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

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For those interested in the PID approach Auberins is now selling its first rev of a turnkey Sous Vide controller.

http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=44

I'm told future versions will be stainless or at least more what the western kitchen expects. It's one hell of a deal at $99.


Edited by pounce (log)

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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I ordered one last week, will report back once I get it up an running. This might take some time though as christmas might come between me and my sous vide experiments. Auberin seems very helpful and service minded, corresponding with me via email and setting up the controller for my intended use.

They have a pdf discussing some of the applications:

http://auberins.com/Sous%20Vide%20application%20note.pdf

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On Dec 9 2007, 07:35 AM, RobC said:

Emboldened by all the great info on this forum, I’ve sprung for a FoodSaver Pro III and PolyScience thermal circulator and plan to sous vide my brains out. But after reading through all 39 pages of postings, I do have a few questions:

1. Nathan’s authoritative charts—or as I like to think of them, Nathan’s Famous Hot Logs—assume an initial temperature of 5°C/41°F. But Nathan also comments that “it is actually preferred to go straight from the freezer.” Can anyone offer a rule of thumb or guidance about how much one should increase the cooking times in the charts to compensate for food starting at freezer temperature?

2. As long as I’m being Mr. Curious, why does Nathan use 41°F as his starting point, when it was my understanding that preferred refrigerator temperature is between 35°F and 38°F?

3. I’m still having trouble getting my head around the “Rest time” column in Nathan’s charts. Nathan describes this column as “the time until the core temperature stops rising and starts to fall.” When the cooking temperature is roughly equal to the final temperature, the charts show a rest time essentially equal to the cook time. But wouldn’t it be the case that the core temperature would start to fall as soon as the food is removed from the water bath?



Sorry, but I don't have tables for going from frozen. I will try to do this for my cookbook, but don't have it now.

41F was an arbitrary choice - it was close to what my refriderator at the time did, and 5C is pretty standard temp.

In reality the tables are about the temperature difference. So the time to go from 41F to 140F, with a bath temp at 141F, is going to be the same as the time to go from 51F to 150F, with bath temp of 151F. As long as you stay away from phase changes (freezing and boiling) then you can scale the tempertures.

In the tables, bath is ALWAYS warmer than the final temperature, however in the tables some of the choices are only 1 degree F warmer. So it will continue to rise slightly for a while.

If you are cooking within 1 degree of final temperature, the rest time is pretty much irrelevant.

If instead, you cook in a bath at a warmer temperture - for example you cook in a 65C / 149F bath and you want to cook to a final temperture of 130F, then the rest itme is a serious issue - the temperture will rise after you take it out of the bath.

For example, if you cook a 6 inch thick roast in a 149F bath, and want the core temp to be 130F, the fact is that you must pull the roast out of the bath when the core reads 122F, and it will take about any hour before the core drifts up to 130F.

However, I recommend cooking in a bath temp that is only a tiny amount above the desired final temperture. At the time I made the tables various people (such as Joan Roca) were advocating higher bath temperatures, which is why I made the tables include these cases. Since then I have pretty much moved away from using bath temps higher than the desired core temperture (with a couple exceptions).

All of this will be discussed better in my cookbook, when it eventually gets done.

Nathan


Edited by nathanm (log)

Nathan

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Rob, as to the rest time, I think you may be misreading the charts.  On the chart for 54.4C, for example, a piece of meat that is 25 mm thick cooking in a 55C water bath will take 41 minutes and 29 seconds to come to the target temperature.  The rest time is 56 seconds.  The overshoot is minimal (but not zero) in a 55C water bath, but presumably what the chart is showing is that it would take 29 seconds for the piece of 25 mm meat to start losing temperature.

If you're cooking with the water bath at your target temperature, this column isn't particularly meaningful to you.  If you are cooking at a higher temperature water bath than your target temperature, this chart tells you how long you should let the meat rest so that the meat equilibrates at your target temperature.

Exactly....


Nathan

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I ordered one last week, will report back once I get it up an running. This might take some time though as christmas might come between me and my sous vide experiments. Auberin seems very helpful and service minded, corresponding with me via email and setting up the controller for my intended use.

They have a pdf discussing some of the applications:

http://auberins.com/Sous%20Vide%20application%20note.pdf

Thanks for that link. The Auberins people seem to be taking this pretty seriously and doing some decent testing of the relevant factors (like temperature stability and uniformity of the bath temperature).

It seems to me that since the granularity of the temperature setting is in integer units that it would make sense to use the unit in Fahrenheit mode as it would give greater granularity in terms of the temperatures that you can set (roughly equivalent to .5 C). It is nice to see that they tested the temperature stability and found it to be within about .2 C once the system had stabilized).

Please -- everyone using similar PID units -- keep us posted on your experiences with them.

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Thanks for the quick responses, and especially to Nathan for all the hard work he’s put in creating the charts.

I do plan to sous vide at just above the target temperature and will, as Nathan and slkinsey suggest, ignore the resting time column. I continue to find some of the data entries anomalous. For example, the red meat chart (130°F final temperature) shows that with a 131°F bath, a 150 mm thick piece of meat has a resting time of more than 9 hours. Similar anomalies exist for all thicknesses 75 mm and above in a 131° bath. Below 75 mm in thickness, the resting time numbers make sense. There are some similar issues with the highest thickness entries in the white meat (140°F final temperature) chart. Because of the near congruity between cooking time and resting time at the higher thicknesses, I’m guessing there may be a data entry glitch. The alternative explanation is that there are fundamental laws of the universe that I’m powerless to understand—which come to think of it pretty much describes my attempt to slog through A Brief History of Time.

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Tonight I did a pork tenderloin. 60º C for 1 hour.

I cooked down a bit of soy sauce, some mirin, a bit of oyster sauce, some sugar and a bit of sesame oil until quite thick. I poured a bit into the vacuum bag then stuffed the tenderloin in on top. It sealed with no problem, the liquid didn't get sucked up into the vacuum. I reduced the liquid from the bag to drizzle on the meat.

I enjoyed it as is, but for hubby it was too pink. I think next time I'll have to go up a degree or two for his benefit.

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Kerry, how large were these tenderloins? Assuming they're right around an inch thick, it takes just about an hour to get to 60C in a 61C water bath. If you're setting your bath to 60C, you might consider going longer -- say 2 hours. I say this simply because I haven't had anyone find 60C pork too pink, and I could go even more pink. Given the time/temp you're posting, I wonder if you even made it up to 60.


--

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It is quite possible they never made it to temperature. They were a fair size and probably would have been at least an inch thick. I'm not monitoring the inside temperature of course.

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Has anyone here tried a  PID / Countertop-Induction-"Burner" / Stockpot setup?

I don't think an induction plate will work unfortunately because they have too much electronics in them. I'm guessing that if you cut the main power to the plate (like a PID will do), it will reset and just return to standby mode once power is restored.

But it certainly would be a very neat setup!

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Has anyone here tried a  PID / Countertop-Induction-"Burner" / Stockpot setup?

The ones I have will not work with the controller. They reset when you interrupt the power. Too bad.


My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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Has anyone here tried a  PID / Countertop-Induction-"Burner" / Stockpot setup?

The ones I have will not work with the controller. They reset when you interrupt the power. Too bad.

I did it with a cheapo electric burner and it works great to control a pot with 2qt of water.

I'm in the process of "appliancizing" my rig which is currently a tangle of wires. I have a nice case and it's interesting to see this commercial product; still not sure how I'm going to lay out the front and rear panels. $100 seems like a great price for something like this, as long as it can be calibrated for different systems easily.

One issue I'm wrangling with is the best thermocouple to use-- any recs would be appreciated. I'm currently using a K-type with a bead head and a nut around it that I can't get off.

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One issue I'm wrangling with is the best thermocouple to use-- any recs would be appreciated.  I'm currently using a K-type with a bead head and a nut around it that I can't get off.

I noticed that Auber Instruments claims that a thermistor is a better choice than a thermocouple. I don't know enough to know if they are right, but their turnkey system uses a thermistor rather than a thermocouple.

What sort of temperature stability do you have with your set-up? The Auber Instruments application notes discourages use of a hot plate because they say that it results in less uniform distribution of the heat throughout the water than the rice cooker or crockpot.

I am curious to know more about your results as I am on a budget and would like to upgrade my setup with a PID but want to get a better sense of the results that people are getting with their PID setups before I take the plunge.

Thanks,

E

p.s. I am also curious to know the temperature/time that anyone is using that has managed to get a sublimely poached egg.

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One issue I'm wrangling with is the best thermocouple to use-- any recs would be appreciated.  I'm currently using a K-type with a bead head and a nut around it that I can't get off.

I noticed that Auber Instruments claims that a thermistor is a better choice than a thermocouple. I don't know enough to know if they are right, but their turnkey system uses a thermistor rather than a thermocouple.

According to what I have read, it is extremely difficult to get a thermocouple with reliability/accuracy to less than 1 degree C. I'm guessing that's why Auber recommends a thermistor instead.


--

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For those interested in the PID approach Auberins is now selling its first rev of a turnkey Sous Vide controller.

http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=44

I'm told future versions will be stainless or at least more what the western kitchen expects. It's one hell of a deal at $99.

I am very interested in the Auber products. My old crock pot would work although small.

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Like Kerry Beal I am field testing a PID controller for home cooking so I thought I would share my experiments on this topic.

I am using a rice cooker – a simple mechanical one that has no internal electronics to interfere with the controller.

So far I have cooked a small beef strip loin, two pork tenderloins and two packages of flanken style beef ribs.

The strip loin (30mm) was cooked at 55C for 1 hour. It started out at 2.5C from the coldest part of my fridge. After 1 hour it was cooked uniformly pink throughout (medium-rare in my vocabulary). Sorry no picture! I mistimed the serving time for this so put it in an ice bath and then into the fridge for a few hours.

In a fit of hope over experience I seared it in a blazing hot cast iron pan just before service. Of course it remained icy cold inside! Nevertheless I sliced and served it to hubby and me and it was a lovely steak. So while I know that storing before service has not been advocated in this topic, it may be necessary sometimes. I suspect I should have returned it to the cooker at 55C for (how long?) to bring it back to temp before searing it.

I trimmed both pork tenderloins so that they were an even thickness from end to end. The first I applied a rub, a smidgen of oil and no liquid. The second I made up a sauce of pomegranate juice, my own cranberry relish, salt and pepper . I reduced it slightly and then froze it in a thin sheet. Both tenderloins were vacuum packed and cooked at 60C for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Both were still very pink at the end of this time but the internal temp was 59.8C. The texture was quite different for each of them. The one with the rub only turned out to be firmer than the one with added liquid and the texture difference was quite striking. Both were very briefly seared in a very hot cast iron skillet.

gallery_6903_111_86591.jpg

gallery_6903_111_24535.jpg

The photos are meant to show the finished products not my non-existent plating skills!

Yesterday and today I took a break from constantly watching and recoding temperatures and simply made up 2 packages of flanken style, bone-in beef ribs. I added a couple of tablespoons of frozen glace de viande to each package. I set the PID to 60C and realized after a few hours that this was a bad choice for this particular cut of meat. I should have upped the temperature to ensure a breakdown of collagen but I pushed forward. I left one package in for 12 hours and the second for 19 hours. In the end there was not a lot of difference between the two. They were not falling off the bone tender but were very tender with some resistance left which I found rather good!

gallery_6903_111_124845.jpg

Edited to add photo of flanken ribs.


Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Everything looks great Kerry and Anna.

It's great to see people cooking sous vide using what's on hand (crock pot, rice cooker etc.) albeit slightly modified. I think it encourages other to try.

Anna, I don't understand why you trimmed the tenderloins. Couldn't you have timed the cooking based on the thickest part?

Keep them coming ladies

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Thanks for the encouragement ChefCrash!

Tonight I have some tomato halves in the pot, with a leaf of basil, some salt, a touch of sugar and a drizzle of olive oil.

I'd like to do some potatoes with duck fat, but the recipes I've seen seem to call for simmering water. Any thoughts on what temperature for how long?

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Everything looks great Kerry and Anna.

It's great to see people cooking sous vide using what's on hand (crock pot, rice cooker etc.) albeit slightly modified. I think it encourages other to try.

Anna, I don't understand why you trimmed the tenderloins. Couldn't you have timed the cooking based on the thickest part?

Keep them coming ladies

One reason (I think!) that people like me are chosen to test equipment is that we are not particularly knowledgeable about sous-vide! We will make mistakes that the pros wouldn't do! This allows for modifications to accommodate our naivete!

So I wanted

a) to be sure I started with an evenly shaped piece of meat to follow Nathan's charts.

b) to have a compact package as there is not a lot of room in a rice cooker.

c) to be able to sear in a small cast iron pan at the end.

Untrimmed tenderloins are somewhat of a challenge even when cooking them conventionally. I generally make a small cut in the thin end and then fold it over and anchor it in place to give me something that roasts/grills evenly. I don't suppose such precision is necessary in sous vide.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Untrimmed tenderloins are somewhat of a challenge even when cooking them conventionally.  I generally make a small cut in the thin end and then fold it over and anchor it in place to give me something that roasts/grills evenly.  I don't suppose such precision is necessary in sous vide.

One of the nice things about sous vide is that because the heat is so gentle, you don't have to worry about making the cut uniform as you do when using high heat. So, in many respects it is more forgiving than traditional methods. It doesn't matter if the thin part gets to the target early -- because the target is generally a temperature that it can stay at for a long time without becoming overcooked. You can measure the thickest part of the meat you are cutting and cook for the length of time need for the thickest part to hit your target temp (plus however much longer you want to cook it). This is especially true when cooking in the 130 to 140 degree range because the muscle fibers stay pretty relaxed.

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Thanks for this explanation - if I slowed down long enough and used my remaining neurons efficiently I would have figured this out eventually. :biggrin:

When trying to absorb the sometimes conflicting information in a topic as long as this one, I find it very helpful when someone clarifies a point, so thank you, sincerely.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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This article in the Globe & Mail suggests that Thomas Keller is partnering with PolyScience to produce a home version of sous vide equipment

That dream  [of an affordable home system] may not be far off. According to Mr. McGee, Thomas Keller's sous vide cookbook will be released as soon as PolyScience perfects an immersion heater for the home cook. It may not be fifty bucks, but it may be the hottest new kitchen gadget for the cutting edge culinary set.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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According to Mr. McGee, Thomas Keller's sous vide cookbook will be released as soon as PolyScience perfects an immersion heater for the home cook. It may not be fifty bucks, but it may be the hottest new kitchen gadget for the cutting edge culinary set.

Interesting! (So someone is after all actually doing it; a few pages ago in this thread, it was only a theory.)

Let's hope this does not spawn a rash of food poisonings from anaerobic pathogens (e.g. -- it's not the organisms but rather their byproducts that cause the trouble in this case -- foodborne Botulism intoxication mortality rate runs about 40% traditionally, and we haven't recently had one of those nasty cases like the canned Vichysoisse episode of the 1970s -- the autoclave didn't work, and failed to steam the sealed cans hot enough -- which taught everyone a generation ago) to remind us all that the cutting edge can be sharp.

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