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Guy MovingOn

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

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You can't compress vegetables with the ZipLoc device or a FoodSaver for that matter. I don't know of an affordable solution that makes it possible to compress vegetables.

If someone knows of one, please let us know. I am dying to try compressed watermelon about which I have heard amazing things.

You can easily infuse fruits and vegetables with a clamp type machine using vacuum containers, not bags, see Instant rum pot and Infusing cucumbers, melons etc.

With the weaker vacuum of clamp type machines compared to chamber machines, the fruits will not become as perfectly translucent as in Jean-François' experiments, but on releasing the vacuum, the surrounding liquid will be sucked into the fruits anyway giving them the desired flavor. When fruits are kept compressed in the bag for a prolonged period, they might lose their elasticity and on releasing the vacuum they might not aspirate as much liquid as on immediate release of the vacuum. Would one of you guys with a chamber machine (blackp? Douglas Baldwin? Jean-François?) do a comparison test?

Infusing is VERY different from compressing fruits significantly. I know several professional chefs that have had the compressed watermelon (for instance) from French Laundry. And they have tried and tried with clamp-type vacuum packers to get it to work and all have said that the tiny amount of compression that you get with a FoodSaver (and similar device) is just not enough to get the radical compression that people can get with good chamber-type sealers.

The texture changes quite radically with Keller's method. I have wondered if there is some kind of hand pump that can do it.

The syringe trick (if I am understanding it right wouldn't work for compression. Infusion works by sucking the air out of the spaces and having the liquid replace it when atmospheric pressure returns. So, it requires a rigid-walled container.

According to post 2049 and following the difference in compression force between 800mbar (clamp type machine) and 999mbar (chamber machine) would not make such a terrible difference. Has anyone confirmed NY_Amateur's experiences?

With the syringe trick you could apply positive pressure much higher than the difference between atmospheric pressure and vacuum. Did anyone try that?


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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Pedro,

Thanks for that reference, I didn't find it when I searched.

I'm trying to approximate the pressure I can achieve with the Ziplock system, so I will warn people that there is some math coming. One idea is to assume that when I pump the air out I am exerting an upward force (which I can measure) across the surface of the handpump piston (again I can measure and get a surface area), then the pressure inside the bag would be equivalent to the pressure I am exerting, since it should quickly come to equilibrium. Which would mean that to achieve results similar to the Foodsaver reported in post 2049 (200 mBar or ~20,000 Pa) I would need to decrease the pressure in the bag by roughly 800 mBar or 80,000Pa. So if the piston in the Ziplock pump is about 1 cm in diameter, that means the surface area of the piston is 3 cm2 which is 3 x10-4 m2, so to get a pressure difference of 80,000 Pa between inside the bag and out, I would need to exert a 24 N force, which isn't much.

What this means to me is that I think it is reasonable to think that I have a shot at doing the compressed cucumbers in Thomas Keller just using my Ziplock system if they will compress at 200 mBar. Please correct me if my reasoning is horribly, horribly wrong.

Then again I could just go try it and when I get a cucumber I will.

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My wife and I are cutting down on fat and I thought sous vide might be a good way to utilize ground white meat (turkey or chicken) for meatballs without the end product being so dry.

My thought was that I would cook it to 145F for 1 hr or so. Then I would let cool to near room temp, dry, then brown and sauce. I was planning on just using eggs, breadcrumbs and parmesan to bind and of course adding my fresh herbs plus S&P.

Has anyone tried this?

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Just reporting some recent experiments with cooking temperatures.

I got some beef cheeks and, after reading through suggestions on this thread and elsewhere, decided to cook them at 60C for 72 hours.

They were practically inedible. The meat was delicious but any sinew, gristle, etc that would render nicely with long slow cooking techniques was, well, gristly and sinewy.

Next time I'm going back to cooking them at 70C.

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.


Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Has anyone experimented with using a water bath to do low heat pasteurization of raw milk? I currently get raw, grass-fed dairy in half-gallon plastic jugs. Will this container be too wide to just drop into the water bath and should I bag the milk to decrease the thickness of the "container"?

What temperature and time combination should I be looking at? 55C for a few hours?

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Standard pasteurization methodology for "LTLT" (low temperature, long time) is to bring milk to 63C/145F, and then hold it there for 30 min. This works very well sous vide.

The time it takes to reach 63C will depend on the size of the container. You can certainly try putting your jug into the water bath - just stick a themometer into the jug to monitor the temperature. If it comes up to temperature in roughly an hour or two then I think you are OK. Once it is at temperature, hold it there for another 30 min.

I would set the water bath to 64C/147F.

Putting milk into bags, or smaller containers would heat faster, but convection in the jug may be sufficient.


Nathan

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So ...

After VERY VERY VERY careful drying of the outside, the sv bag would have a corner snipped off and be used as a piping bag?

Then, if the 'dirty' bags could be chilled hard, the chocolate just peeled/broken away from the top, and the bag refilled and resealed, there should be VERY little mess or chocolate wastage (and multiple cycles obtained from each bag!)

My guess would be that the melting stage could be safely done in a pan of 'hot' water, at about 40/50C, with no real need of proper PID control. After complete melting, the bag(s) would be transferred to the controlled bath, which had been pre-stabilised at the chill (tabling) temperature. After time for equilibration (and probably some bag squidging) the PID would be reset to the working temperature. Having got everything up to that temperature, they could presumably sit in the bath for as long as required...

How does that sound? ?? ???

Anyone care to offer time suggestions?

Maybe an hour for a "half inch fat" bag of chocolate to equilibrate with the waterbath? Reduced by half if squidging the bag every 5 minutes to stir the chocolate?


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Standard pasteurization methodology fo

You can certainly try putting your jug into the water bath - just stick a themometer into the jug to monitor the temperature.

For those of us using a PID, just put the sensor in the jug .... Hmm, I'm gonna have to do that. Got a source and everything, and been wanting to make mozza (no very high heat pasteurized milk is very hard to get, so you gotta scam some raw and do it yourself)

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PedroG has nicely documented how to use marbles and a hanger to tame bags that want to float in a sous vide bath.

My solution to this problem, an idea that occurred to me while I was walking my dog, is to use thin fiberglass rods, trimmed slightly longer than the width of the water bath.

I flex them into position under the surface of the water (best to do this before the water gets hot), then after the bath has heated, slide the food bag(s) into position with tongs.

sinkin sticks.jpg

(This test food bag contains two magazine photos of meat glued onto scraps of styrofoam. Boy was it buoyant!)

In the course of developing my Sinkin' Sticks, I experimented with a couple of varieties of fiberglass rods (one kind delaminated above 160°F, not a good quality) and materials to cap the ends of the rods to prevent frayed fiberglass and to avoid scuffing the sides of the bath.

My extensive, obsessive tinkering is documented on our new sous vide website, SVKitchen, which is otherwise notable for some good new recipes developed by Pam McKinstry and Sally MacColl.

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Hi Pete J,

that's a very smart solution, it avoids the interference between my bent skewer and the lid of any pot. But I suggest to try to force the bags into a vertical or at least oblique position for better (natural or forced) circulation, so you might pin the bag to the fiberglass rod with clothes-pins and eventually weighing the other end of the bag down.


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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Thanks for the suggestion, PedroG. If you'd like, I'll send you a set of fiberglass rods to use in your cooking. I'll need to know the diameter or width of your bath. To that, I'll add 1/4 inch and make four rods for your cooking. Please send me a private message here with your address.

Incidentally, I ordered a bag of marbles yesterday. I like your idea of suspending the bags vertically. :smile:

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Unless you are using a circulating pump, you NEED to have the bags vertical.

If your heat transport is not powered, a horizontal bag will lead to much greater temperature differences within the bath - and the idea is to make the temperature as uniform as possible.

Convection currents are a rising and falling phenomenon, and a horizontal barrier prevents them doing their work as well as they could.

Regarding the glass marble/bead inspiration ...

DocDougherty mentioned it back in September '06

Someone else brought it up on 27 Feb 10

And then it was nicely documented by PedroG http://sousvide.wikia.com/wiki/Preventing_bags_from_floating on 15 March 10

With weighted 'sinky' bags, rather than suspending them from above, I find a 'toast rack' to be very cheap, simple and convenient to maintain alignment and some separation between vertical bags.

I have a couple of £1 (about US $1.50) chrome-wire toast racks (from Poundland, a UK retailer), which originally looked very much like this one http://www.kendermar.ie/admin/bgprodimg/36-11Toast%20Rack_46.jpg

Removing every second 'divider' (with a bolt cutter!), gives me slots that are 1 and 3/4 inches (4 cm) wide, a nice size for 'portion' bags.

Simple, cheap and effective. A good combination!


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Unless you are using a circulating pump, you NEED to have the bags vertical.

In my experience, this is not quite true. If the bag is submerged and there is space on all sides and there is sufficient water to food ratio, the convection will result in circulation and the heat distribution will be quite even. The rising of the water from bottom to top will force water to be pulled down which causes general circulation. If the cooker is overloaded this might prevent adequate water flow.

I have tested this countless times in my large rice cooker and the temperature equalizes quite well. I have never found a temperature differential of more than 1 degree fahrenheit if the cooker isn't overloaded once the food has come close to temp. And even 1 degree F is unusual once the food is at temp.

As a result, I am only using circulation when I am pasteurizing near an important temperature boundary.

Best,

Edward

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Does anyone have any thoughts on the Addelice Swid? I'm currently saving (and saving, and saving) for an immersion circulator, and both the Polyscience "Sous Vide Professional" and the Swid appear to be good options. Both have adequate power, are designed for home use, digital controls, PID autotuning, etc. The Swid is 449 Euros, which is significantly cheaper than the $799 for the Polyscience. I haven't yet heard anything bad about the Swid, except that, like the Polyscience, it isn't available yet (at least in 120V form). Addelice predicts 120V availability in "summer," I think.

Preordering Nathan's book took a quite large chunk out of my discretionary funds (I'm really banking on it to be a valuable book with an impact on my cooking for decades to come), but I'm hoping to pick up a circulator later this summer, so any impressions are welcome.

Thanks in advance...


Edited by RDaneel (log)

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... {using a submerged, horizontal bag}

I have tested this countless times in my large rice cooker and the temperature equalizes quite well. I have never found a temperature differential of more than 1 degree fahrenheit if the cooker isn't overloaded once the food has come close to temp. And even 1 degree F is unusual once the food is at temp. ...

Yes, its the 'getting to temperature' phase that will show the most dramatic difference.

And that is going to have the greatest impact if you are ever doing "non-equilibrium" (or short time) sv cooking.

I can load three bags into one of my vertical racks and all three will cook pretty much identically.

Turn that same stack sideways, and the one in the middle is going to take much much longer to get to temperature.

To put it a different way, a sv cooker without powered circulation, has a greater capacity for bags if the bags are mounted vertically. And that capacity difference (before the bath is "overloaded") is at its greatest when trying non-equilibrium or short-time sv cooking.

I don't see any actual advantage to horizontal bags - other than when the only water bath available is somewhat shallow. What insight am I missing?


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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A couple of things.

There are times when you have items that just don't fit vertically even if it isn't a particularly shallow bath OR it might be a hassle to stack things vertically. It isn't that there is an advantage (other than convenience).

As I said, horizontally doesn't require forced circulation if you have sufficient space around and above (and under) the items. Your example is one where you don't have sufficient clearance on all sides for convection to work. I agree that if you are trying to fit a lot of stuff into the bath that vertical placement is best.

I am not suggesting that it is better to have things being horizontal just that it isn't necessarily worth the hassle to be able to get things vertical -- as in many cases it makes no difference.

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Putting milk into bags, or smaller containers would heat faster, but convection in the jug may be sufficient.

Thanks for the great info. I did this today with a half gallon jug and it only took about 15 minutes or so to come up to temperature. Worked very well. Thanks again.

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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.


Nathan

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Preordering Nathan's book took a quite large chunk out of my discretionary funds (I'm really banking on it to be a valuable book with an impact on my cooking for decades to come)

We've been working hard to make it a book that you'll feel good about - and I hope you think so once you see it!


Nathan

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This is aside from the current conversation regarding the verticality of the bag in the bath - (though Nathan's comment regarding natural convection was a very nice 'aha!').

Here's one for y'all - especially the bbq purists - and it is blasphemy to the brethren - I've started doing my pork shoulders Sous Vide. Normally, I would trim, tie, and rub the shoulder, wrap it tightly in Saran Wrap and let it sit for a couple days before smoking. Then Smoke for about 5 hours @ between 230 - 280, then finish in a dutch oven, rendering the remaining fat into the BBQ sauce.

Recently, I've started to put the rub on the shoulder, then vacuum seal the roast. a day before 'cuing, I put the roasts into a water bath @ 140F for 24 hours. pull the roasts out, let rest for a few, then smoke for 3-4 hours. Finishing again in the dutch oven, just because I like how the smoke gets imparted to the sauce.

I started doing this because I could not get my BBQ "done" by the time guests started to arrive. And it works great. I can get a really tender pulled pork thats melt in your mouth good. Not traditional, but I can still get a decent bark on it and a decent smoke ring, and I don't have to watch the fire nearly as much.

On the one hand, I feel guilty for cheating, on the other hand - it's just really tasty. My friend from Georgia even gives it his stamp of approval.

Nathan - I am really looking forward to seeing your book, and I am finding the cash to order a copy. I am glad its a book and not an epub. Books are a paramount technology.

Apologies if my BBQ/Sous Vide method is in any way offensive and/or sloppy cooking. It's just the way I roll...

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Apologies if my BBQ/Sous Vide method is in any way offensive and/or sloppy cooking. It's just the way I roll...

If you're on this thread, you're open to new ideas and new ways of approaching traditional cooking. I don't think you're going to get push back here.

Sounds great.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I suggest also trying doing it in the other direction. Smoke for about 30 minutes at 180 or 190 and then bag the meat and cook it sous-vide. And then finish it off very briefly under the broiler to give it a little crunch. I find that smoking first for 15 minutes to 30 minutes provides great smoke flavor that penetrates very well -- much better than when done the traditional way (When I cook it traditionally, I usually do pork shoulders for 12 to 14 hours somewhere in the 190 to 200 range)

Just a thought.

--E

This is aside from the current conversation regarding the verticality of the bag in the bath - (though Nathan's comment regarding natural convection was a very nice 'aha!').

Here's one for y'all - especially the bbq purists - and it is blasphemy to the brethren - I've started doing my pork shoulders Sous Vide. Normally, I would trim, tie, and rub the shoulder, wrap it tightly in Saran Wrap and let it sit for a couple days before smoking. Then Smoke for about 5 hours @ between 230 - 280, then finish in a dutch oven, rendering the remaining fat into the BBQ sauce.

Recently, I've started to put the rub on the shoulder, then vacuum seal the roast. a day before 'cuing, I put the roasts into a water bath @ 140F for 24 hours. pull the roasts out, let rest for a few, then smoke for 3-4 hours. Finishing again in the dutch oven, just because I like how the smoke gets imparted to the sauce.

I started doing this because I could not get my BBQ "done" by the time guests started to arrive. And it works great. I can get a really tender pulled pork thats melt in your mouth good. Not traditional, but I can still get a decent bark on it and a decent smoke ring, and I don't have to watch the fire nearly as much.

On the one hand, I feel guilty for cheating, on the other hand - it's just really tasty. My friend from Georgia even gives it his stamp of approval.

Nathan - I am really looking forward to seeing your book, and I am finding the cash to order a copy. I am glad its a book and not an epub. Books are a paramount technology.

Apologies if my BBQ/Sous Vide method is in any way offensive and/or sloppy cooking. It's just the way I roll...

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Hi all,

I have been searching through this thread and cannot seem to find a method or recommended quantities, temp and times for making/infusing oils. i am looking to make an oil flavoured with lemon or orange and possibly bergamot later in the season. An recommendations?

Thanks

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