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Guy MovingOn

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 7)

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Palmitic (about 60% of saturated fat in meat) at about 145F/62.8C and Stearic (30% to 35%) at 157F/69.6C

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Pam,

Have you actually done any sous-vide cooking?

You seem to have a lot of general criticisms that on their face seem quite conjectural and based on very limited experience. If you have some particular insight/experience, I think people would be interested to hear what you have to say. But, you seem stuck in something of a rant mode that criticizes sous-vide cooking in the most general non-specific way possible.

There are a wide variety of applications of sous-vide cooking (which is itself -- in my opinion -- an overly general and not very helpful name). "Boil-in-a-bag" is very different from controlled low-temperature cooking. Merely because someone failed to successfully launch a sous-vide based business says nothing about whether the technique is useful.

Your criticisms seem to be based on poorly prepared meals. If someone fed you a lousy meal prepared by conventional means, would you be continually posting messages about the mediocrity or conventional methods :)

Just because someone didn't know how to make a decent steak sous-vide and served it to you does not meant that sous-vide is not useful for making steak.

But maybe you are a far superior chef to Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz and Heston Blumenthal and you find their food mundane.

An interesting video Chris. I was pleased to see they addressed the microbiological angle. The technique is alright under controlled lab conditions but open to all types of problems when you get amateurs playing around with such a procedure. Sooner or later someone is going to get seriously ill. :sad:

The process is not that new - in the eighties Albert Roux set up a factory in south London to produce sous vide for the restaurant trade - it didn’t take on and he had to sell up we bought some equipment in the sale. Of course the idea became more popular when the name was changed from the English - ‘Boil in the Bag’ to the French sous vide. In the UK boil in the bag was the lowest of the low form of cooking, I think it is funny how, since Blumenthal resurrected it, it is now being hailed as the wonder way of cooking. :hmmm:

I have had some superb duck breasts rendered in a dry pan. Anyway the reason you cook meat with the fat on is to baste the meat and give it flavour. You can’t do that if you remove the fat. I have had some very good mutton cooked sous vide - old tough meat is the perfect medium. I have had some lovely steak rendered grey and horrible. :sad:

I came to the conclusion a long time ago with this thread that the principle use of the site was to sell expensive equipment or books. :biggrin:

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Sous vide magic controller $150. Vacuum sealer $100. Rice cooker, well it's a rice cooker and is used to cook rice so I have one of those.

At $250 a fully functional entry level sous vide cooking set up is cheaper than an 8 1/2 quart Le Crueset casserole.

Not quite sure where the expensive equipment comment comes from.

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Some people just fear change...show me a way to make fork-tender medium-rare beef shortribs or brisket in a conventional oven and I'll put my sous vide rig away.

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Reading the thread, often it is not clear if a home cook is answering or a professional. A lot of things look ridiculous for normal home cooking yet make perfect sense in a restaurant or if you cook pro level at home.

Personally I do not like how it is marketed to amateur cooks. I think it is too early for that. In my home, I look at it as a hobby, figuring out how to incorporate it into day to day. Fun.

Why i think it is too early? I didn't like the skinless chicken breast, too much like deli meat. I am also struggling with fish since I haven't found a good way to deal with the skin - usually I take it off for SV but that produces waste. The SV egg with no way of firming the white, not for me please.

As other's mentioned here, there are killer applications for it. To me the 56c burger, even though it's standard wholefoods 93% fat becomes something that rivals shake shack. The 30 hour flank steak, unbelievable.

For a home cook it is fine to ignore, come back later, let people come up with clever techniques and let the prices go down. For a restaurant cook it should not be ignored, Keller's SV book clearly shows how important it is. I believe cooking schools incorporate SV into their programs and if you didn't get that SV is not just about perfection but also about what it does to the workflow maybe it is time to take a closer look.

JK

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Palmitic (about 60% of saturated fat in meat) at about 145F/62.8C and Stearic (30% to 35%) at 157F/69.6C

But pork fat is only around 43% saturated. Pork fat is around 1% myristic acid, 27% palmitic acid, 15% stearic acid, 48% oleic acid, 6% linoleic acid, and 2% other unsaturated fatty acids. It is generally held to have a melting point in the neighborhood of 40C, depending on composition. Some pork fat melts as low as 30C.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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The SV egg with no way of firming the white, not for me please.

Dipping the egg into some salted, simmering water with a slotted spoon firms up the white a bit. I prefer this firmer, more conventionally poached white.

We spent 3 afternoons at the FCI(roughly 9 hours) of instruction covering sous-vide and low temperature cooking. We then were able to apply it in level 4, as well as periodically (depending on your chef) in levels 5 and 6. Never for service though. And thinking back im pretty sure we werent allowed to cook sous vide...i think we were only doing low temp with circulators.

Does anybody have the new polyscience circulator? Just wondering how it stacks up against the old standby.


Edited by ChickenStu (log)

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... Of course the idea became more popular when the name was changed from the English - ‘Boil in the Bag’ to the French sous vide. In the UK boil in the bag was the lowest of the low form of cooking, I think it is funny how, since Blumenthal resurrected it, it is now being hailed as the wonder way of cooking. :hmmm:

...

Pam, your use of the term "boil in the bag" raises concerns here.

Generally, applying that phrase in this context indicates either a lack of information or a prejudice, or both.

No boiling is involved!

And that is the point.

Boiling means controlling the temperature at 100C. (With some variation for altitude and weather.)

Cooking SV means being able to dial in whatever temperature you think appropriate.

To a level of precision that is completely new to most cooks.

If you want 55.0C you can have it. Or 55.5C - and see the difference.

Sure, there's a bag involved, but NOT boiling.

100C turns out to be a poor choice of cooking (or reheating) temperature.

The SV difference is rather like the difference between having an oven, and having an oven with a thermostat, a variable thermostat.

But hey, who needs an oven at all? Lets cook over a real fire you say? ... But is that a Thermapen I spot amongst your barbecue kit?

Just as with ALL cooking, its about control.

Its not about poncey food or 'food as art'. Even if such areas do use it, inter alia.

Its ALL about control.

And much of the prejudice against SV seems to stem from those with developed skills in inferring temperature from sensory clues, fearing that those skills are being replaced by the skill of choosing the appropriate temperature and dialling it in.

Such people only need worry if that is their ONLY skill.

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Reading the thread, often it is not clear if a home cook is answering or a professional. A lot of things look ridiculous for normal home cooking yet make perfect sense in a restaurant or if you cook pro level at home.

Personally I do not like how it is marketed to amateur cooks. I think it is too early for that. In my home, I look at it as a hobby, figuring out how to incorporate it into day to day. Fun.

I would argue that this is a site for hobbyists. This isn't a recipe site and it isn't targeted at people who are just trying to figure out how to put food on the table. Especially this thread. It is all about hobbyists. Why anyone comes into such a thread to argue that the thread is dumb is beyond me.

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Especially this thread. It is all about hobbyists.

lol, I'd go so far as to call it about enthusiasts, though to be fair that sometimes has pejorative overtones (which is a true shame, it is a nice term really). I certainly don't use it pejoratively.

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Reading the thread, often it is not clear if a home cook is answering or a professional. A lot of things look ridiculous for normal home cooking yet make perfect sense in a restaurant or if you cook pro level at home.

Personally I do not like how it is marketed to amateur cooks. I think it is too early for that. In my home, I look at it as a hobby, figuring out how to incorporate it into day to day. Fun.

Why i think it is too early? I didn't like the skinless chicken breast, too much like deli meat. I am also struggling with fish since I haven't found a good way to deal with the skin - usually I take it off for SV but that produces waste. The SV egg with no way of firming the white, not for me please.

As other's mentioned here, there are killer applications for it. To me the 56c burger, even though it's standard wholefoods 93% fat becomes something that rivals shake shack. The 30 hour flank steak, unbelievable.

For a home cook it is fine to ignore, come back later, let people come up with clever techniques and let the prices go down. For a restaurant cook it should not be ignored, Keller's SV book clearly shows how important it is. I believe cooking schools incorporate SV into their programs and if you didn't get that SV is not just about perfection but also about what it does to the workflow maybe it is time to take a closer look.

JK

I couldn't disagree more. I am an avid home chef and think that sous-vide is a great technique to have in one's arsenal. There is no typical home chef -- perhaps it isn't for you, but you don't represent all home chefs. It is a technique. Just because you haven't found a recipe for skinless chicken breast that you like, doesn't make the technique irrelevant to the home chef. Perhaps you don't like SV egg, but my wife and many of our dinner guests love them. And, as Doug Baldwin has mentioned, there are ways of firming the white -- although personally, I think a 148F egg is awesome and the watery part of the white is easily removed before plating. But that is beside the point.

I would guess that you have followed recipes for traditional methods that didn't work out so well -- does that make those methods irrelevant.

As an avid home chef, I find that for those dishes for which sous-vide is appropriate, it allows me to consistently create meals that rival the best meals that I have had at highly-rated restaurants. While I mostly use "traditional" techniques at home, when I want to wow my guests, I tend to serve one of a handful of sous-vide dishes because they consistently knock the socks off my guests. Salmon at 116F, 24-hr skirt steak (at 132F), pork tenderloin, 148F eggs, medium-rare short-ribs.

People love these dishes and the first time that most of my guests eat them, they exclaim how unlike anything else these dishes are (and -- yes they invite themselves back for more). As a home chef, I really like the fact that I can easily and consistently prepare such meals.

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The best way to treat skin is separately from meat.

Pull the skin off. Blanch in boiling water, or steam (or cook sous vide at fairly high temp). Then press between two silpats held down with weights and bake in an oven at say 180C/356F until really crispy. Then serve on top of the meat.

Roughly how long does it take for the skin to get crispy when using this method?

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Just a note on making sauce with the juices from the sous vide bag.

In earlier posts, I showed a process of removing the pure osmazome by coagulating the solids through heating the juice and then straining. At this stage I discarded the solids.

Thinking about what the solids resemble, I've had a change of heart and practice that I'd like to share.

The solids are in essence what comes off the meat to give the tasty bits that stick to the pan when you are frying. When making sauces conventionally, these are lifted by deglazing and incorporated into the sauce.

To replicate this, I cut the package on a corner and tip the sous vide juices into a saucepan. I put the package back in my rice cooker to keep it warm, shutting the open corner in the lid to ensure that no water enters the package. I then heat the juices and pour off the clear liquid (osmazome). The sludge is heated until it undergoes a maillard reaction and sticks to the bottom of the pan. Then the pan is deglazed with wine/brandy/whatever and this is boiled down. A pre-prepared stock is then added as well as the osmazome. This is then thickened down, some veal demi-glace added, the sauce is seasoned, an acid is then added (such as sherry vinegar). You can thicken the sauce at this stage with some potato starch or beurre monté. Finally the sauce is strained and served with the meat that was seared while the sauce was reducing.

All up the process only takes around ten minutes and produces an extremely tasty sauce.

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The best way to treat skin is separately from meat.

Pull the skin off. Blanch in boiling water, or steam (or cook sous vide at fairly high temp). Then press between two silpats held down with weights and bake in an oven at say 180C/356F until really crispy. Then serve on top of the meat.

Roughly how long does it take for the skin to get crispy when using this method?

Depends a lot on how much weight you have on top, and what the weight is. I would estimate 30 minutes in a 180C/356F oven.

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...

Some time ago I did an experiment showing extreme evaporative cooling:

{detail and graph}

Peter, every time I see one of your oven graphs, I wonder when you are going to improve the control on that oven of yours! A 15C swing ... ! I'm sure its towards the better end of the population, but nevertheless, I wouldn't have expected YOU to put up with that for this long!

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I did another batch of Ad Hoc fried chicken, adding a step where I let the chicken dry out in the fridge, uncovered for about 1.5 hours. This didn't have much of an effect and for thighs at least, I'm willing to throw in the towel on using sous vide for this. I think if I was cooking breasts, it might be a different story. Thighs at 140 for an hour is really borderline on cooked. I'm using a pretty ghetto sous vide setup and probably overloading it, but the meat near the bone was a little more red than I would like. Thighs are generally juicy anyway.

The little wings did come out very well though. I would do that again.

I also don't think the breading in ad hoc chicken is to my preference. I'm looking for more crunch. The search continues...

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...

Some time ago I did an experiment showing extreme evaporative cooling:

{detail and graph}

Peter, every time I see one of your oven graphs, I wonder when you are going to improve the control on that oven of yours! A 15C swing ... ! I'm sure its towards the better end of the population, but nevertheless, I wouldn't have expected YOU to put up with that for this long!

dougal, I am happy to have my SV rigs better than ±0.1°C (usually ±0.07°C). SWAMBO is extremely reluctant to change our 15-year-old bang-bang-controlled convection oven for a combi-steam-oven (do they have PID-control nowadays?), and I am not going to tamper and tinker with the electronics of that oven, as I never had adverse effects and noticed these temperature swings only when I started doing sous vide and measured the oven temperature with a digital thermometer; anyway, as you see in my earlier posts, and as Douglas Baldwin just pointed out, the surface heat transfer coefficient for a convection oven is so poor that inside a water-pot or roast or braise or whatever food you put in the oven, these temperature swings are attenuated to a well acceptable level. At higher temperature settings, the oscillation periods are even shorter than the 12-19 min I described in my earlier post, namely about 6.5 min (with a 14°C swing) at 200°C (due to faster cooling by higher heat loss at higher difference oven-ambient).

Pedro

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I did another batch of Ad Hoc fried chicken, adding a step where I let the chicken dry out in the fridge, uncovered for about 1.5 hours. This didn't have much of an effect and for thighs at least, I'm willing to throw in the towel on using sous vide for this. I think if I was cooking breasts, it might be a different story. Thighs at 140 for an hour is really borderline on cooked. I'm using a pretty ghetto sous vide setup and probably overloading it, but the meat near the bone was a little more red than I would like. Thighs are generally juicy anyway.

The little wings did come out very well though. I would do that again.

I also don't think the breading in ad hoc chicken is to my preference. I'm looking for more crunch. The search continues...

When I have followed the Ad Hoc recipe (without any sous-vide), I have found the chicken to be very crispy, crunchy. Is it possible that your frying temps aren't quite right or that you are overloading the skillet and getting a huge temperature drop when the chicken goes into the pan?

Btw, I pan fry them rather than deep fry as Cook's Illustrated convinced me that pan frying (i.e. in a skillet with oil that doesn't completely submerge the chicken) gives a better result than deep frying. I don't recall whether the Ad Hoc recipe calls for deep frying -- but it if does I departed from the recipe at that stage and did pan frying.

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Thighs at 140 for an hour is really borderline on cooked. I'm using a pretty ghetto sous vide setup and probably overloading it, but the meat near the bone was a little more red than I would like. Thighs are generally juicy anyway.

Even with breast meat, I'd never cook chicken at this temperature for less than two hours.

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>>Even with breast meat, I'd never cook chicken at this temperature for less than two hours. <<

If you throw it in the fryer afterwards I would think it will be safe and cooked sufficient? I don't think we are talking about eating a chicken leg that was 1 hour in the bath. like it is.

Chicken legs in general I found are so hard to overcook in the oven, that SV to me is not really required, only time it made sense to me is frying.

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Nathan

Can I use a Rational 61SCC for sous vide? From your post over the last day or two, it now seems possible, but I don't want to go off in a wrong direction. I do have a Sous Vide Supreme and a Sous Vide Professional and have been experimenting with water baths.

Also, will you new book help me use my Rational oven to its fullest capability? I am open to your suggestions.

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Nathan

Can I use a Rational 61SCC for sous vide? From your post over the last day or two, it now seems possible, but I don't want to go off in a wrong direction. I do have a Sous Vide Supreme and a Sous Vide Professional and have been experimenting with water baths.

Also, will you new book help me use my Rational oven to its fullest capability? I am open to your suggestions.

I have two of those ovens at home, and one in the cooking lab for the book. We have a whole chapter on them in the book. Yes you can use them for SV. They are not perfect for doing low temp sous vide (i.e. fish at 45C/133F), but are very useful for many other things.

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>>Even with breast meat, I'd never cook chicken at this temperature for less than two hours. <<

If you throw it in the fryer afterwards I would think it will be safe and cooked sufficient? I don't think we are talking about eating a chicken leg that was 1 hour in the bath. like it is.

Chicken legs in general I found are so hard to overcook in the oven, that SV to me is not really required, only time it made sense to me is frying.

As I saw it, Eternal was trying to fully cook the chicken before deep frying and using the frying as a finishing technique. The problem is not overcooking but undercooking and this is determined by total timed exposure to heat and thermal conductance of the meat. Cooking the meat such that only the outer layer reaches target temperature in two ways still means that the centre is not cooked.


Edited by nickrey (log)

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Nathan

Thank you for taking a moment to reply to my Rational question. Mine is at home as well. Have you considered a new thread topic here to discuss better utilizations? Most all of my experience is trail and error and following Rational's recipes.

Also, any chance you will cover PacoJets?

I look forward to when your book is published so I can learn so much more!

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BTW a Rational 61 SCC (7336 EUR) seems to be out of the reach of a home cook, but its temperature stability within 1°C is impressive.

:smile:

The temperature stability and accuracy are mostly at or above 60C/140F. Below that it is nowhere near as accurate. Above there is it good, but not 1C.

It is true that a big combi oven is expensive. One of the principles that we have with the book is that we don't "dumb down" content. So we have a bunch of material on combi ovens. We also tell you how do do things with home ovens. So while a Rational 61SCC is not for everybody, I think that it is important to support it with information.

Electrolux makes a countertop professional grade combi oven that is $1900, so that is much more affordable.

Several home oven manufacturers like Miele and Gaggenau are now making home combi ovens. So while a Rational 61SCC is not a home oven for most people, there are other alternatives.

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      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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