the results. I get my Foodsaver via UPS on Wednesday.

Alan

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I currently have a Lauda thermal circulator which I am not happy with and am planning on upgrading to a Polyscience Model anyone know the plus and minus of a thermal bath as opposed to the circulator units?

The circulating models are much more efficient. The moving water transfers the heat better, just like a convection oven is more efficient than a standard model. I use mine to chill as well... When I make stock or something that I've cooked but not want to refridgerate, I put the pot of stock in my water bath, fill the bath with ice and water, and lower the lauda temp. It's amazing how quickly it will bring the temp down as compared to the pot just sitting on the counter.

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Sorry, should have mentioned that the ribs were done at 65C for 5 hrs (could be ready in less, but I was out running errands), then finished in a convection over for 10 min @225F.


Edited by percyn (log)

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Dear all,

I'm still trying to find an affordable choice for a water bath (i.e., under $100). I have seen that some have managed to procure Lauda or other brand bath circulators for under $100 so that seems to be an option. However, I don't really understand something. These baths seem to sometimes come with a rectangular water case attached to the bottom. example:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Lauda-MS-M3-Heated-Wat...1QQcmdZViewItem

Does the circulator itself simply lift out of that case so that I can put it on the side of a large stock pot? I have seen people with these on stock pots, so that is my assumption.

Also, Pounce mentioned a Ranco ETC thermostat, and that seems like a good idea because I could plug my large crock pot into it and make sure that the temperature stays constant. However, I haven't been able to tell exactly how it works. I see that it has a probe, and that it is digitally programmed. However, I don't see if it has an "outlet" so that I can plug the crock pot into it, or if I would have to wire the crock pot to the thermostat. I wouldn't be able to do that myself.

Anyway, are there any other <$100 ideas for water baths? Temperature is, of course, my main priority, but circulation is nice too.

Alan


Edited by A Patric (log)

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