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Guy MovingOn

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

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Hi, Umami5.

I hadn't thought of trying it sous vide, but I've had great success simply bringing oil plus whatever I'm infusing up to 90°C on the stove, keeping it there for a few minutes and letting it cool back down before bottling.

You'll find some things infuse more readily than others, and I can't offer any good suggestions on why that is. Rosemary, sage and bay all behave beautifully, but basil I've had to hit with an immersion blender to get the flavour into the oil (with a consequent loss of clarity). I've found lemon much the same; I can only conclude I might need a different recipe for some things.

As for quantities, I haven't found precision to be at all necessary. Last time I did 5 litre batches and just put a handful or two of the herbs in.

You haven't mentioned what SV equipment you've got. If it's something like a SVM/rice cooker combination, you have the option of putting your oil directly into the rice cooker or, for smaller quantities, you could try bagging oil and peel/leaves (don't drop the bag while you're trying to seal it!). I have no idea how an immersion circulator would handle oil going through it. Anybody?

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What are the pasteurizing conditions for ground beef again?

I looked back a handful of pages and then realized it would just be easier to ask.

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Hi, Umami5.

I have no idea how an immersion circulator would handle oil going through it. Anybody?

Lab quality (Polyscience) ICs have no problem with oil. A homemade setup with a fountain pump might not handle it as well though.

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A few replies to recent posts.

Hanging vertically is in general better than horizontal, because the water in contact with the food is cooled, which makes it slightly denser, so it sinks vertically (beacuse gravity points down). This process is called natural convection.

An extreme version happens with your freezer. Hold you hand below the door while you open it (assuming it has a vertical door), and you will feel the cold air pour out. For a freezer this is bad - it means you lose lots of cold air every time you open it. Chest freezers don't have this issue.

Anyway, in an unstirred bath like Sous Vide Supreme, natural convection is important source of movement, and in general it is better if you place food so that natural convection will be encouraged.

With a stirred bath (i.e. one with a pump) this is less important. The pump produces forced convection which in general dominates the much weaker natural convection. Natural convection is weaker because the temperature difference is generally pretty small so the density differce is pretty small too.

Of course these are generalities that apply to packing a bunch of flat items (say, a half dozen steaks).

If you have a spherical object, "horizontal" and "vertical" have no meaning! That is pretty much true for cylinders also. If you are cooking a whole squab, or a chateaubriand or some other cylinderical food, it really isn't going to matter that much. Also, if you have a small object in a large bath, it won't matter much.

The goal in all cases is to get good water circulation. Jamming the bath very full is a bad idea no matter what orientation is used.

Thanks, Nathan, for your clarifying post, and for your hints concerning visualization of convection currents.

I have conducted a few experiments confirming the importance of adequate positioning of the bag in the bath, see Sous Vide Wikia

The conclusions are:

* An uncovered water bath may lead to uneven temperature distribution by evaporation and consequent evaporation cooling of the superficial water layers.

* Uneven temperature distribution happens especially with insufficiently submerged items in horizontal position.

And my recommendations are:

* An open water bath should be covered by a plastic cover, hollow plastic balls (ping-pong balls), a styrofoam cover, or whatever, to avoid evaporation and consequent evaporation cooling of the superficial water layers.

* Vertical positioning of bags avoids the insufficient submersion that may occur with horizontally placed bags, and in case of multiple bags, it does not impede natural convection.

* A tall water bath as opposed to a shallow bath has the advantage of allowing even large pieces to be positioned vertically.

* Forced circulation (pump or aquarium bubbler) is desirable especially in shallow water baths (useful water depth less than 20cm, like laboratory water baths or SousVideSupreme).

* Bags floating horizontally in an unstirred and uncovered water bath must be avoided, as this may lead to uneven heating of the food, which is especially important in pasteurizing food. If horizontal placement is inevitable, adequate submersion must be ensured.

Furthermore, natural convection currents are very weak as soon as steady state has been reached and heating power is minimal, see

http://www.mydrive.ch/download/75349494/Heating_Full_Power_2000W.AVI

http://www.mydrive.ch/download/75350734/Steady_state_55C_no_cover.AVI

http://www.mydrive.ch/download/75352148/Steady_State_55C_with_cover.AVI

username: visitor@P.Gruber

password: visitor

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Diving in here:

What are the pasteurizing conditions for ground beef again?

Depends on thickness of the burger or whatever, see Douglas Baldwins's table 5.8

Baldwin notes that this is for "thawed meat." Are the times identical for meat that's never been frozen?

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I got some beef cheeks and, after reading through suggestions on this thread and elsewhere, decided to cook them at 60C for 72 hours. ... At the same time I threw some pork belly in the cooker for the same amount of time.

As I was not using the belly immediately, I cooled it rapidly in an ice bath and put it in the refrigerator.

To use the belly, I cut it into cubes. I then heated up a frypan until very hot and cooked each side of the belly piece until it was fully browned. The result was an incredibly tender piece of pork belly with a seared, crunchy, outside.

The dish that I wound up doing with the pork belly is on the dinner thread at this link. It will definitely be cooked again.

I think I want to give this a go as I have a very good pork belly source here. How did you season them, Nick? And did you keep the skin on them?

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I got some beef cheeks and, after reading through suggestions on this thread and elsewhere, decided to cook them at 60C for 72 hours. ... At the same time I threw some pork belly in the cooker for the same amount of time.

As I was not using the belly immediately, I cooled it rapidly in an ice bath and put it in the refrigerator.

To use the belly, I cut it into cubes. I then heated up a frypan until very hot and cooked each side of the belly piece until it was fully browned. The result was an incredibly tender piece of pork belly with a seared, crunchy, outside.

The dish that I wound up doing with the pork belly is on the dinner thread at this link. It will definitely be cooked again.

How did the fat turn out at 60C? Did it render at all, or even soften at that temp? This past weekend, I did pork shoulder for 24 hours at 68.5C and it came out great - really moist, and that fat had softened nicely. Did the meat in the pork belly turn out dry after being in the bath for 72 hours? I sometimes have problems with 72 hour cook times - it turns out nicely gelatinous, but the meat fibers themselves wind up being a bit dry... was that the case with yours too?

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Chris,

Yes, it's the same. I probably should have put "not frozen" instead of "thawed"; but since I get my beef by the half, my mental image of beef is white-paper wrapped packages in our freezer with our name, the date, the cut, and the locker's name stamped on it.

When you (chamber) vacuum seal your formed, not-frozen hamburger patties, I recommend using a weaker vacuum setting (say 90--95%); if the patties are frozen, then you can use the 99% vacuum setting.

Diving in here:

What are the pasteurizing conditions for ground beef again?

Depends on thickness of the burger or whatever, see Douglas Baldwins's table 5.8

Baldwin notes that this is for "thawed meat." Are the times identical for meat that's never been frozen?

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Makes sense. I wasn't sure if there are effects of freezing that should be taken into account with low temp cooking. Thanks.

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I'm not sure whether it was the cooking at 60C or the somewhat vigorous browning of the belly but both the fat and the meat were melt in the mouth tender and not at all stringy.


Edited by nickrey (log)

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Following Nick, just put in two skin-on belly strips (~1 lb each) that I rubbed with some shaoxing, dark soy sauce, sugar, julienned ginger, and white pepper. I'll revisit on Th.

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Has anyone ever tried using low-temp cooking for tamales that have been sealed sous vide?

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I wouldn't think that would work, Chris, unless you substantially changed the formula for the dough. The whole point of steaming tamales is that you make the dough with a ton of lard in it, and then when you steam them you melt out a lot of the fat and leave behind a somewhat spongy texture. Note how really good traditional tamales seem to have lots of tiny holes in them.

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Hrm. Still curious. I feel like there must be a way to make tamales work....

Meanwhile, pulled the pork belly strips after 48 hours. One's been iced down and is in the fridge. Here's what I did with the other.

Reserved the liquid in the bag. Cut off the skin and cut it into julienne. Cut the rest of the strip into 1"x1"x1/2" tiles. After sautéing the skin and removing it from the skillet, did the same to some ginger, black beans, and onions, added the liquid, and then added the belly tiles. Served with rice and an assortment of pickles.

It needed more salt -- I'm clearly too wary of salt in those bags -- and I might have pulled it a bit earlier than 48 hours or cooked it at 59C or 58C. But I'm niggling: I'm astonished at the porky power of these SV proteins. The ginger, shaoxing, and dark soy sauce were excellent both for the low-temp cooking and for the sauce, which was infused with the pork and the collagen from the skin.

There are dozens of Chinese, Thai, and Cambodian braises that will benefit mightily from this technique. The mind swims.

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Hi Lesliec,

I am using a trial and error method at the moment. Does anybody know what is the optimum temperature to infuse flavours into oil. I am using oil and flavours in a vac pac bag, but will they infuse better at a certain temperature and in a certain time frame? Does anyone know if this might be covered in Modernist Cuisine?

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Hi Badrabbit,

I am vac packing the oil and infusions before placing them into the water bath. Oil in the bath would be alot more messy and wasteful. i am just trying to see there is a certain temperature or time window for maximum infusion and quality?

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It depends on what you're infusing, as different compounds release at different temperatures, and different ingredients will cook in different ways. You get a very different chile oil, for example, if you infuse the garlic and chiles at room temp than you do if you infuse at 250F/120C or 350F/175C. If you say a bit more about ingredients, I'm sure we can all weigh in.

Following Baldwin's instructions and using this spice rub, I brined for 12h then cooked St. Louis pork ribs at 155F/68C for 28 hours. (I went a bit over the 24 recommended because of cooking logistics.) Finished them on a hot grill with no sauce.

They were excellent if a bit salty, as I usually don't brine and then rub with this particular rub. More "best ribs ever" around the dinner table.

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Re: infused oil ...

I have no experience with it in bags, but a big pot of oil with sage, rosemary or bay leaves works very well at 90°C. Bring it up to temperature (with the herbs already in it), let it stay there for a few (ie 2-5) minutes then let it cool down again before bottling. And - can't rememebr whether I've said this in a previous post - the stuff keeps well. I recently finished off a bottle of rosemary oil I'd made maybe eight months ago, and it was fantastic.

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Perfect, i'll see how i get on and post results

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You might be interested in the two YouTube videos I made this week on sous vide cooking:

Sous Vide Chuck Roast

Sous Vide Chicken Breasts

I've never made or posted a YouTube video before, so they're pretty rough. Do you think I should make more YouTube videos on sous vide cooking? If so, what topics/recipes do you think I should demonstrate?

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I subscribed to your channel, and plan to use it to explain to people how their ribs can be like my ribs. For that purpose, you may wish to mention the more ghetto forms of sous vide, like plugging a PID into a rice cooker.

The glucose bath was news to me, and I am very encouraged that it may allow me to both *not* burn my face with projectile oil *and* have my meat browned evenly *despite* having stupidly tilted heating elements on my very crappy stove, where before I had to choose one or the other.

It also was a good sales pitch for the book; I may end up buying it if the videos become sufficiently appealing.

Edit: Isn't this thread big enough that a sous vide forum is needed?


Edited by eac (log)

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I've never made or posted a YouTube video before, so they're pretty rough.

I've just watched the chicken one so far, but thought that it was quite well done. The only problem I had was that the sound level was quite low. With both my computer and video player's volume controls set to the max, I had still had some problems hearing it until I silenced everything in the room.

You might end your videos with a closeup of your book cover. I see it there on the counter, but wouldn't know what it was - if I didn't know what it was.

By all means make more. The possibilities are endless. But don't give away the store. Occasionally utter the phrase "I go a little more deeply into this in my book..."

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By all means make more. The possibilities are endless. But don't give away the store. Occasionally utter the phrase "I go a little more deeply into this in my book..."

I doubt that's necessary. Obviously it's up to Doug, but for potential buyer X to decide not to buy because there's so much free video, there would have to be, I think, more than half the value/content in the book available via video. And that (I assume, not yet owning the book) would be a lot of video. It's really common when publishing on the web to be several times more stingy than is optimal because of the frightening-to-publishers nature of the medium, and I think it's important to fight that impulse. The target market is an enthusiastic, well-off bunch of home cooks who to reasonably use the book have to have already dropped at least $150 and probably more like $450+ on brand-new equipment.

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