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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 9)


Rahxephon1
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 With SV I can’t check on what is going on inside and the collagen doesn’t break down in the same manner to my liking.  And I don’t get the "cuisson", stock or makings of a sauce. A SV “braise” doesn’t even really constitute a braise since there isn’t the combination of dry and wet heat. It's more of a poach.

I don't understand this. Collagen breaks down according to time and temperature; not according to anyone's liking. An immersion circulator simply lets you control the environment to achieve whatever your liking happens to be. You're also free to check on what's going on inside. I use ziplock bags instead of a vacuum machine; one of the advantages is I can check on the textures during a long cook.

 

And holy wow, do you ever get the makings of a sauce. To such a degree that I've incorporated an SV element in most of my stocks and all my jus/coulis making. Bag juices are like gold, because you lose none of the aromatic compounds. The techniques involved are not the same as with a braise, and that's kind of the point. You have to figure out how to work with the strengths of a technology.

 

Technically yes, SV cooking is poaching (or in some cases is a close cousin). While I love braising, I find myself doing my old braised dishes in parts, typically with a S.V. step because the advantages of the oven (the combination of radiant and moist heat, for example) are outweighed by the disadvantages (inadequate thermostat). I can't get the oven as low as I want. A combi or cvap oven would be a totally different story ... If I had an oven that was reasonably accurate and that could hold temperature down below 150F, I'd probably do more traditional braising. These ovens aren't terribly stable, but a heavy braising pot events out the bumps well enough. Unfortunately, as of this writing, such ovens are way out of my reach (as S.V. was a few years ago).

 

Re: ovens with thermostats ... my point is that this is a 20th century invention. Considering that people have been cooking for thousands of years, it's not significantly more new-fangled than an immersion circulator. Not that this distinction matters to me. But it might matter to people who make appeals to tradition or worse ... "authenticity." 

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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I don't understand this. Collagen breaks down according to time and temperature; not according to anyone's liking. 

The collagen breaks down better at temperatures above 160F.  I've had SV shanks cooked in the 72hr/144F where the tendons were soft, but not completely melted and the gelatinous tendon is not a flavor/texture that I crave.  Furthermore, the juices had less body than the oven braise at a higher temp 225F (braising liquid itself was at 180).

While ziplocks allow for checking in on the product, I hesitate to call it bonafide SV if there is not a vacuum.

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The collagen breaks down better at temperatures above 160F.  I've had SV shanks cooked in the 72hr/144F where the tendons were soft, but not completely melted and the gelatinous tendon is not a flavor/texture that I crave.  Furthermore, the juices had less body than the oven braise at a higher temp 225F (braising liquid itself was at 180).

While ziplocks allow for checking in on the product, I hesitate to call it bonafide SV if there is not a vacuum.

So cook it at a higher temperature.

 

We all want to seek out what is appropriate for our tastes.

 

The thing is when you get the temperature/time combination right for your tastes you can replicate it perfectly every time.

 

Sounds a bit like developing skill in cooking to me.

 

After many attempts I can cook poached eggs perfectly to my tastes both conventionally and sous vide. Conventionally it takes me about ten minutes and is a process that I apply consistently. Sometimes I use sous vide to do this if I want many eggs done perfectly. Most often for one egg I use a saucepan and simmering water. Am I a bad cook because I use sous vide cooking when appropriate? I'll let the question hang....

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
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The collagen breaks down better at temperatures above 160F.  I've had SV shanks cooked in the 72hr/144F where the tendons were soft, but not completely melted and the gelatinous tendon is not a flavor/texture that I crave.  Furthermore, the juices had less body than the oven braise at a higher temp 225F (braising liquid itself was at 180).

While ziplocks allow for checking in on the product, I hesitate to call it bonafide SV if there is not a vacuum.

Collagen breaks down faster above 160F. Not better. But as Nickrey says, choose whatever temperature you like. 

 

The juices will indeed have less body because they haven't been reduced. This has upsides and downsides. I depend a lot less on reduction than I did ten years ago, because I've become aware of all the flavors lost through the process, but you can certainly reduce bag juices to any degree you like.

 

As you said, using ziplock bags isn't "bonafide SV." We call it SV because we're stuck with an inaccurate name for the process, and because the proposed alternatives have been clumsy. Technically speaking, what I do is not SV, while making pickles in a vacuum bag in the fridge is. I use ziplocks for a lot of reasons (in addition to the price and size of a vacuum machine). As do the chefs / researchers at the International Culinary Center.

 

What we're all really talking about is cooking with a low temperature delta in a sealed, humid environment. Vacuum bags may or may not be part of this. A circulator may or may not be part of this. For many things you can get the same effect with a combi oven, and while this is even farther removed from SV, it's really the same cooking technique.

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Notes from the underbelly

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I've been wanting to try this out for a while. It worked extremely well.

 

Took inner skirt steak and trimmed off all non meat (membrane, etc). I then oriented them in parallel and doused them in a transglutaminese slurry. Rolled the product in PVE kitchen plastic to resemble a fillet and left to set in the refrigerator. I then vacuum sealed it and froze the product (related to time to conduct experiment rather than part of the process).

 

Cooked the meat sous vide at 57C for 32 hours.

 

Removed from bag (reserving juices for a future sauce). Patted dry and cut into medallions. The meat at this stage is pictured below.

 

Frankenbeef.jpg

 

Heated cast iron skillet to extremely hot on wok burner. Rubbed surface of meat with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt then seared before serving.

 

Flavour was exceptional, as you'd expect. Because the fibers were aligned along the cut it was easy to slice through. Texture was toothsome but not chewy.

 

A winner all around (except for trimming the meat, which was fiddly and time-consuming) 

Edited by nickrey (log)
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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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Nice indeed.

 

Brings up the issue of SV of rolled meat again...where the outside of the meat is made into the inside which raises the risk of bacterial growth during the SV.  Did you dip it in boiling water or anything prior to the transglutaminase?  Any funny smells?

 

I've done rolled meats with no blanch and no problem, but we've had discussions before about SV gone wrong in this sort of thing.

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Shouldn't the sanitation be fine if you cooked to pasteurize to the core and the core isn't in the danger zone for too long?

It should. I calculated with SV Dash that a 3" diameter cylinder would pasteurize at that temperature in 3 hours, 20 minutes. 

 

At 3.5", you start getting into times greater than 4 hours. 

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There was no extra prep such as searing or dipping in boiling water. No nasty smells. No ill effects. It was in 57C for 32 hours so I'm fairly sure all the nasties would have been killed off (to misquote Jacques Pepin, if they lived they probably deserved to make me ill).

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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The issues you could conceivably face with long pasteurization time are with bacterial toxins (which can be heat tolerant) and with spoilage bacteria (which are much less understood than pathogens). Suppose, for example, you had rolled meat to a cylinder several inches thick, and there were portions from the outside that would take 6 hours to pasteurize. Those could easily spend enough time in a high-growth temperature range to create nasty stuff. There are some threads about noxious green goo in sous-vide bags, which is probably the result of spoilage bacteria. I haven't heard of pathogenic toxins building up in this situation. But it could happen.

 

I can't see the scale of the roll you made. I'm guessing it's around 3" diameter, which is perfectly safe. Much bigger and you could be inviting problems.

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Ive finally started to use the VacMaster VP215.

 

Oiled it up and have been working w the sealing times

 

here is what the default seal looks like :

 

 

VP Seal.jpg

 

based on what the manual said, ie " if the seal appears white or milky, decrease the seal time by 0.1 sec "

 

which I did and got the same type of seal  3 mil bags default 1.2 sec, second try 1.1 sec.

 

I use the Weston sealer, and its seal is clear completely across the bag w no 'milky' seal above and below the clear seal

 

the seal I have w the VP is clear across the bag, w sl rough and  (?) milkey seals above and below the clear seal

 

is this what Im looking for or do I have to fiddle and faddle to get rid of the area above and below the clear seal.

 

many thanks

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Hello, new chum here. I some times use an old cloths drier to tumble marinate meat.

This last time, due to unavoidable distraction, the bag developed some holes and the meat (just) contacted the drum. The drum's not so clean.

 

I am seeking the best path to follow. Either

 

1    Use the oven

 

2    Blow torch thoroughly. Is this better than an oily sizzle/sear.

 

3    Cook at 145*F rather than 140*F . I wouldn't go warmer. 

 

4    Or bin and get an other, I would like to proceed with caution. If one is aware it’s worth a try.

 

I’ll take all suggestions This is only for myself so no other is at risk.

Edited by otzi (log)
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Welcome to eGullet, otzi. I have a couple of followup questions, while we wait for someone knowledgeable about sous vide to answer.

1. What particular meat (cut and type) are you working with?

2. What, exactly, is 'not so clean' about your old clothes tumbler? It sounds like oil, possibly? What else do you use it for?

3. Why do you tumble-marinate meat? This is a new technique to me; I'd like to learn more. :smile:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Other than being way over sweet -- from my experiments, I don't see how to vacuum seal on the highest setting without filling the whole inside of the vacuum chamber with ice cream mix.

 

I have even tried freezing the mix first.

 

When I've made creme anglaise in a water bath I just used a zip lock bag. Fill sink with water. Fill bag with custard ingredients. Leave bag open while carefully lowering (not all the way, obviously) into the sink. Digsville: displacement. Seal bag. You should be enough to push out enough air that the bag isn't overwhelmed by the urge to float.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I want to share a strategy I've worked out for determining cooking times. This is all about short-cooking (without added time for tenderization).

 

When I first got the Sous-Vide Dash app, I was confused that the suggested times were all much longer than times given in the tables in Modernist Cuisine. In some cases the differences were close to 50%. I exchanged some emails with Darren Vengroff, the app's developer, who explained that the app strictly follows the best models for heat propagation. The issue is the long tail of the curves: you might get within 1/2 degree after 30 minutes, but that last final bit can take a long time.

 

This is why Myhrvold recommends setting the circulator to 1°C higher than the target temperature. But I find that this still leads to surprisingly long cooking times.

 

It occurred to me that we habitually use the core temperature as the target temperature. This makes sense in cases where you need to pasteurize food all the way to the core, but in practice it means either 1) if you set the water bath temperature higher than the target, you will have a gradient, and every part of food besides the center will be cooked higher than the core, or 2) if you set the water bath exactly to the core temperature, cooking times will be extremely long.

 

After a bit of experimenting, I've started following the Mhyrvold recommendation of setting the bath 1°C higher than the target temperature, but then in the SV dash app, setting the core temperature 1/2°C LOWER than the target temperature. This achieves two things. It significantly shortens cooking times, actually bringing them into a range that's roughly similar to the MC tables. And the gradient, if it's perceptible at all, puts a larger portion of the food close to the target temperature.

 

Of course I'm not talking about huge gradients like you see in conventional cooking. I don't notice this kind of gradient at all when cooking beef. But with salmon, it's perceptible, and can actually be pleasant. You get a very subtle range of textures, from less cooked than the target at the center to slightly more cooked at the edge. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I tried my hands on sous vide lobster tail for the first time the other day. I killed the lobster, twisted the tails off, and briefly steeped them for two minutes to be able to take the meat of of the shell. I put the tails in the fridge for a couple of hours, after which I put the tail meat in a ziploc bag with some oil and got a pretty tight seal with water displacements (didn't want to crush the meat in the sealer). I cooked them for 22 minutes at 49 C. I increased the recommended cooking time (Modernist Cuisine) from 15 to 22 minutes, since I didn't want to take the chance of them being undercooked, and I figured maybe the seal wasn't good enough.

 

Anyway, I chilled them in iced water and once again refridgerated them (I brought them to a dinner party). To my surprise, they didnt really come out tender, there was no "melt in the mouth" or anything. They were okay to eat (with aioli), but I found them a bit chewy and almost a bit crunchy. What went wrong? From what I've read, 49 C (or even 46 C) should be perfect for lobster.

Edited by cookalong (log)
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