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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment, 2011


Qwerty
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i do a lot of the SV work over the weekend or so and then chill/save/freeze the bags for weeknight dinners.

I think the "save" feature of SV makes it a powerful cooking tool for any kitchen.

a small amount of work on the weekend depending on your SV size can make weeks of very fine food.

set up a salad and Boom! dinner.

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I can get my small electric oven to maintain 60C +/-2C and I'm thinking of cooking beef at this temperature. Has anyone tried "sv" without the bags and water?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I can get my small electric oven to maintain 60C +/-2C and I'm thinking of cooking beef at this temperature. Has anyone tried "sv" without the bags and water?

One issue would be the cooking times. Air is rather poor at transferring heat -- so cooking times will be radically longer if you are cooking in air rather than water. So, you would need tables for safe cooking times and the time to get the food to temperature since none of the existing tables would apply. You would need to be especially careful about the length of time that the food would spend in the danger zone. There are some Heston Blumenthal recipes that do low temperature cooking in that range in the air -- all of them involve sterilizing the outer surfaces before cooking. (Either by blasting with a blowtorch or dunking in boiling water).

With an oven that goes that low and has such small temperature swings, you could probably do some pretty decent sous-vide with the bags and water in a dutch oven. Pedro used to use a set-up like that pretty successfully if I recall.

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Whilst this is a bit of a general cooking question rather than sous vide specific, I thought it would be best to ask in here as so many knowledgeable people frequent this thread!

So the thought process is that cooking low and slow (~56c) will turn a tough piece of meat into a tender one over time due to enzymatic action, whereas cooking at a higher temperature will cause collagen to turn into gelatin due to the heat.

So my question is this - is the heat method for the conversion/tenderising only applicable for higher heats? For example, let's say I have a fully cooked but tough piece of beef that has been taken from room temp to 190f internal VERY quickly. If I then SV it at 56c for 48 hours, will it be tender? Or would the enzymes have been denatured and the heat too low for the collagen-gelatin conversion thus it would just end up dry AND tough?

I suppose I can just test this myself, and I probably will... I just thought it would be an interesting discussion ;)

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OK, an idea for starting experiments would be:

Boneless short ribs, bag and place in cold water bath, set temperature to 59oC (ideally, the temperature rise from ambient to 59oC would be about 4 hours), after 12 hours set temperature to 75oC, 3 hours later sear and serve.

To proceed more scientifically, cook four equal cuts at 59oC for 6 / 12 / 24 / 48 hours and compare tenderness of meat (disregarding parts with thick connective tissue). With the best choice of first stage of cooking, compare 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 hours of second stage cooking at 75oC comparing tenderness of connective tissue and juiciness.

A more simple first pilot would be to cook two identical cuts, one as you first proposed and the second for the same total time at 59C for the whole 15 hours. This would allow a fairly pure test of the second, higher temperature, cooking.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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Whilst this is a bit of a general cooking question rather than sous vide specific, I thought it would be best to ask in here as so many knowledgeable people frequent this thread!

So the thought process is that cooking low and slow (~56c) will turn a tough piece of meat into a tender one over time due to enzymatic action, whereas cooking at a higher temperature will cause collagen to turn into gelatin due to the heat.

So my question is this - is the heat method for the conversion/tenderising only applicable for higher heats? For example, let's say I have a fully cooked but tough piece of beef that has been taken from room temp to 190f internal VERY quickly. If I then SV it at 56c for 48 hours, will it be tender? Or would the enzymes have been denatured and the heat too low for the collagen-gelatin conversion thus it would just end up dry AND tough?

I suppose I can just test this myself, and I probably will... I just thought it would be an interesting discussion ;)

At 190oF (88oC) all enzymes have been denatured and inactivated, the meat dry and and the muscle proteins densely compacted. -> irrecoverable.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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I can get my small electric oven to maintain 60C +/-2C and I'm thinking of cooking beef at this temperature. Has anyone tried "sv" without the bags and water?

One issue would be the cooking times. Air is rather poor at transferring heat -- so cooking times will be radically longer if you are cooking in air rather than water. So, you would need tables for safe cooking times and the time to get the food to temperature since none of the existing tables would apply. You would need to be especially careful about the length of time that the food would spend in the danger zone. There are some Heston Blumenthal recipes that do low temperature cooking in that range in the air -- all of them involve sterilizing the outer surfaces before cooking. (Either by blasting with a blowtorch or dunking in boiling water).

With an oven that goes that low and has such small temperature swings, you could probably do some pretty decent sous-vide with the bags and water in a dutch oven. Pedro used to use a set-up like that pretty successfully if I recall.

I agree with e-monster, you can easily do sous vide in your oven with a water pot. If your oven is too small for an 8L pot, a smaller one may do (I started SV in an oven with a 2.5L pot); in my experience bags tend to float in a shallow pot where they cannot be positioned vertically, so you might weigh down the bags by including marbles or glass beads.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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OK, an idea for starting experiments would be:

Boneless short ribs, bag and place in cold water bath, set temperature to 59oC (ideally, the temperature rise from ambient to 59oC would be about 4 hours), after 12 hours set temperature to 75oC, 3 hours later sear and serve.

To proceed more scientifically, cook four equal cuts at 59oC for 6 / 12 / 24 / 48 hours and compare tenderness of meat (disregarding parts with thick connective tissue). With the best choice of first stage of cooking, compare 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 hours of second stage cooking at 75oC comparing tenderness of connective tissue and juiciness.

A more simple first pilot would be to cook two identical cuts, one as you first proposed and the second for the same total time at 59C for the whole 15 hours. This would allow a fairly pure test of the second, higher temperature, cooking.

I agree. Cooking times for the two stage method would have to be determined. MC 5.44 recommends 60oC/72h for short ribs. Braising recipes recommend up to 12h at 80oC. I guess in the two stage approach both times can be reduced, but how much? A combined approach could also be SV at 59-60oC, optionally chill and store, then sear and continue as a traditional braise. Note that heating very gently and gradually may prevent the myoglobin pigment from denaturing to hemichrome (McGee, On Food and Cooking, p.163-164), resulting in a well-done yet pink (and fork-tender and succulent) meat.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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Thanks to all who replied regarding my faulty Swid. I tested the fuse and it was working, but Addelice sent me this email:

"please send the unit back to our HK warehouse (address below). We will fix your machine immediately and send it back to you from HK"

Looks like Im good to go, no mention about the cost of fixing it, so fingers crossed?

If anyone is interested to read about my (few) experiences with SV, feel free to check out my blog: http://wishihadafoodpun.wordpress.com/home-cooked/

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Whilst this is a bit of a general cooking question rather than sous vide specific, I thought it would be best to ask in here as so many knowledgeable people frequent this thread!

So the thought process is that cooking low and slow (~56c) will turn a tough piece of meat into a tender one over time due to enzymatic action, whereas cooking at a higher temperature will cause collagen to turn into gelatin due to the heat.

So my question is this - is the heat method for the conversion/tenderising only applicable for higher heats? For example, let's say I have a fully cooked but tough piece of beef that has been taken from room temp to 190f internal VERY quickly. If I then SV it at 56c for 48 hours, will it be tender? Or would the enzymes have been denatured and the heat too low for the collagen-gelatin conversion thus it would just end up dry AND tough?

I suppose I can just test this myself, and I probably will... I just thought it would be an interesting discussion ;)

At 190oF (88oC) all enzymes have been denatured and inactivated, the meat dry and and the muscle proteins densely compacted. -> irrecoverable.

So (for the sake of discussion) if I were to purchase a pre-cooked packet of beef/pork ribs that is vacuum packed in a "BBQ Sauce" that I KNOW are tough straight out of the packet (and definitely has already been cooked to well done temperatures), sous videing them for 48-72 hours at ~56c would not yield a more tender product?

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Whilst this is a bit of a general cooking question rather than sous vide specific, I thought it would be best to ask in here as so many knowledgeable people frequent this thread!

So the thought process is that cooking low and slow (~56c) will turn a tough piece of meat into a tender one over time due to enzymatic action, whereas cooking at a higher temperature will cause collagen to turn into gelatin due to the heat.

So my question is this - is the heat method for the conversion/tenderising only applicable for higher heats? For example, let's say I have a fully cooked but tough piece of beef that has been taken from room temp to 190f internal VERY quickly. If I then SV it at 56c for 48 hours, will it be tender? Or would the enzymes have been denatured and the heat too low for the collagen-gelatin conversion thus it would just end up dry AND tough?

I suppose I can just test this myself, and I probably will... I just thought it would be an interesting discussion ;)

At 190oF (88oC) all enzymes have been denatured and inactivated, the meat dry and and the muscle proteins densely compacted. -> irrecoverable.

So (for the sake of discussion) if I were to purchase a pre-cooked packet of beef/pork ribs that is vacuum packed in a "BBQ Sauce" that I KNOW are tough straight out of the packet (and definitely has already been cooked to well done temperatures), sous videing them for 48-72 hours at ~56c would not yield a more tender product?

No. (Try it, then you will know and have something to report).

Edited by PedroG (log)

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

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have any SV-ers here had 'bag failure' due to too high a water bath temp? this was mentioned in MC and wondered

what brand do you use? have they 'melted?'

i decided on the Weston system

rather than FoodSaver after seeing an America's Test Kitchen ep. on this and freezer burn. the Weston bags are said to be thicker and did not get freezer burn. i buy green coffee from Sweet Maria's and though this feature would be worth it to me to store GB's in the freezer for at least a year.

i emailed weston and they said they dont SV but not to take their bags above 200.

does anyone use the weston system? in your system have you had bag failure due to tem?

many thanks

I have been using these bags in my Foodsaver 2460 with excellent results. They have a mesh strip down the middle which helps control liquid migration to the pump and they are almost half the cost of the Weston's and 1/3 the cost of Foodsaver bags. I have used them up to 85C with not a single failure.

I ordered some of these bags a couple months ago to try them out since they are cheaper than the regular FS bags. Unfortunately I cannot say I love them and I am sure I won't be ordering them again. It is possible that they work better with different FS models, but I am not sure (I have the FoodSaver Professional III) The material they are made of is a bit odd and causes them to wrinkle easily. This means I have to be extra careful when folding them back to add any items to them. Wrinkles = problems seasling. My biggest problem with them though is that they just do not seal as well, especially in the area where the "VacStrip" is located even if the bag is totally dry. I basically have to triple or quadruple seal every bag before dropping it in the SV tub. Sure enough usually the frist 2 seals are breached after the item is done cooking. Using a regular FS bag is far more efficient IMHO.

On the plus side, the VacStrip is a little better at handling items with liquids included.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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have any SV-ers here had 'bag failure' due to too high a water bath temp? this was mentioned in MC and wondered

what brand do you use? have they 'melted?'

i decided on the Weston system

rather than FoodSaver after seeing an America's Test Kitchen ep. on this and freezer burn. the Weston bags are said to be thicker and did not get freezer burn. i buy green coffee from Sweet Maria's and though this feature would be worth it to me to store GB's in the freezer for at least a year.

i emailed weston and they said they dont SV but not to take their bags above 200.

does anyone use the weston system? in your system have you had bag failure due to tem?

many thanks

I have been using these bags in my Foodsaver 2460 with excellent results. They have a mesh strip down the middle which helps control liquid migration to the pump and they are almost half the cost of the Weston's and 1/3 the cost of Foodsaver bags. I have used them up to 85C with not a single failure.

I ordered some of these bags a couple months ago to try them out since they are cheaper than the regular FS bags. Unfortunately I cannot say I love them and I am sure I won't be ordering them again. It is possible that they work better with different FS models, but I am not sure (I have the FoodSaver Professional III) The material they are made of is a bit odd and causes them to wrinkle easily. This means I have to be extra careful when folding them back to add any items to them. Wrinkles = problems seasling. My biggest problem with them though is that they just do not seal as well, especially in the area where the "VacStrip" is located even if the bag is totally dry. I basically have to triple or quadruple seal every bag before dropping it in the SV tub. Sure enough usually the frist 2 seals are breached after the item is done cooking. Using a regular FS bag is far more efficient IMHO.

On the plus side, the VacStrip is a little better at handling items with liquids included.

I think maybe the 2460's clamp is better at making a good seal. I have never had one fail in hundreds of bags. At first I double sealed but after none failed I just seal once.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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Thanks to all who replied regarding my faulty Swid. I tested the fuse and it was working, but Addelice sent me this email:

"please send the unit back to our HK warehouse (address below). We will fix your machine immediately and send it back to you from HK"

Looks like Im good to go, no mention about the cost of fixing it, so fingers crossed?

If anyone is interested to read about my (few) experiences with SV, feel free to check out my blog: http://wishihadafoodpun.wordpress.com/home-cooked/

Hi,i was planing of buying one Swid from Addelice too, i met them at the SIRHA fair in Lyon, my biggest concern is there is no telephone number to contact them and after sending a few mail with questions i finally got my answers then i stumbled on this youtube video...and now you complaining...this is not good, i think ill quit my order! http://youtu.be/w-zq8qrfT9Q

Edited by afoodie (log)
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Thanks to all who replied regarding my faulty Swid. I tested the fuse and it was working, but Addelice sent me this email:

"please send the unit back to our HK warehouse (address below). We will fix your machine immediately and send it back to you from HK"

Looks like Im good to go, no mention about the cost of fixing it, so fingers crossed?

If anyone is interested to read about my (few) experiences with SV, feel free to check out my blog: http://wishihadafoodpun.wordpress.com/home-cooked/

Hi,i was planing of buying one Swid from Addelice too, i met them at the SIRHA fair in Lyon, my biggest concern is there is no telephone number to contact them and after sending a few mail with questions i finally got my answers then i stumbled on this youtube video...and now you complaining...this is not good, i think ill quit my order! http://youtu.be/w-zq8qrfT9Q

Looking at that clip, it seems to be the same problem that we had when my brother brought his SWID around to my place for the first time (which was the first time he has used it as well). We had not filled the water level to a sufficient height and it did all sorts of strange things. Once the water was filled appropriately it worked just fine. That video could represent an operator error rather than a valid complaint.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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Hi,i was planing of buying one Swid from Addelice too, i met them at the SIRHA fair in Lyon, my biggest concern is there is no telephone number to contact them and after sending a few mail with questions i finally got my answers then i stumbled on this youtube video...and now you complaining...this is not good, i think ill quit my order! http://youtu.be/w-zq8qrfT9Q

The unit in that video is definitely a defective unit, I have never had such issues with my Swid.

I agree that not having a telephone number is a little scary, and the Addelice website isnt very updated or well made either. I was starting to get pretty worried, but eventually they took slightly over a day to reply my email.

I think the problem is that if you want to go to the immersion circulator route, you dont really have many other options in the low-mid price bracket. Its closest competitor is the Polyscience Sous Vide Professional, which costs a good amount of money more than the Swid

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I think the problem is that if you want to go to the immersion circulator route, you dont really have many other options in the low-mid price bracket. Its closest competitor is the Polyscience Sous Vide Professional, which costs a good amount of money more than the Swid

I would have to disagree slightly. The Fresh Meals Magic system from Fresh Meals Solutions is essentially an immersion circulator, although it uses a bubbler instead of a pump. I don't know what the price difference is, but the service from Fresh Meals Solutions is generally regarded as exemplary.

Bob

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Mmm. I stand corrected then, Ive seen pictures of the FMM but I never realised it was a heater, I always assumed it was a giant, cool-looking circulator. I have an older version of the SWM controller and I agree that their customer service is top notch

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Whilst this is a bit of a general cooking question rather than sous vide specific, I thought it would be best to ask in here as so many knowledgeable people frequent this thread!

So the thought process is that cooking low and slow (~56c) will turn a tough piece of meat into a tender one over time due to enzymatic action, whereas cooking at a higher temperature will cause collagen to turn into gelatin due to the heat.

So my question is this - is the heat method for the conversion/tenderising only applicable for higher heats? For example, let's say I have a fully cooked but tough piece of beef that has been taken from room temp to 190f internal VERY quickly. If I then SV it at 56c for 48 hours, will it be tender? Or would the enzymes have been denatured and the heat too low for the collagen-gelatin conversion thus it would just end up dry AND tough?

I suppose I can just test this myself, and I probably will... I just thought it would be an interesting discussion ;)

At 190oF (88oC) all enzymes have been denatured and inactivated, the meat dry and and the muscle proteins densely compacted. -> irrecoverable.

So (for the sake of discussion) if I were to purchase a pre-cooked packet of beef/pork ribs that is vacuum packed in a "BBQ Sauce" that I KNOW are tough straight out of the packet (and definitely has already been cooked to well done temperatures), sous videing them for 48-72 hours at ~56c would not yield a more tender product?

No. (Try it, then you will know and have something to report).

Thanks Pedro!

So here is what I have planned for the experiment... I want to lay it out before I do it to avoid being crucified for improper procedures ;)

1.) Purchase 2 packs of the pre-cooked ribs (vacuum sealed in plastic with barbecue sauce).

2.) Open each pack, cut off 1 rib from each and taste to ensure they are indeed fully cooked and TOUGH (as they always are straight out of the pack)

3.) Vacuum seal both, put one in the refrigerator and one in a 56c water bath.

4.) Cook the ribs SV for 72 hours, and for the last 1 hour, put the package that was in the refrigerator in the bath to bring it up to the same temp as the SV cooked pack.

5.) Taste and see if SVing a tough precooked piece or meat does or does not tenderise it.

?

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Thanks Pedro!

So here is what I have planned for the experiment... I want to lay it out before I do it to avoid being crucified for improper procedures ;)

1.) Purchase 2 packs of the pre-cooked ribs (vacuum sealed in plastic with barbecue sauce).

2.) Open each pack, cut off 1 rib from each and taste to ensure they are indeed fully cooked and TOUGH (as they always are straight out of the pack)

3.) Vacuum seal both, put one in the refrigerator and one in a 56c water bath.

4.) Cook the ribs SV for 72 hours, and for the last 1 hour, put the package that was in the refrigerator in the bath to bring it up to the same temp as the SV cooked pack.

5.) Taste and see if SVing a tough precooked piece or meat does or does not tenderise it.

?

That sound very reasonable. Maybe it would be sufficient to buy 1 pack and do the experiment with two one-rib-cuts? Looking forward to your results.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

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Cooked up a Chicken Caesar salad last night, thought I'd share the sous vide cooked components with you.

I was doing the chicken breast for a few hours at 61.3C. Decided to add two eggs into the cooker in their shells to pasteurise them for the sauce and also give an approximation to coddled eggs.

Took the eggs out of the cooker, cracked them into a container (neither the whites nor the yolks had solidified so it was perfect). Added 120ml extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 1 garlic clove, and 3 anchovy fillets. Blitzed mixture with Bamix to make the dressing. Dressing was all it should be: creamy, tangy, smooth, and bitey all at the same time. Ddin't add salt because it had salt from the anchovies and was going to be added to bacon and parmesan, both of which are salty.

Served with seared sous vide chicken, shredded cos lettuce, cooked and sliced bacon, toasted sourdough rye bread broken up into small croutons, and parmesan shaved with a vegetable slicer.

Worked a treat.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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Thanks Pedro!

So here is what I have planned for the experiment... I want to lay it out before I do it to avoid being crucified for improper procedures ;)

1.) Purchase 2 packs of the pre-cooked ribs (vacuum sealed in plastic with barbecue sauce).

2.) Open each pack, cut off 1 rib from each and taste to ensure they are indeed fully cooked and TOUGH (as they always are straight out of the pack)

3.) Vacuum seal both, put one in the refrigerator and one in a 56c water bath.

4.) Cook the ribs SV for 72 hours, and for the last 1 hour, put the package that was in the refrigerator in the bath to bring it up to the same temp as the SV cooked pack.

5.) Taste and see if SVing a tough precooked piece or meat does or does not tenderise it.

?

That sound very reasonable. Maybe it would be sufficient to buy 1 pack and do the experiment with two one-rib-cuts? Looking forward to your results.

But this way I get to eat 2 packets of ribs... :cool:

I will purchase them and start it today, thanks again Pedro!

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Hey all - I've been reading the forums here at eGullet daily for about a year or so and finally decided to join. I'm planning to join the rank of sous vide cooks (home only - i'm not a pro) soon - I finished reading Douglas Baldwin's book (as well as many many pages on this and other online forums) last week, and am expecting delivery of my SVM/FMM system today or tomorrow.

Today I did a search for sous vide applications for my smartphone (android) and found two options in the market, both of which claim to have time/temp tables for many different cuts of different proteins - one is "Sous Vide" by Primolicious (I believe this one is available for the iphone as well) and the other is "Sous Vide Tables" by Hellbent Ventures.

I plan to rely heavily on Douglas Baldwin's tables while I get my feet wet in sous vide cooking, but it would be convenient to have a quick reference on my phone as well - I wonder if any of you have any experience with either of these apps? If so, any thoughts on the accuracy/reliability of the information?

Thanks for your help and I look forward to continuing to learn from eGullet!

-- Seth

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