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Qwerty

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment, 2011

1,197 posts in this topic

Wouldn't it work better the other way around? That is, cook her steak at 62C until it's done, then drop the temperature (i.e., add cold water), add the other steak and hold them both at 55C until the second one is done? The first steak won't become "uncooked" this way, but will stay warm. I'm not sure if there's a mushiness risk.

Main issue I can see with that approach is that it would double the total cooking time. Not the end of the world but I figured taking a steak from 55C to 62C would be pretty quick in comparison

rg

I rather recommend Matthew Kayahara's way: cook her steak first at 62°C, then either quick-chill it in ice/water 50/50 and store in the fridge until cooking for both at 55°C, or continue directly by lowering the temperature to 55°C and adding your steak. In contrast to fish, with beef there should be no significant danger of mushiness with 3-4h instead of 1½-2h. Heating time from 55°C to 62°C will not be tremendously shorter than from 5°C to 55°C, see Douglas Baldwin's table 2.2: for a 35mm steak heating from 5°C to 44°C takes 1h30, from 5°C to 60.5°C it takes 1h36. Why? Heat transport is directly proportional to the temperature difference, so with only 7°C temperature difference heat transport is much slower than with 50°C temperature difference. How would you keep your 55°C steak warm while your wife's steak is heated another 1½-2h? You might pre-cook several steaks for your wife in advance and quick-chill them, eventually even store them in the freezer.


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

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ah, flanksteak is a good idea! I used to make that a lot on the grill and somewhat drifted away from it, time to get one again I guess :-)


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I'm curious which cuts of steak you prefer for SV cooking. I prefer to make the "perfect" steak over fire on high heat, but that's not always possible, so I've used my SV machine quite a bit lately.

Last night I made some very nice boneless ribeye steaks, the meat turned out absolutely perfect, but the fat (and there's quite some) turned into a very unappetizing glibber, which probably is not all that surprising. I guess the fatty cuts are for high heat cooking or very long low and slow in the smoker?

I'll try some lean grass fed cuts next, my guess being that they can't dry out in the machine and might turn out just utterly perfect, I might even convince myself to buy a fillet mignon, which I don't usually buy. Or cook a hanger steak for a really long time on low temp.

I always sear in a very hot cast iron pan before slicing and serving, though I might skip that sometime, see what kind of presentation I can create with just a block of med-rare cooked beef.

Short of cutting away most of the fat, do you use fattier parts SV, and if so - how?

When you made the ribeye whose fat you were unhappy with, did you sear it so that the outer surface of the fat was crispy?

For me the perfect ribeye is almost red in the interior and has a nice browned crust. I find that I can achieve this much more consistently via sous-vide than via traditional techniques. For me this is at around 128F (53.3C) with the crust created by a hot torch or a VERY hot pan with no oil for about 30 seconds per side. And when I say very hot, I mean a pan that has been on a high flame for about 10 minutes before the steak goes in.

The result should be a nice browned exterior with somewhat crispy fat. The interior fat will be soft but won't have rendered out. I prefer very thick ribeyes with good marbling but trimmed of huge chunks of fat.

Anyway, that's my take

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I'm curious which cuts of steak you prefer for SV cooking. I prefer to make the "perfect" steak over fire on high heat, but that's not always possible, so I've used my SV machine quite a bit lately.

Last night I made some very nice boneless ribeye steaks, the meat turned out absolutely perfect, but the fat (and there's quite some) turned into a very unappetizing glibber, which probably is not all that surprising. I guess the fatty cuts are for high heat cooking or very long low and slow in the smoker?

I'll try some lean grass fed cuts next, my guess being that they can't dry out in the machine and might turn out just utterly perfect, I might even convince myself to buy a fillet mignon, which I don't usually buy. Or cook a hanger steak for a really long time on low temp.

I always sear in a very hot cast iron pan before slicing and serving, though I might skip that sometime, see what kind of presentation I can create with just a block of med-rare cooked beef.

Short of cutting away most of the fat, do you use fattier parts SV, and if so - how?

When you made the ribeye whose fat you were unhappy with, did you sear it so that the outer surface of the fat was crispy?

For me the perfect ribeye is almost red in the interior and has a nice browned crust. I find that I can achieve this much more consistently via sous-vide than via traditional techniques. For me this is at around 128F (53.3C) with the crust created by a hot torch or a VERY hot pan with no oil for about 30 seconds per side. And when I say very hot, I mean a pan that has been on a high flame for about 10 minutes before the steak goes in.

The result should be a nice browned exterior with somewhat crispy fat. The interior fat will be soft but won't have rendered out. I prefer very thick ribeyes with good marbling but trimmed of huge chunks of fat.

Anyway, that's my take

I'm with e_monster. I like my steak "under" cooked in the water bath and then crusted in the pan or with the torch. I use only grass fed beef and the rib steaks I get are usually nearly as fatty as traditional beef with plenty of marbling. I trim as much of the fat as I can, preferring to leave less than 1/8 of an inch on the outside. If I can trim out the inside chunks fat, I do so, as well. Then, when the steak is ready to take out of the bath, I put a thin coat of grape seed oil in the pan, heat it to the smoke point and put the steak in to get the crust. The thing that works best for me is a bacon press - it helps the make the crust happen evenly. As soon as the meat releases, I flip it and do the other side, getting the weight on as quickly as possible. It is probably not more than about 30-45 seconds a side. If the fat on the outer edges is not crisp enough, my handy Iwatani torch will finish the job in short order.


I've got one body and one life, I'm going to take care of them.

I'm blogging as the Fabulous Food Fanatic here.

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Wouldn't it work better the other way around? That is, cook her steak at 62C until it's done, then drop the temperature (i.e., add cold water), add the other steak and hold them both at 55C until the second one is done? The first steak won't become "uncooked" this way, but will stay warm. I'm not sure if there's a mushiness risk.

Main issue I can see with that approach is that it would double the total cooking time. Not the end of the world but I figured taking a steak from 55C to 62C would be pretty quick in comparison

rg

I rather recommend Matthew Kayahara's way: cook her steak first at 62°C, then either quick-chill it in ice/water 50/50 and store in the fridge until cooking for both at 55°C, or continue directly by lowering the temperature to 55°C and adding your steak. In contrast to fish, with beef there should be no significant danger of mushiness with 3-4h instead of 1½-2h. Heating time from 55°C to 62°C will not be tremendously shorter than from 5°C to 55°C, see Douglas Baldwin's table 2.2: for a 35mm steak heating from 5°C to 44°C takes 1h30, from 5°C to 60.5°C it takes 1h36. Why? Heat transport is directly proportional to the temperature difference, so with only 7°C temperature difference heat transport is much slower than with 50°C temperature difference. How would you keep your 55°C steak warm while your wife's steak is heated another 1½-2h? You might pre-cook several steaks for your wife in advance and quick-chill them, eventually even store them in the freezer.

There are many ways to do this.

In Modernist Cuisine, my new book, the sous vide tables are organized by delta-T - the change in tempertaure you are trying to get. So we give times for things like going from 55C to 62C. For a 1.5" steak that time should be about 50 minutes.

The time to go from 5C to 55C for the same meat would be 1.5 hours, or a bit more than twice the time it takes to go from 55C to 62C.

You have several options:

1. Use one bath, cooking to 55C first, then take one steak out and cook the other to 62C. This is what was originally suggested and it will work fine. The main problem is how to keep the 55C steak warm while the other one cooks.

2. Use two water baths. The time to go from 5C to 55C in a 55C bath is almost the same as 5C to 62C in a 62C bath.

3. Cook the 62C bath first, then once it reaches temperature, pour out the water (or throw some ice in) to get it down to 55C and then cook the 55C steak. This will effectively double the cooking time, but the good news about this approach is that both steaks will be held at 55C and will be done at the right time. You can then sear them together. It will not hurt the 62C steak to be held at 55C for the amount of time it takes the 55C steak to cook.

4. All of the cooking times decrease a lot if the steak is thinner. If you cut the steaks to be 3/4" inch thick (2 cm) rather than 1.5" (4cm) then it would take about 12 minutes to go from 55C to 62C, versus about 21 minutes to go from 5C to 55C.

The reason is what Pedro says - heat conduction


Nathan

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I got some fillet mignon at costco, I usually avoid that cut for price/tase reasons, but I'm curious what it'll do SV.

I also always brown the meat after the SV bath, I take it out of the bath, let it cool a bit in the bag, then it goes in the very hot cast iron pan for about 30 sec each side, which is usually plenty to form a delicious crust, I did not need to get the torch out so far.

But with rib eye, there's too much fat IMO, and cutting it all off is certainly an option, just a bit of an expensive one. That's why I'm looking for other/leaner cuts that people love to make SV. One of the main things I love about SV is that I can prep something hours before dinner, run around with the kids and come home to an almost finished dinner that I can finalize in 30 min or less. Great help AND the meat comes out great!


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Thanks all for the feedback on the steak issues. It sure isn't intuitive to me that it takes about half an hour to take a 1.5" stake from 5 to 55C and then another hour to raise the heat and then get it to 62 so thanks for that info.

rg

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Thanks all for the feedback on the steak issues. It sure isn't intuitive to me that it takes about half an hour to take a 1.5" stake from 5 to 55C and then another hour to raise the heat and then get it to 62 so thanks for that info.

rg

I think you have a typo.

It takes about 1.5 hours to get from 5C to 55C (in a 56C bath).

It takes about 45 to 50 minutes to get from 55C to 62C (in a 63C bath).

So, it is just about half of the cooking time of going all the way from the refridgerator.

Yes, it is definitely counterintuitive. That is why the cooking tables are important.


Nathan

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Sorry I wasn't really clear. I meant that if you had a 5C steak in a 62C bath it is faster to get from 5C to 55C than it is to get from 55C to 62C (although my math was off a bit now that I recheck it). I know that the rate of heat increase will decrease as the temperatures get closer but didn't think it was that dramatic of a difference.

edit: Actually just re-read what I said in the previous post and I was totally wrong. I was thinking in my head one thing and writing another

Can't wait for Modernist Cuisine to land on my door step with a thud!

rg


Edited by roygon (log)

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Deli-Style Roast Beef

I was so happy with how good this turned out that I figured it is worth sharing. It's the most delicious deli roast beef I have ever tasted, it's texture was perfect and the flavor just right. Here's what I did,

1- Brined an eye of round, ~ 2.5 in. in diameter, in 4% solution (included some onion and thyme) for 36 hrs.

2- Seared in grape seed oil and cooled

3- Rubbed with a pounded spice mix (coriander, pepper, bay, smoked paprika and a little salt). Spice was heavy on the coriander.

4- Bagged with a halved/crushed garlic clove and dunked in 190F water for 20 seconds before CSV @140 F (60 C) for 5 - 6 hours

Here it is in a sandwich with horseradish mayo, pickles, lettuce and provolone.

SV Roast Beef.jpg


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Thanks all for the feedback on the steak issues. It sure isn't intuitive to me that it takes about half an hour to take a 1.5" stake from 5 to 55C and then another hour to raise the heat and then get it to 62 so thanks for that info.

rg

I think you have a typo.

It takes about 1.5 hours to get from 5C to 55C (in a 56C bath).

It takes about 45 to 50 minutes to get from 55C to 62C (in a 63C bath).

So, it is just about half of the cooking time of going all the way from the refrigerator.

Yes, it is definitely counterintuitive. That is why the cooking tables are important.

Nathan, could you shorten total cooking time by dropping the second steak in, say the last 15-20 minutes of cooking at 62C and then drop the temp? I would imagine that the overshoot would be minimal that way and may cut some significant time off

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Hi, this is my first post, thank you all for contributing this great forum.

A couple of days ago, looking for a cheap immersion circulator, I stumbled upon a little company which produces equipment for laboratories. After an email exchange, the owner told me he was interested in expanding his market into kitchen equipment but is not really into the world of sous vide and could use some advise.

I emailed him a handful of links to better calibrate his product, (Addelice, Sous vide soupreme, polyscience, etc.) and requested a unit to test and review, once he could provide a finished product. His base model is a simple circulator with 1200 W (@230 volts) a aluminum pump, a water level switch off, and a precision of 0.1 C. He is adding a grid and maybe he will make everything which goes in the water in stainless steel (at the moment the safe switch is in nylon).

The cost should be around 300 euros.

I'm in contact with him and I've already suggested him to make the grid removable (unlike the Swid) to allow a easier cleaning. I'm excited as I think this could be a good opportunity to help shape a product that I would love to have.

Also I'm an architect ho has always dreamt to step in product design, but this is another story....

Which are the feature that you think are most important in an immersion circulator? what would you change in the unit you have tried, to make them better? Do you think a built in timer is necessary?


Dave

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Which are the feature that you think are most important in an immersion circulator? what would you change in the unit you have tried, to make them better? Do you think a built in timer is necessary?

A timer with an alarm, either audible or visual, or both, would be a good idea.

Also perhaps the ability to start the timer at a predetermined temperature to compensate for frozen food at the start. This could be particularly helpful if you were starting a large amount of frozen meat and were guessing at the time necessary to bring the water bath back to normal temperature.

The ability to clamp it to a beer cooler as well as a stock pot or thinner edged containers.

USB port and data capture software to create a log on a computer for record keeping and recipe research. An alternate could be to store data on a smartdrive for later download. This could be useful for restaurants who are required to keep extensive records of their sous vide activities.

Did I hit any good buttons? I am a Professional Engineer with many years of design experience also.


Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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.....

His base model is a simple circulator with 1200 W (@230 volts) a aluminum pump, a water level switch off, and a precision of 0.1 C.

.....

I assume "precision of 0.1°C" means resolution of 0.1°C, which is sufficient.

Temperature stability better than ±0.1°C should be standard in immersion circulators.

Accuracy of 0.1°C or at least 0.2°C (preferably with a calibration certificate) would be very desirable.

An often reported drawback of immersion circulators is noisyness, a pump as silent as possible would be preferable in a kitchen environment.

When adding frozen food, use Douglas Baldwin's table 2.3 for heating times, and be sure water volume is significantly larger than the food (10x). I doubt whether bath temperature will tell you when the phase change is over, and a few degrees temperature drop during the phase change does not matter much (temperature conductivity is chaotic anyway during phase change), 1200W will allow fast recovery. I never used the built in timer of my SVM.

A dual display (set temp. and actual temp.) would be very desirable.


Edited by PedroG (log)

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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thank you all for the replies,

Paulpegg, I think the temperature-set timer is a good idea. After all the circulator must inform me when the temperature is stabilized, so there must be a connection between the timer and the temperature controller and the two must communicate each other. also an universal clamp...

regarding the other features you mention, they are great, but i think they belong to high-end circulator, which can also read additional probes etc. I guess would be very difficult to keep the price in the range of 300 €.

Pedro, sorry, with precision I meant temperature stability. With resolution, do you mean granularity of setting (one click of the button ups 0.1 C)?

Silent pump, it looks that at the moment there are two strategies: Swid has an all in one pump, with a wire alimenting it coming down from the unit. Polyscience Sous Vide Thermal Circulator™ has an axe coming down into the water, but the motor itself is up in the unit (at least this is what appears from pictures on the web). Maybe a solution to noise could be a bigger pump which runs at slower pace?

I have no idea how difficult would be to implement a little program ability in the system. "start timer at 60 C and run for 4 hours, then cool and keep at 50 C indefinitely"

This would be useful to cook something overnight and not to worry about overcooking or reheating.


Dave

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In not a technical person but I would love it if my SVP had a place to plug in a probe that could be inserted into the bagged product with a readout on the display so I could easily keep track of the internal temp of what I am cooking. Does that make sense to any of the techno-geeks?


I've got one body and one life, I'm going to take care of them.

I'm blogging as the Fabulous Food Fanatic here.

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Hows about...

Accuracy / precision.

Rugged design and construction.

Simplicity.

Simple interface with minimal controls.

Intuitive interface.

Label all controls with words rather than icons one has to remember the meaning of.

Display that reads out in words same as above.

I'm wondering how simple and pared down a device could be without sacrificing ruggedness, easy operation and quality.

Various timers and temperature probes, and data logging etc would be good but I believe some of those features may already be available in SVs from: www.fusionchef.us.

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thank you all for the replies,

I have no idea how difficult would be to implement a little program ability in the system. "start timer at 60 C and run for 4 hours, then cool and keep at 50 C indefinitely"

This would be useful to cook something overnight and not to worry about overcooking or reheating.

I'm not sure that this "feature" would be a good thing!

Hopefully after sufficient time @ 60C the food would have been pasteurised so subsequent holding at 50C would not be dangerous, but I'd usually err on the side of caution.

The only protein I cook at 60C is chicken breast and 4 hours would be bordering on too long for a good result in my view. I'm not sure what additional time at 50C would do but I cannot imagine it improving the taste or texture.

Most meat is better cooked at lower temperatures (personal opinion) and holding at 50C for a long time after cooking at <55C would not be a safe thing to do.

The golden rule of SV cookery (deduced from these pages - thanks NathanM and DouglasB) is that <55C 4 hours is the maximum safe cooking time and at 55C or above you can cook for as long as you want to. (56C beef ribs are still pink and medium rare in appearance after 60 hours!)

Cheers,

Peter.

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In not a technical person but I would love it if my SVP had a place to plug in a probe that could be inserted into the bagged product with a readout on the display

I think the Julabo line for cooking has it: http://www.fusionchef.us/ the Diamond model

also Lauda units: http://www.lauda.de/hosting/lauda/website_en.nsf/urlnames/product?OpenDocument&ProductID=090429-20204-CC

But both units are in the range of 1500 €...

Label all controls with words rather than icons one has to remember the meaning of.

I think words are better too.


Dave

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You can program the most advanced types of water baths - most or all of teh major scientific manufacturers have programmable baths.

You can also program combi ovens.

I agree that the proposed program of 60C then 50C is not really helpful.

A better example of programmability is to take tough beef, and hold it for 4 hours at low temp (45C), then move it to 55C. This is, in effect, artifical aging. A programmable bath would make it a set-and-forget operation - an an example you could do this then let it stay at 55C all night so it can run unattended.

If you did this repeatedly (say, for a dish served daily at a restaurant) then having a programmable bath would make sense and save labor.

Combi ovens have even more elaborate programs that let you sear a roast then cook it and hold it - much like a water bath. The programs work very well. Combi ovens are just starting to trickle into

However in most cases you don't really need this.


Nathan

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I have no idea how difficult would be to implement a little program ability in the system. "start timer at 60 C and run for 4 hours, then cool and keep at 50 C indefinitely"

This would be useful to cook something overnight and not to worry about overcooking or reheating.

Apologies, I just wrote the first numbers come to my mind :smile: ...

What I meant is the ability to program a start temperature (eg when the bath is stable), a first time to keep that temperature, then switch to another temperature and keep.

I actually thought it for something less professional: cook your eggs ovenight and find them at the right temperature in the morning, ready to eat...


Dave

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I actually thought it for something less professional: cook your eggs ovenight and find them at the right temperature in the morning, ready to eat...

You don't need to change temperatures for eggs.

I like hard boiled eggs at 175F to 180F (79C to 82C). The lower temperature is better texture but harder to peel. A lot of people like eggs at 149F 65C.

In either case you could put them in at that temp and leave them all night and they would be fine. The texture may change a bit due to the long cooking (I have not tried cooking eggs for 8-12 hours, I will try tonight....

However, whole eggs cooked sous vide take 25 minutes so it is not the end of the world to start them first thing in the AM. Scramled eggs put into a sous vide bag take much shorter time period - 10 minutes or so. So there is not that much reason to start it ahead of time.

In principle you could use a programmable heating & chilling water bath that would keep eggs, or other food at say 2C, then switch over to cook at some specified time so that you're ready in the AM.

This is a common feature in dough proofers used in bakeries or restaurants. They are called retarder-proofers. You set them to be a refriderator, and then at a set time they switch over to proofing temperature. I have one of these. The last raising period for croissants is typically 3 hours, so you can make the proofer switch over at 4AM, then at 7Am you pop them in the oven.


Nathan

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This may already be implied in the design, but I would like a hose and valve to fill it up and drain it.

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Artificial aging / turbo aging / hot aging

You can program the most advanced types of water baths - most or all of teh major scientific manufacturers have programmable baths.

You can also program combi ovens.

I agree that the proposed program of 60C then 50C is not really helpful.

A better example of programmability is to take tough beef, and hold it for 4 hours at low temp (45C), then move it to 55C. This is, in effect, artifical aging. A programmable bath would make it a set-and-forget operation - an an example you could do this then let it stay at 55C all night so it can run unattended.

If you did this repeatedly (say, for a dish served daily at a restaurant) then having a programmable bath would make sense and save labor.

Combi ovens have even more elaborate programs that let you sear a roast then cook it and hold it - much like a water bath. The programs work very well. Combi ovens are just starting to trickle into

However in most cases you don't really need this.

In a post upthread there are links to earlier posts on the subject.

My first PID-controller was a 6-segment-programmable Model 1500A from FreshMealsSolutions, which makes turbo-aging easy. I guess FMS have discontinued this model, but the Auber WS-1500ELPM seems to be similar. I doubt whether it is worthwhile spending more money for this multi-step-programmability feature, you may as well step up manually.


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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