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Qwerty

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment, 2011

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CtznCane, I buy bags off the Internet through a couple of different sites depending on the special they are having at the time. All you need to know is that they will work with FoodSaver type machines (channel vacs). When I first started doing this I emailed the different sites and they sent me samples to try. I get the bags for about 20-30 cents each depending on the size and the deal they are running on shipping. I prefer bags to rolls because it is less tedious when I am vac packing big qualities of foods. Food Saver bags and rolls are much more costly and the "off brands" I buy work just as well.

When I vac pac anything for any purpose, I try to get as much air out as possible. Air in the bag for SV cooking requires that the bag is submerged and air makes this a challenge - even with the rack that comes with the SVS machine, air in the bag makes keeping the food under water a big struggle.

As for spices dry rubs are GREAT. You have to experiment and find your personal preference but salt is always needed. I use granulated garlic like Chris (Penzeys has the best IMHO). For really strong things such as fresh rosemary, you may want to be light handed but with other things (cumin for example) bring it on. SV cooking is a big adventure - just be brave. The thing about raw garlic and olive oil being problematic is easy to work around. Otherwise you can spice liberally or not as your taste dictates.


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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... Hook up your heater to a motor speed controller which can handle the wattage of you electric heating element. Turn the speed control at the lowest before the relay connects, then turn the controller to the highest. After the water bath reaches the set temperature, you can lower the speed control again to maintain temperature. ...
I'm not yet using sous vide but would like to in future, so I have been watching these topics with interest.

I have been assuming people would be adding preheated water from the stove or similar to get their water bath up to about cooking temperature. I have guessed that recirculating heaters are designed to add just enough heat to maintain a given low cooking temperature, and that they are not designed for rapidly generating huge quantities of heat and thus would be running full out for quite a while to bring a large volume of water to cooking temperature. Am I making things too complicated?

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Most circulators are about 1000W, and will heat a stockpot from tap temp to 140F in roughly 15 minutes... rice cookers or slow cookers may be less.. i'm not sure...

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This of course is not a problem for solid state relays; but for a magnetic relay, 1,000 watts can wear out the contact at some point. As you know, a resistive heater is either on or off, and draws the full current load. With a one-degree thermal controller, the relay will be going on/off frequently, especially if your tank is not well insulated.

By using a motor speed controller, you can vary the load from almost zero to full load.

I am going to be using a 1500 watt heater so that I can have the water up to set temperature very quickly, and scale down the heater to about 200 watts for temperature maintenance.

dcarch

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Lowe's home improvement stores, in my area, are closing out the Masterbuilt electric "turkey fryer" units for $24.75, down from $170 list. 1650 watts, rated for use with both water and oil, approximately 5 gallon capacity, heating element on the bottom, etc. I have mine plugged into a RKC 101 PID controller with a K-type thermocouple (switching to a PT100 RTD as soon as it shows up). I'll also be adding a rib-rack type bag holder. I may use the built-in drain pipe to attach a bubbler for forced circulation, but we'll see.

This shows the picture. It looks rather like an SVS, no?

This looks to be a promising platform. I'm doing one of the notorious Ready-Roast birds in there right now.

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I have been assuming people would be adding preheated water from the stove or similar to get their water bath up to about cooking temperature. I have guessed that recirculating heaters are designed to add just enough heat to maintain a given low cooking temperature, and that they are not designed for rapidly generating huge quantities of heat and thus would be running full out for quite a while to bring a large volume of water to cooking temperature. Am I making things too complicated?

My 1000W bucket heater does heat up my stock pot in about 10 minutes and my 20 gallon cooler in 30 minutes. I find it a lot faster to fill them with hot tap water and then let the heater finish the job. My hot tap water is 50C so I can get going right away. you can see my setup on page 137 of the new index or go to my sous vide cooker.

I used a 20 amp SSR which will handle two of these heaters and could probably keep a bathtub at the set point if I wanted to do something that big!! The PID pulses the heater as it reaches the SP and I have seen no overrun at all in either container. Once it reaches the SP the pulses drop off to one or two every few minutes.


Edited by paulpegg (log)

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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Do you suppose you could use SV equipment to get to the optimal rise temperature for bread dough? For breads where the flavor is in the additions, rather than the flour/water/yeast alchemy (which generally wants a slow rise), I was wondering if you could bag up your dough and pop it in the SVS for the appropriate length of time, set at precisely the optimal temperature for yeast growth. You'd have to forcibly submerge the bag of course, but would this work?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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These breads usually need no more than a couple of hours proofing time though. Would it be worth it to bother with bagging the dough and wasting energy to heat the water bath for it? I suppose if you can cut that time by like 50% or more then maybe it is, but I doubt it.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Really, I'd suggest that the sort of breads I'm talking about take 90 minutes tops for the first rise. Then you'd pull it, shape it, and bake it. The ulterior motive here is this (well, besides the purely academic "can it be done" thing): what if you could make up some bread dough, freeze it in big FS bags, and then pop it into the SVS to rise when you want bread? Yeah, it only saves one container to clean, but if you are already going to be using the SV rig later that day for dinner, it might be convenient. And, well, nerdy as hell, which appeals to the engineer in me.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Do you suppose you could use SV equipment to get to the optimal rise temperature for bread dough? For breads where the flavor is in the additions, rather than the flour/water/yeast alchemy (which generally wants a slow rise), I was wondering if you could bag up your dough and pop it in the SVS for the appropriate length of time, set at precisely the optimal temperature for yeast growth. You'd have to forcibly submerge the bag of course, but would this work?

You would have to put the wet mix in a very large bag to allow room for the carbon dioxide that the yeast releases in the fermentation process. The rise generally doubles but the volume of gas released is larger still. The fermented mix would stick to the inside of the bag and be pretty messy. You would probably need several pounds of weight to hold this thing down and you still need up to 24 hours for the fermentation to finish. I think it would be better to let nature take it's course in a covered bowl.


Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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Err, yes and no.

1 Yes it would work, but you really want too make sure the bag won't burst, and the extra handling won't help the dough.

2.You might do better putting the dough in a basin, banneton or pan on a rack over temperature controlled water. Some proof cabinets work like this and the humid atmosphere will help the dough

3. No you won't get good bread freezing ordinary dough unrisen. Freezing dough degrades the yeast unless carefully formulated for the purpose - there are books on the subject. Most frozen bread is par baked and risen, just not browned.

However Dan Lepard has a neat way of freezing sourdough starter, although it takes 48 hours to refresh http://www.danlepard.com/blogs/2010/06/2717/awakening-the-frozen-sourdough/


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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1 Yes it would work, but you really want too make sure the bag won't burst, and the extra handling won't help the dough.

2.You might do better putting the dough in a basin, banneton or pan on a rack over temperature controlled water. Some proof cabinets work like this and the humid atmosphere will help the dough

3. No you won't get good bread freezing ordinary dough unrisen. Freezing dough degrades the yeast unless carefully formulated for the purpose - there are books on the subject. Most frozen bread is par baked and risen, just not browned.

I've frozen the dough I'm talking about here a number of times, so that's not an issue: generally you just need to increase the yeast quantities a bit to make up for die-off. Or allow a longer rise, same effect. As for the size of the bag, I think that would be pretty easy to calculate: if you want the dough to double in size during the rise you just make sure that you only occupy half the volume of the bag with the dough, right? Then, when the bag is full the dough is fully risen: take it out, shape it, proof it in the bread pan, and bake. One pan to clean.

Of course you could do the same thing straight out of the freezer with no SV rig at all, but if you already have the rig out and set up for a meal, it gives the possibility of precisely controlling the temperature the dough rises at. If I could cut a many-hour thaw-and-rise to one (or even less) for basically no cost, why not? The heat transfer from the water bath will thaw the frozen dough much faster than setting it out on the counter or in a proofing chamber. It would be slick to just let it rise in there as well.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Try and see.

Heat transfer threough the dough is quite slow, so faster heat input might overprove the outside while the inside is still frozen.

Better for buns than a big loaf.

The dough will become increasingly fragile as it proves, so you might want to freeze it in foil containers you can bake it in

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Heat transfer threough the dough is quite slow, so faster heat input might overprove the outside while the inside is still frozen.

Better for buns than a big loaf.

The dough will become increasingly fragile as it proves, so you might want to freeze it in foil containers you can bake it in

Interesting point: I was thinking that using the water bath would help to rise the dough more evenly by thawing it faster, but maybe the opposite would occur. This is a dough that gets punched down after the first rise, so I don't think its fragility will matter: popping it out of the bag and shaping it will act as that punch-down, I think.

Edited to clarify what I mean.


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Its more usual to freeze the dough after the first rise and shape.

I've dug out my copy of "Frozen and Refrigerated Doughs and Batters" edited by Kulp, Lorenze and Brummer (ISBN 0-913250-88-0) (AACC 1998).

There they advise thawing in a retarder (33F-40F/1C-4C) (refrigerator) overnight or for up to 24 hours, then proving for 75-90 minutes at between 90F-110F/39C-43C)

They say that the dough has only a life of 10-12 weeks in the freezer, depending on how much fermentation has occurred "With more than 1 hour of fermentation the stability of the dough during storage was reduced to a few weeks.With half an hour of fermentation stability might be satisfactory for three or four months"


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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The bigger issue to me WRT the sealed bags is that only a portion of the CO2 is trapped in the gluten network. I would wager that if a dough doubles, something like 50% of the produced CO2 is escaping rather than being trapped. That gas is going to have to go somewhere....

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Do you suppose you could use SV equipment to get to the optimal rise temperature for bread dough? For breads where the flavor is in the additions, rather than the flour/water/yeast alchemy (which generally wants a slow rise), I was wondering if you could bag up your dough and pop it in the SVS for the appropriate length of time, set at precisely the optimal temperature for yeast growth. You'd have to forcibly submerge the bag of course, but would this work?

I don't know anything about freezing the dough, but a probe style controller hooked up to a light bulb in a insulated box would make a cozy environment for rising the dough, maybe with a computer style pancake fan to avoid hot spots and even out air temperatures. Raising the dough in a bowl with a glass lid on it is very convenient and allows one to see the state of the dough without opening the bowl. I use a glass lid that came with a pan I bought. In a foam insulated box it would take very little energy to keep to some optimal temperature for your purpose.

Contrariwise in a very hot climate, if you want a retarded dough, a refrigeration unit of some sort, perhaps a solid state cooler, could keep temps down and give you a desired long proofing time.

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I have been assuming people would be adding preheated water from the stove or similar to get their water bath up to about cooking temperature. I have guessed that recirculating heaters are designed to add just enough heat to maintain a given low cooking temperature, and that they are not designed for rapidly generating huge quantities of heat and thus would be running full out for quite a while to bring a large volume of water to cooking temperature. Am I making things too complicated?

My 1000W bucket heater does heat up my stock pot in about 10 minutes and my 20 gallon cooler in 30 minutes. I find it a lot faster to fill them with hot tap water and then let the heater finish the job. My hot tap water is 50C so I can get going right away. you can see my setup on page 137 of the new index or go to my sous vide cooker.

I used a 20 amp SSR which will handle two of these heaters and could probably keep a bathtub at the set point if I wanted to do something that big!! The PID pulses the heater as it reaches the SP and I have seen no overrun at all in either container. Once it reaches the SP the pulses drop off to one or two every few minutes.

I wonder how fast your system is ramping up. Cheating physics?? According to my calculations a 20 gallon cooler (about 75 liters) would take almost 3 hours to heat from 22°C to 55°C, and your 5-gallon-stockpot (19 liters) would take nearly 45 minutes. My 2000W FreshmealsMagic takes about 20 minutes to heat 15 liters from 22 to 55°C, and my 400W VEGA stockpot takes 3/4 hours to heat 7-8 liters from 22 to 55°C, which is in accordance with the theoretical calculations. Of course in reality the heating curve flattens with rising temperature as a consequence of heat loss.

gallery_65177_6724_85023.jpg

Click the image to enlarge.


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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I wonder how fast your system is ramping up. Cheating physics??

Sorry Pedro, my off the cuff comments were not based upon a rigorous test of the setup. I built it in November and have no idea what the starting temperature was or how full the containers were and did not record the times for a scientific analysis. I immediately came to the conclusion that it would be easier on the heater and circulator to start with hot water and use the system to top off the temperature, which I have done every time since.

Thank you for your table. It is certainly instructive and will be indispensable if hot tap water is not available.


Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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I wonder how fast your system is ramping up. Cheating physics??

Sorry Pedro, my off the cuff comments were not based upon a rigorous test of the setup. I built it in November and have no idea what the starting temperature was or how full the containers were and did not record the times for a scientific analysis. I immediately came to the conclusion that it would be easier on the heater and circulator to start with hot water and use the system to top off the temperature, which I have done every time since.

Thank you for your table. It is certainly instructive and will be indispensable if hot tap water is not available.

Hi Paul,

if your gallons happened to be quarts, the laws of physics would apply. Or do you really cook in a 75-liter-cooler?

Regards

Pedro


Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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I have a circulator....love it.

But I need a chamber vacuum. (Two Food Saver failures and the desire to seal liquids make this a priority for me.)

Best price/value recommendation?

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Wow, you all confuse me right now. I have bake bread for a few years now with a no knead technique as i always used wet dought.

A- why would i want to seal my dough when the surrounding environment is packed of yeast in the air? To me that is what makes a bread unique to each baker. having. A bread rise in a Sv environment is like having a kid Growing up in a sterile environment... He will end up with no personality, and caracter unless, i could inject some kind of flavor in my bag that would utimately and systematically be measurable as a result

B- Frozen dough, after first rise would always deliver sub par bread as oppose to freeze it after partially baking it( say 2/3) of the time.

C- excuse my ignorance, but if someone could explain to me how in the world a bread would expand( release the co2), in a closed environment such as a sv bag or submerge container.

D- As i am writting this, i still feel that i am missing something here. maybe someone would care to take me step by step on how you would let raise you dough in a sv technique.

Thank you in advance for your reply and my appologies for my lack of visualising how this can be done

Dan

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I have a circulator....love it.

But I need a chamber vacuum. (Two Food Saver failures and the desire to seal liquids make this a priority for me.)

Best price/value recommendation?

Is it for home use? If so, if I were going to buy on I would definitely get this one:

Vacmaster Pro 112 Chamber Vacuum Packaging System.

Alanjesq, another member swears by his. It is a tabletop portable model and costs under $700.


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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WhiteTruffleGirl

I am fortunate to have a Minipack MVS 31 Chamber Vacuum Food Sealer. This may be one of my most used kitchen appliances, as it is used daily. The MVS31 vacuum sealer has one seal bar, the seal bar also functions as a bag trimmer to cut off excess after sealing, digital controls, an electronic pressure sensor, the seal bar is removable (for cleaning and in case it should ever need replacement), stainless steel construction and a stop cycle switch. It has a nice depth for sealing larger items and according to what I read the interior of the chamber is about 12.75" x 11.75" x 6" Deep. It can take bags up to about 12" wide. There are also other sealing bars one can buy with different closing functions. One description I read says "Chamber machines utilize a rotary vane vacuum pump that is capable of pulling a vacuum of about 2-3 torr (99.9% vacuum or 29.8" of mercury.) This is much tighter than an air operated nozzle machine (90% or 27" of mercury) or piston powered home machines (85% or 25" of mercury.)" Another advantage is that you can seal liquids with a chamber vacuum. Also, they are heavy at about 140 pounds so there needs to be a dedicated place in your kitchen.

I saw a couple new ones from on-line stores with one being just a couple dollars over $1,800, another a little over $1,900 and a couple starting over $2,000. Yes, the initial investment is expensive and this may be out of the price range for many or most individuals. I believe there is not only value if you are doing lots of sous vide, but also using a chamber vacuum for sealing and storing new food product bought at stores and saving leftovers helps it become a daily used machine.


Edited by JBailey (log)

"A cloud o' dust! Could be most anything. Even a whirling dervish.

That, gentlemen, is the whirlingest dervish of them all." - The Professionals by Richard Brooks

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