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Mjx

Chamber Vacuum Sealers, 2014–

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Me again with as mall but hopefully not too stupid question: i have read the very interesting Dave Arnold article on cooking issues concerning the level of vacuum changing the texture of meats. My question now: how do i define the vacuum level on chamber vacuum sealers? Since i do not see any Option on programming the vacuum percentage on most machines we are talking about. Is this done through the time or how? Thanks a Lot!

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do you have a ref. to that article ?

 

thanks

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thanks again.  now to figure out the 90 % vacuum on my VacMaster

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I finally received my 35XP a few weeks ago and have been using it extensively. Having lots of fun with infusion and compression, some cucumber and red radish pickles I made this past weekend with aged sherry vinegar on a 5-minute infusion cycle were a particularly noteworthy success.

 

I have however been having one seemingly minor issue with the conditioning program, which has the rep at Testek stumped...waiting for some more information from Minipack themselves. Specifically, this always fails on the first run with a "SERVICE - VACUUM TIME" message with exactly 2:39 left on the countdown clock. If I run the cycle again immediately, it seems to always succeed the second time.

 

Any other XP-series owners run into something like this with their unit? It seems a relatively minor thing, but I'd obviously like to rule out that it's a symptom of some more serious problem.

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I also have totally random issues with my MVS31X - My issues seems to stem from the machine's display getting stuck on a digit, say 94.5, and the machine running until error -- That is, unless I gently tap the display, at which point it will jump up, eventually to 99.1 and count up from there. I just had the entire vacuum pump professionally cleaned after it died last fall, and this new and interesting issue has arisen. It basically worked like a charm for 2 months and then this came up. I haven't heard of too many other problems with people and their minipacks -- I wonder if I got a touchy machine -- It isn't as if I use it all the time either -- I probably use it 5 times (max) a week.

@danelks -- Maybe we both have wiring issues with our machines? That is really the only thing I can come up with.

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@Unpopular Poet - wiring for my issue seems less likely but I can't really rule it out - faulty wiring would I'd assume cause the same failure each time. Since the XP series have a more complicated embedded microcontroller I'm thinking it's more likely to be a programming fault...

 

I will follow up to the thread if and when I get more info from Minipack.

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Tonight I'm trying to use the Polyscience 300 to pickle coleslaw in the Polyscience 2.5 quart canister.  The first problem was plugging the vacuum hose into the unit so that it would actually pull a vacuum.  Had a similar problem with a Diesel Jeep once.  Next problem was the Polyscience instructions say the marinate preset, P3, has a factory vacuum level of medium.  But for me the factory setting of P3 seemed to indicate it was using the minimum vacuum level.  I over rode and set the vacuum level to medium (57 Torr).

 

The instructions for canister marinating say to set the canister vacuum port to the "Open" position.  When I did this the valve seemed to hiss as vacuum was applied, so I set the canister to "Vacuum" and ran through the modified P3 cycle, which takes 27 minutes.  However the canister did not seem to release vacuum, so I concluded the instuctions may have been correct (at least in this case) to set the canister to "Open".  So I did so, fiddling with the control a bit, and ran the cycle a second time.

 

The marination is about done and I will try the coleslaw in a few minutes.  Though I have a feeling my procedure is probably still not right.  Can anyone give me suggestions?

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With the Polyscience 300 is there any way to hold the vacuum level after the vacuum time expires?  I ask because it is so neat to watch ice water boil.

 

There is a cuisine related issue here but that does not detract from how neat it is to watch ice water boil.

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Me again with as mall but hopefully not too stupid question: i have read the very interesting Dave Arnold article on cooking issues concerning the level of vacuum changing the texture of meats. My question now: how do i define the vacuum level on chamber vacuum sealers? Since i do not see any Option on programming the vacuum percentage on most machines we are talking about. Is this done through the time or how? Thanks a Lot!

 

The Polyscience 300 lets one program vacuum level based on time, for which the manual gives equivalence in Torr and inches of Hg.  There is also a correction for altitude above sea level.

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Hi I´m trying to find info on the Brand ¨Basser Vacuum¨. Does anyone have references about their products?

Is an external aspiration model, What is the general opinion about this kind of vacuum sealers?

I´m planing in buy the Fresh33 model, for a small business i´m starting. I´m doing beacon and duck ham.

 

 

 

Thanks

Rodrigo

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From what i ve heard they did produce the complete edge sealer range of German company allpax people are extremeley happy with, specially hunters. Since they do use bosch Pumps aswell i think they will do quite a good job in the chamber vac area aswell?

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I finally received my 35XP a few weeks ago and have been using it extensively. Having lots of fun with infusion and compression, some cucumber and red radish pickles I made this past weekend with aged sherry vinegar on a 5-minute infusion cycle were a particularly noteworthy success.

 

I have however been having one seemingly minor issue with the conditioning program, which has the rep at Testek stumped...waiting for some more information from Minipack themselves. Specifically, this always fails on the first run with a "SERVICE - VACUUM TIME" message with exactly 2:39 left on the countdown clock. If I run the cycle again immediately, it seems to always succeed the second time.

 

Any other XP-series owners run into something like this with their unit? It seems a relatively minor thing, but I'd obviously like to rule out that it's a symptom of some more serious problem.

 

I haven't had that problem, though I have only used the conditioning cycle a few times. (How often are you SUPPOSED to do it, do you know?)

 

I have had a different issue, though... Has your display ever gone completely blank, or half blank? 

 

Don't hesitate to call Minipack directly. There's a very helpful tech there named Jamal, who I've spoken with a couple of times. 

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I haven't had that problem, though I have only used the conditioning cycle a few times. (How often are you SUPPOSED to do it, do you know?)

 

I have had a different issue, though... Has your display ever gone completely blank, or half blank? 

 

Don't hesitate to call Minipack directly. There's a very helpful tech there named Jamal, who I've spoken with a couple of times. 

 

I've just been keeping an eye on the oil and running it when it looks cloudy from water vapor. Depends how much you seal liquids, I think.

 

I haven't had that problem in particular. I have been talking with someone at Minipack actually, but they haven't come up with much yet...still back and forth.

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While I am still pleased with the Polyscience 300, I find it does have a fault. When draw a vacuum using the external vacuum port, sometimes it works and sometimes it does nothing (even though the machine pulls a vacuum inside the chamber). I'd say more often than not the external vacuum feature does not work.

 

I think the problem has to do with how the supplied vacuum hose fits -- or doesn't fit -- in the vacuum port. It may of course be user error...not helped by the wretched Polyscience 300 manual.

 

Any advice or thoughts?

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I'm planning to modify my VP215 to add a digital vacuum gauge, and program for seal at %vacuum as an option to time.  After that mod, I will consider adding MAP gas venting and/or an infusion program.  I have not been able to find any posts on this modification.  I can't imagine someone here has not already done something similar...  Have I missed anything?

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For all of you Minipack MVS35XP owners out there -- how are you enjoying your machine -- I have the capability to possibly upgrade to it at this point and I am thinking that I will.  I have a MVS31X, which is great, but I find that time and time again, anytime I do a hot or liquid application, I end up messing up the pump -- Currently the machine says it is pulling 99.9, but I know from experience is quite a bit less.  Perhaps even in the low 90s.  Thanks for the input....The other item I am looking at is the Polyscience 300 -- but I may be in the same boat with liquids and hot items.  

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I've been quite happy with my 35XP. I abuse it with hot foods and liquids all the time and the pump is still going strong. I just changed the oil though, at about 550 cycles, because it looked milky... I wish knew how often you really have to do that because at that rate it adds about two cents in costs to each cycle.

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horseflesh -- that was exactly what I wanted to hear -- Now if Polyscience would just call me back...

 

EDIT:  That came out whinny..didn't mean it that way.  Just chomping at the bit!


Edited by Unpopular Poet (log)
  • Like 1

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I too am very happy with my 35XP, aside from the odd issue with the conditioning program (which is still an ongoing discussion with MiniPack - it appears I may need a replacement control card). I use the soft air and infusion cycle so frequently that I can't imagine not having them.

 

Horseflesh, for what it's worth, running the conditioning program tends to get rid of that cloudy/milky consistency in the oil. I think the manual suggests replacing the oil after a certain number of cycles but I don't remember the total off the top of my head. The machine keeps track of that for you buried somewhere in those menus...I intend to replace the oil no less than once per year though, even if I don't hit that total. Better safe than sorry.

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I've used the conditioning program a few times but haven't noticed a visible difference in the oil. That may be meaningless, though. 

 

Do you have the manual soft air knob? Mine came with one and I have honestly never tried the programmable soft air, since the knob is so darn easy to use. 

 

Any other problems with your unit? Mine does have a quirk--the display may go blank, or just half blank, until you power-cycle it. This only seems to happen if I interact with the control panel, eg changing programs, and then only if I leave it alone for a while.

 

If I just turn it on and operate it, I don't think it has ever blanked out. Makes me think it may be a software problem... Minipack suggested opening up the unit and re-seating the cables, which I have not yet tried.

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I've definitely seen relatively cloudy oil become crystal clear after a couple of conditioning runs (you need to let it settle for a few hours afterwards, as it will draw in a lot of air).

 

No soft air knob on mine, just the software program. I imagine we must have different revisions.

 

The only problem I've had is the one I described a few posts back, where the conditioning program sometimes terminates early with an error message. No issues with the display that I've seen.

 

It seems given my location I may have to install the replacement control card myself - which I'm actually not too concerned with (provided it doesn't affect my warranty). I wouldn't mind getting a look at the guts of the machine in all honesty.

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Well, I went ahead and ordered the MVS35XP from Polyscience yesterday -- It is being delivered today -- gotta love being within 20 miles of Polyscience.  I am really, really excited to see the difference between the 2 (35XP vs. 31X) -- I feel like the pump should make a huge difference -- as well as the soft air, hot food and infusion cycle.  PS - If anyone is in the Chicagoland area and has an interest in a MVS31X (which needs an oil change and pump cleaning which would cost about ~$250?), I would be happy to discuss a sale or interesting trade.  It does have the gas inlet as well, but I have never used that.  Otherwise, I am just going to put it up on craigslist at some point.


Edited by Unpopular Poet (log)

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      Chef Grant ponders one potential plating of the dish. He called this incarnation 'predictable' and started over.

      Another plating idea. This version is garnished with broccoli petals and ultra-thin slices of connected grapefruit pulp cells. The yellow petals are stand-ins for what will ultimately be broccoli blossoms
      Grant is still displeased at the dish's appearance. "The dish tastes as I envisioned it....texturally complex, with the crispness of the bread, the soft elements of the floret puree and stem, and the pop of the eggs. The buttery richness from the bread gives the stem the flavor of the melted cabbage I loved at the [French] Laundry. And the hot and cold contrasts from the roe and broccoli …I like it…..I just don’t like the way it looks.” Another attempt and the group agrees, it is better but not “the one.” The use of the thinly sliced cross sections of peeled grapefruit energizes the group. In the next rendition, they make small packets with the ultra thinly-sliced grapefruit containing the roe...

      A third plating configuration for Poached Broccoli Stems; this one featuring the packets of roe wrapped in ultra thin sheets of grapefruit pulp cells
      At this point the team decides to move on and come back to it next week. After some conversation they decide that in the final dish, broccoli will appear in at least 5 forms: poached stems, floret puree, some raw form of the stem, the tiny individual sprouts of broccoli florets, and the blooms. Grant feels that Poached Broccoli Stem could be ready for service, although he still envisions some changes for the dish that will make it even more emblematic of his personal style. “Our dishes continue to evolve after they hit the menu. It is important for us to get to know them better before we can clearly see their weaknesses.”
      The thought for the dried crème brulee originated over a year ago when a regular customer jokingly asked for a crème brulee for dessert. “He said it as joke, I took it as a challenge,” says Grant. "Of course, we never intended to give him a regular crème brulee.” The team tried various techniques to create the powder-filled caramel bubble while at Trio to no avail. An acceptable filling for the Dried Crème Brulee has been developed by the Chef and his team but several different methods, attempted today, to create the orb from caramelized sugar have been less than 100% successful.

      Caramel blob awaiting formation. Chef Curtis kept this pliable by leaving it in a low oven throughout the day

      Chef Grant’s initial idea to use a metal bubble ring and heat gun (normally used for stripping paint) to form the bubbles does not work as hoped. Attempts to fashion them by hand also come up short.
      Says Grant, “At Trio we tried a hair-dryer. When Martin told me about these heat guns which get up to 900 degrees F, I thought we had it for sure. If it was easy everyone would do it I guess.” Eventually, Alinea partner Nick Kokonas garners the task’s best result by positioning a small, warm blob of sugar onto the end of a drinking straw and blowing into the other end. The results are promising. Curtis suggests using a sugar pump to inflate the orbs. That adjustment will be attempted on another day.
      “We intentionally position whimsical bite in the amuse slot, it tends to break the ice and make people laugh. It is a deliberate attempt to craft the experience by positioning the courses in a very pre-meditated order. A great deal of thought goes into the order of the courses, a misalignment may really take away from the meal as a whole.” For PB&J, the grapes are peeled while still on the vine and then dipped into unsweetened peanut butter. They are allowed to set–up, and then they are wrapped with a thin sheet of bread and lightly toasted. When the peeled grapes warm, they become so soft they mimic jelly. The composition is strangely unfamiliar in appearance but instantly reminiscent on the palate. PB&J is, according to Grant, virtually ready for service. There are a couple of aesthetic elements, which need minor tweaks but the Chef feels very good about today’s prototype.

      Chef John peels grapes while still on their stems

      Peeled grapes on their stems with peanut butter coating

      Chef Grant studies the completed PB&J in the Crucial Detail designed piece

      PB&J
      Often, creative impulses come by way of Alinea’s special purveyors. “Terra Spice’s support over the past couple of years has been unprecedented, and it has accelerated with the start of the food lab,” says Grant. “It is great to have relationships with people that think like we do, it can make the creative process so much easier. Often Phil, our contact at Terra, would come into the kitchen at Trio and encourage us to try and stump him on obscure ingredients. We always lost, but not from lack of trying. He even brought in two live chufa plants into the kitchen one day.” The relationship has developed and Terra team has really made an effort to not only search out products that the chefs ask for but also keep an eye out for new ingredients and innovations. In August, Phil brought by some samples of products that he thought the Alinea team might be interested in trying.

      Phil of Terra Spice showing the team some samples

      Coconut powder and other samples
      Grant recalls “the most surprising item to me was the dried coconut powder. When I put a spoonful in my mouth I could not believe the intense flavor and instant creamy texture, it was awesome.” That was the inspiration for what is now Instant Tropical Pudding. The guest is presented with a glass filled with dried ingredients. A member of the service team pours a measured amount of coconut water into the glass and instructs the guest to stir the pudding until a creamy consistency is formed.

      The rum-spiked coconut water being added to the powders
      At the end of the day, the Chefs assess their overall effort as having gone “fairly well.” It’s a mixed bag of results. Clearly, the fact that things have not gone perfectly on Day 1 has not dampened anyone’s spirits. The team has purposely attempted dishes of varying degrees of difficultly in order to maximize their productivity. Says Grant, “Making a bubble of caramel filled with powder…I have devoted the better part of fifteen years to this craft, I have trained with the best chefs alive. I have a good grasp of known technique. The lab's purpose is to create technique based on our vision. Sometimes we will succeed, and sometimes we will fail, but trying is what make us who we are." The team's measured evaluations of their day’s work reflect that philosophy.
      According to Chef Grant, “The purpose of the lab is to create the un-creatable. I know the level at which we can cook. I know the level of technique we already possess. What I am interested in is what we don't know...making a daydream reality.” With little more than 100 days on the calendar between now and Alinea’s opening, the Chef and his team will have their work cut out for them.
      =R=
      A special thanks to eGullet member yellow truffle, who contributed greatly to this piece
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