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adey73

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 3)

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although I have not seen anyone talk about using it instead of a rice cooker.  What I saw was a free-standing table top "steam table" type warmer which is designed to be filled with water and than have a standard restaurant pan inserted into it.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1517668

As mentioned I use a counter steam table/food warmer unit. Here is what I like about it:

It has a drain spigot. I set it up and let it run next to the sink so when I am done I just open the spigot to drain.

I can put large items in it. Full racks etc.

I can use it as a steam table :)

Note: I use the unit without putting another hotel pan in it. In other words when doing SV I am not using it like a steam table. I also fill it with hot water instead of letting the unit bring the water all the way from cold up to cooking temp.

I do mostly use my Julabo unit with the steam table, but for the weeks I was testing and using the PID it worked very well. I'm going to set up a friend that lives at a hunting ranch with the PID setup and a steam table unit like mine so he can us it with the all the elk and other game they seem to keep disassembling.


Edited by pounce (log)

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We have some experiences using using PID temperature controllers like SousVideMagic, J-Kem PID temperature controller, .... etc.

Here is what we find:

- always set the baine marie (steam table)'s thermostatic control to highest, this way your controller can do all the controlling.

- you will get better stability and heat distribution if the baine marie uses embedded resistive heating elements and has good insulation.

- you get better results (stability, homogeneousness) if you don't use inserts having another layer of hot water bath. But for long term cooking (over 24 hours), using another s/s inserts over another water bath is acceptable.

- because baine marie dimension has big surface area to depth ratio, this present problems of greater heat loss, less heat convection and more crevices for cold spots.

- always make sure your sensor is not touching the food pouches.

It is perfect for bulky items like whole beef short ribs and whole rack of side ribs.

Yes, steam table is a viable SV cooker for long term SV cooking.

Have fun!

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There is certainly more than one type of equipment that can be used for successful SV application - my strong preference is still immersion circulators.

I hate to anger anyone, esp. pounce and e_monster - but amateur SV equipment will yield corresponding results. Personally, I had to wait for two years to buy my set, and there is still a lot of ground to cover. Granted, everybody sets up their own benchmarks, but just like you need a NASCAR-type car to take part in a NASCAR race - one needs proper SV equipment to cook SV. It's just that simple.

PID controllers and rice cookers create an illusion of SV cooking - an acceptable alternative for some, but make no mistake about it - it's not the real thing.

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MikeTMD,

I don't know where you have come by this (incorrect) belief that using an Auber PID makes a system not TRUE SV. You are simply wrong. There are at least two list members who have both an Auber PID and a lab-quality immersion circulator and one has posted that they get the same quality of results with an Auber setup although it is not as convenient as using a lab-quality immersion circulator.

Since there is at least one person that has your 'Nascar' setup and a low-budget setup like mine who says that the results are identical in quality, I tend to give credence to that person rather than to you since you have no experience with a setup like mine

You can do professional quality sous-vide with an Auber PID and an appropriate heat source (and, in some cases, a $10 aquarium air pump). It does require some extra work (tuning the PID parameters to the heat source). It would certainly be more convenient to have an immersion circulator, but it is not necessary. (NOTE: I am not saying that I would use a setup like mine in a professional environment -- but that is not because of the quality of the food that one can produce with it.)

Please provide the background that you have used to come to your conclusions rather than making blanket proclamations without a hint as to what experience provides the foundation for your claim. As far as I can tell, you have no experience with a setup like mine (or you did not tune it correctly) and so have no basis for comparison.

If you have an empirical basis for your claim, please share it. Otherwise, please stop making pronouncements of fact that are pure conjecture on your part.

I hesitate to post because you have shown a tendency to flame people that disagree with you. However, I am afraid that someone will read your posting and think that you know what your talking about in this regard, and I would hate for someone to think that they need to spend hundreds of dollars more than they actually do just because you have decided that an Auber PID is not capable of producing excellent results.

Given your past mis-statements about the role of vacuum-sealing in the killing of pathogens during SV cooking, I would think that you would tone down the disrespect in your posts and offer them as your opinion rather than fact. But hey, what do I know I don't have a NASCAR setup.

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Make up your own minds.

these manufacturers all sell IC units as well as unstirred waterbaths for sous vide

http://www.cliftonfoodrange.co.uk/range.htm

http://www.cuisinetechnology.com/thermal-baths.html

http://www.julabo-sous-vide.com/products3.htm

and as far as I can tell a pid crockpot/ricecooker is a cheap homemade unstirred water bath.

Some professional chefs upthread have said, they use a combi steam oven for sous vide.

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I also strongly disagree with MikeTMDs assertions - they are unfounded and demonstrably wrong.

I have used both a low end setup (simple heating coil and cheap eBay PID) and a high end laboratory immersion circulator. There was NO difference in the quality of what was produced. There may be some greater ease in punching in 51.3C into the digital high end stuff but I can guarantee there are no end user perceptible differences if you are careful. As many of us here are hobbyist cooks it is important that people realise that great results are achievable with some budget equipment and plenty of care and attention, and are not put off by equipment snobbery.

Anyway the two solutions use extremely close technologies i.e. PID electronics and methodology with some only lacking the circulation effect of the immersion circulator. As many of us know even the circulation can be achieved cheaply with an aquarium bubbler or other pump.

If you break open a laboratory circulator what do you see - PID controller circuit, heating element and pump. If you put together a budget system what do you have - PID controller circuit, heating element and pump. They are the same thing! It is not voodoo here it's mathematics, electronics and physics.

Cooking SV does not require 0.01C accuracy and it is foolish to believe that it does when so many other variables are uncontrolled in our cooking.

So I would urge anyone wanting to try this - don't be discouraged by some - get yourself a cheap PID controller and nice heat source (electric coil, rice warmer, steam table, crock pot whatever) and you can really experience quantum improvements in the quality of your cooking especially of proteins like meat and fish.

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has anyone done sous vide curry

or sous vide rice dishes?

I am looking specifically at risotto or paella?

Usually for curries you marinade the meat and use yoghurt to tenderise.

Vacuum packing would reduce the marinating time and depending on the cut of meat cooking sous vide will help tenderise could we omit the yoghurt?

Also the area of interest for me is the flavour concentration of sous vide cooking would mean that the amount of garlic and other spices would have be reduced alot.

Seeing as spice like saffron are expensive I would imagine this to be a plus point for sous vide indian cuisine.

And for risotto and paella I am wondering if sous vide could help in reducing the labour required to cook these dishes. Just measure the rice and the stock, seal and drop it into a waterbath.

Is there an optimum temperature for sous vide rice?

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I've used the bath to make GABA brown rice. Kept it at 104 for a few hours and then finished off in a cheap rice cooker.

I'm not convinced SV is going to get you good results for paella. Different perhaps. I'm certainly no expert, but the process for paella asks for crispy caramelized bottom (socarrat) that you aren't going to get with SV.

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I must say I am not convinced that there would be many benefits of cooking risotto SV either. I am reminded of the old saying that "when you only have a hammer every problem begins to look like a nail"!

...but am always open to a bit of experimentation and look forward to seeing if it does work well.

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Curry, risotto and paella are different and have different cooking requirements.

The key to meat curry is cooking the protein, for which sous vide works well. I would put it raw in the bag with a well made curry sauce, and cook at say 63C (for chicken) for 12 hours. The long slow cooking will dissolve the collagen, while not toughening the meat fibres. I would suggest it would also replace the marination.

Risotto's key is the release controlled gelatanisation of the starch, for which I'm doubt if the long cooking of sous-vide helps. Temperature would need to be above the gelatanisation point, around 80C

Paella is different again, and my impression is that the process is various cooked meats and shellfish together with rice. Sous vide will help with the proteins, cooked seperately, but not really with the rice, except for convenience of handling, like boil-in-the-bag rice

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I've used the bath to make GABA brown rice.  Kept it at 104 for a few hours and then finished off in a cheap rice cooker.

I'm not convinced SV is going to get you good results for paella. Different perhaps.  I'm certainly no expert, but the process for paella asks for crispy caramelized bottom (socarrat) that you aren't going to get with SV.

Hi thanks for replying.

When you cooked the rice did you reduce the amount of water you used?

As I would imagine that as there is no steam lose the amount of water required to cook the rice would be less then in a rice cooker?

Also what texture did you get after the few hours at 104?

was it edible? as i had the starch cooked? or was it just fully rehydrated rice?

Also for paella I am thinking you could SV the rice and then finish it off on top of a stove to get the socarrat?

think i will have to give thi a try

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pouce, did you mean 140? 104 seems low (and is firmly in the "danger zone" , especially for a couple hours cooking time).

Cheers,

Martin

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If you break open a laboratory circulator what do you see - PID controller circuit, heating element and pump. If you put together a budget system what do you have - PID controller circuit, heating element and pump. They are the same thing! It is not voodoo here it's mathematics, electronics and physics.

This states the situation very well.

The main variation between water baths is wattage, water movement and PID control.

To plug into a standard US electrical circuit, all of the devices discussed are 1800 watts or below. You get faster heat up with 208/220/250 volt, but most water baths do not feature this (but you can build or buy them that do).

Commercial laboratory water baths have components chosen to do the job well.

You can approximate those results with re-purposed components like Auber instruments controller, rice cookers, steam tables and so forth. The main issues that you need to watch are getting PID parameters adjusted properly (or use automatic tuning PID), and making sure that the water is stirred.

If it is all set up properly there is no difference in functionality between this and a commercial water bath.

On the other hand, if you don't stir the water you could get temperture stratification. If the temperure sensor is sensing unstirred water it will do the wrong thing. If the PID parameters are set wrong it won't control well. These are all simple to solve.

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Sorry, let me clarify a little on the GABA brown rice (hatsuga genmai).

The idea is that you germinate the brown rice before cooking in order to increase the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid.

Here is a nice guide to making the rice without a circulator.

http://www.instructables.com/id/HOWTO-make...ted-brown-rice/

Bottom line you are just using the circulator to keep the temp stable for the germination of the rice. After you do this you cook it. I didn't actually cook the rice SV, but it was part of the process.


Edited by pounce (log)

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Sous Vide report, a few weeks in...

Well, after my waterbath and home vacuum pack machine arrived, I set about playing around w/ SV.

First, let me thank everyone for all the work that's gone into this thread -- I would never have tried without all the information, the time-temp tables, etc., that have been gathered here. An esp. big thanks to Nathan!

So, here are some of my initial observations.

My attempts with salmon were less than satisfactory, in large part because the salmon was less than superb. I'll try again in season.

Similarly with my attempts with shrimp -- I'll try again when fresh spot prawns are available.

Scallops were the first big success. I tried them at 46C, 50C, 55C, and 60C, usually bagged with butter. I, personally, much preferred those done at either 50C or 55C -- I found the texture excellent, and the taste still very fresh and clean (startlingly close to in flavor to raw, but with the texture of gently cooked). At 46C, the texture wasn't there for me, and at 60C, the flavor was moving towards cooked.

Lobster was another success. I tried it at 46C, 50C, and 55C, and 60C, and, in the case of the latter temps, played with time. Here, I much preferred 55C for about 4 hours. This was true with both a butter and a cream-based bagged medium.

Finally, the other night, I tried a standard old boring chicken breast. This was done on a bit of a whim, and so I didn't try many tricks. I cooked it at 60C for about 8 hours, in a bag with truffle "juice," a bit of chicken fat, salt, pepper, etc. The chicken was quite nice, very moist, but here I think going down a few degrees would have been better. The flesh was permeated with the truffle, but only very mildly (if I do this again, I'll use more juice &/or switch to oil). The 'sauce' in the bag I thickened slightly -- it was excellent.

This weekend, I'm hoping to try short-ribs. I'm limited in my ability to experiment by the fact that my spouse is mostly vegetarian, so I only get to fool around when she isn't eating at home...

Best,

jk

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\

In my opinion, 8 hours is too long with chicken breast at 60C. I have done a lot of chicken breast and have found that when cooking at 140F (60C) the texture and mouth-feel degrade if cooked overlong (I have found the same to be true of turkey). With chicken breast or any other meat that does not need tenderizing there is usually not an advantage in using long cook times.

For chicken breast, I would use Nathan's tables to determine how long it takes the meat to get to the desired temp and add the amount of time needed to make it food safe (see the FDA tables). Once it is food safe, I wouldn't leave chicken or turkey in the bath indefinitely. At 140F, I have found that if I cook for more than an hour past the 'safe' time the result does not seem as good as if I stop the cooking earlier.

Also, the quality of the chicken is of the utmost importance.

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Sorry, let me clarify a little on the GABA brown rice (hatsuga genmai).

The idea is that you germinate the brown rice before cooking in order to increase the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid.

Here is a nice guide to making the rice without a circulator.

http://www.instructables.com/id/HOWTO-make...ted-brown-rice/

Bottom line you are just using the circulator to keep the temp stable for the germination of the rice. After you do this you cook it. I didn't actually cook the rice SV, but it was part of the process.

I would like to add some comments on Gaba germination.

Gaba germination

The above article states that the best environment to germinate Gaba is at 32C for 22 hours. I have tried many different ways, and the best result is using a rice warmer or a rice cooker using the warm cycle and controlled it with a PID controller like SousVideMagic/Auber. Without bagging the rice gives much better result. Good germination apparently needs some air and natural moist environment.

Most microprocessor based Japanese rice cookers now have a brown rice cooking cycle, but they use higher temperature and shorter time to soak, germination is never matured enough for full health benefits.

BTW, If anyone one interested in making sweet rice wine, the best environment is 30C for 25 hours depending on how sweet you want you wine to turn out.

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If a water pump (or air bubbler) is not necessary in a rice cooker, it may not be necessary in for a counter top food warmer either.  Since I have an Auber PID and a food warmer, I will experiment with them this coming week and report back.

Using an uncirculated steam table and an Auber PID, I found that the spacial uniformity of the water was ±0.6°F (±0.3°C). That is, using a Thermoworks MicroTherma 2T, I found that the difference between the hottest and coldest spots in the water bath was 1.2°F (0.7°C). To test the spacial uniformity, I first let the water bath come up to temperature, then moved the probe all around the water bath and recorded the max/min temperatures. I then added three frozen chicken breasts, and repeated this measurement every 15 minutes. The average spacial uniformity was ±0.6°F (±0.3°C), the max was ±0.8°F (±0.4°C), and the min was ±0.4°F (±0.2°C).

While it may not be necessary, I still feel circulation is important because it will cause the surface temperature of the meat to come up to temperature much faster.

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Nice work Douglas.

I am considering getting a steam table/bain marie but am a little concerned that they might be energy hogs. They look like they are un-insulated with very large surface areas. Have you found that to be a problem?

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Made white asparagus last night.. I cooked it at 87.7 for about an hour.. It came out a tad bit over cooked for me but, still really nice.. Just added a little butter in the pouch, then covered with crawfish and tasso in a creamy stock mixture made with the shells..

Also served beautiful double cooked pork chops I had brined but, couldnt bring myself to sous vide.. Grilled and finished in a super hot oven for 5 minutes..

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Nice work Douglas.

I am considering getting a steam table/bain marie but am a little concerned that they might be energy hogs. They look like they are un-insulated with very large surface areas. Have you found that to be a problem?

Well I ran out and got a kilowatt meter this morning, and found that when set at 141F that the Auber PID controlled steam table averaged about 60 watts once up to temperature (to be precise, it used 0.07 kW-h in 1:15). I'm not surprised by this (rather) low power usage because the outside of the food warmer is never uncomfortable to the touch.

[Edit: To go along with NathanM's excellent post below, I thought I should mention that the steam table was covered with a metal lid to minimize evaporation. Also, measuring over 4 hours, it turned out to consume 69 watts.]


Edited by DouglasBaldwin (log)

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Ha - that's great Douglas. You certainly are the man for the measurements. Which is exactly what is needed sometimes. Many thanks for the great info, now I need to put a steam table on my to buy list...

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Well I ran out and got a kilowatt meter this morning, and found that when set at 141F that the Auber PID controlled steam table averaged about 60 watts once up to temperature (to be precise, it used 0.07 kW-h in 1:15).  I'm not surprised by this (rather) low power usage because the outside of the food warmer is never uncomfortable to the touch.

At low temperture energy usage really should not be an issue. It may sound strange, but it is often easier to get accurate temperature holding with less insulation because when the heater stops it cools down faster. So, if there is a small overshoot, it gets corrected faster.

At higher temp, insulation is more of an issue but is still small compared to evaporation. The main way you lose energy from a water bath is evaporative cooling. Covering the water bath - either with a hard cover, or plastic film (at low temp) or aluminum foil, is the most important thing you can do to save energy. It also prevents your bags of food from becoming high and dry and thus not heated. Or your temperature sensor can be high and dry which will cause overheating.

Most lab water baths have an automatic shut off feature if water level drops too low, and this can have a bad effect.

Evaporating 1 liter of water (1 kg) takes 2,260,000 joules of energy. A watt is 1 joule/second. So evaporating 1 liter of water over the course of an hour takes 628 watts. Evaporation occurs whenever the air above the water is less than 100% relative humidity. Covering the water bath effectively keeps the humidity at 100% right above the water, and shuts evaporation off.

The more water surface area that is exposed to the air, the more evaporation you will get. So, a wide shallow pan will lose more heat this way than a tall deep pan.

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I do my sous vide using a Lauda clamped to a 5 gallon stainless steel stockpot. Typically I stretch some plastic film most of the way across the top of the stockpot (there is some open space where the unit clamps on), and secure it with a large rubber band. Even as high as 80C, I get very little evaporation.

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Thanks for the advice, also when using a low temp steam rational do you put the vac packs into a tray with water then into the oven?

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      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 
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