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Mjx

Chamber Vacuum Sealers, 2014–

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Thanks btbyrd, 

 

Next time we're at the supermarket it'll be hmm what to try out this time :)

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My original plan for dinner tonight was Japanese cuisine.  But I went for plan B when I recalled it takes two hours to pasteurize an egg.  No matter, I had a couple ears of corn that need eating up.

 

The Polyscience 300 has been reliable enough I could use it in my sleep, or so I had thought.  I bagged and sealed the first ear, took it out of the Polyscience and put in the second ear.  A good vacuum was pulled and then the sound was not quite right.  I looked at the display and it said "E2".

 

Hmm.  I searched for and found the manual.  There is a troubleshooting section in the manual, though no mention of E2 (nor of E0, E1, E3, E4 for that matter).  The chamber was under vacuum but nothing was happening and by this time it was 1:00 am.  Google was no help.

 

I did read that pressing stop would release the vacuum.  So I did that.

 

Then the whole thing repeated.  It occurred to me that the machine was getting stuck on the sealing step, so I removed the sealing bar and reinserted it.  Everything was good again and I'm about to Anova my two ears of corn -- once I finish my well deserved beverage.

 

I've commented on the Polyscience 300 manual earlier in this thread, but I ought to reiterate it is the worst English language manual I've seen with any electrical appliance that cost more than $20.

 

I remain pleased with the Polyscience 300 hardware (except perhaps with the external vacuum port) but the manual is doing their product no favors.

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I take back all the nice things I wrote above.  I now have a fifty pound Polyscience doorstop.  Sadly, unlike some of us, I don't have a live-in vacuum engineer.  Although the problem is not with the vacuum pump, it's with the seal bar.  I plan to call Polyscience tomorrow.

 

I also have 600 ml of prospective konbu dashi in a bag that I can't seal.  I had to make do with powdered soup mix for tonight's teppan yaki sesame sauce.  Pretty good quality powdered soup mix, but still...

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I looked for that info too, rotuts. All I could find was a link to a 'StreetInsider' report that I could not access that indicated some kind of 'strategic alliance' between Breville and PolyScience - but even the date was cryptic. I am obviously not an 'insider' (but it does appear there is some kind of deal between those two companies).

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"Breville Pty Limited (Breville), a subsidiary of Breville Group Limited (ASX: BRG) and Preston Industries Inc. (PolyScience) today announced a strategic alliance whereby Breville would acquire the distribution rights for the current and future PolyScience Culinary products in both the consumer and commercial channels."

 

Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11863086.htm

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~Martin :)

I try to find the good food in every situation!

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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anyone watch Chopped today? with a bunch of children as the contestants, two of them ran over and used the chamber vacuum sealer.

I thought that was pretty interesting, that they knew about it, had an idea how to incorporate it (to accelerate a marinade), and knew how to use it without any (apparent) instruction!

shows how ubiquitous they are becoming

 

and again, why I think they're going to only get more so


Edited by weedy (log)

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really?

that's pretty cynical (and I've done enough TV to be cynical in other ways)

 

I just can't see them taking neophytes round the Chopped kitchen and deciding to show them how to use the vacuum machine if no one ASKED 

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I never did get a response from my support email request, let alone any help, from Polyscience.

 

This afternoon I called Polyscience and the automated phone system said to hang up and call Breville's number.  So I did.  The experience did not start well.  The first time through the Breville phone message was garbled.  The second time through the Breville phone system disconnected me.  But the third time I reached a real person.  She had to look up the model 300 information, which took a little while.  I laughed when she said she had to find the English section, as she did not read French.  Eventually she was able to tell me that error code E1 means "no vacuum" and error code E2 means "no sealing".  I think she was confused at first because she had me check the integrity of the silicone seal around the lid.  Which I did.  It looked OK to me.

 

Then she asked me to clean the area around the lid and the inside.  I thought it was clean but I said I would try that.  Meanwhile she said she would be sending me instructions on how to recalibrate the unit, to try before sending the fifty pound thing back.

 

While waiting on any forthcoming instructions I went out to the kitchen and cleaned the area around the lid and on the inside.  Particularly around the pins on which the sealing bar sits -- even though everything looked clean to me.  (The pins themselves and the sealing bar I had very carefully cleaned after getting the E2 error.)  After a bit of time to dry I ran through a cycle, and what do you know, it sealed.  I was surprised and relieved.

 

I took the bag of konbu with 600 ml distilled water left over from my failed dashi the other night and sealed it.  Even more delighted and relieved.  Better late than never.

 

As of now I am fairly happy with Breville's service.  But why couldn't Polyscience have added a sentence to the manual:  "E2 error, clean area around sealing bar pins."

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I think that Polyscience may have discovered that they aren't up to the support level required with consumer appliances. Hence the Breville deal. Win-win.

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just remember, the pump in that unit is a dry pump I believe,   not an oil pump

 

if that is so, the moisture from any water, whether water itself or water from wet foods will kill it and it will need to be replaced

 

this happened to me on the Weston model vac sealer  ( not chamber )

 

that's why I bit the bullet and got a oil-pump chanber vac.

 

then again it took 2 - 2 1/2 years.   I was very careful for that long.

 

just something to keep in mind, maybe

 

pleased it did work out for  you !

 

its probably something a pair of Japanese knives would help with.

 

as a distraction

 

:biggrin:


Edited by rotuts (log)

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I never did get a response from my support email request, let alone any help, from Polyscience.

 

This afternoon I called Polyscience and the automated phone system said to hang up and call Breville's number.  So I did.  The experience did not start well.  The first time through the Breville phone message was garbled.  The second time through the Breville phone system disconnected me.  But the third time I reached a real person.  She had to look up the model 300 information, which took a little while.  I laughed when she said she had to find the English section, as she did not read French.  Eventually she was able to tell me that error code E1 means "no vacuum" and error code E2 means "no sealing".  I think she was confused at first because she had me check the integrity of the silicone seal around the lid.  Which I did.  It looked OK to me.

 

Then she asked me to clean the area around the lid and the inside.  I thought it was clean but I said I would try that.  Meanwhile she said she would be sending me instructions on how to recalibrate the unit, to try before sending the fifty pound thing back.

 

While waiting on any forthcoming instructions I went out to the kitchen and cleaned the area around the lid and on the inside.  Particularly around the pins on which the sealing bar sits -- even though everything looked clean to me.  (The pins themselves and the sealing bar I had very carefully cleaned after getting the E2 error.)  After a bit of time to dry I ran through a cycle, and what do you know, it sealed.  I was surprised and relieved.

 

I took the bag of konbu with 600 ml distilled water left over from my failed dashi the other night and sealed it.  Even more delighted and relieved.  Better late than never.

 

As of now I am fairly happy with Breville's service.  But why couldn't Polyscience have added a sentence to the manual:  "E2 error, clean area around sealing bar pins."

 

in the end though, that's a pretty satisfying customer service encounter.

she helped your problem directly.

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Polyscience sent me an updated version of the manual.  The new version seems much improved.  And, yes, now the error codes are listed.

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really?

that's pretty cynical (and I've done enough TV to be cynical in other ways)

I just can't see them taking neophytes round the Chopped kitchen and deciding to show them how to use the vacuum machine if no one ASKED

I'm cynical enough to think they knew what was in the baskets before they started cooking. And cynical enough to believe there is little reality in reality tv.

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I have been reading many of the posts on this forum and others regarding vacuum chambers. I have gone thru at least 3 of the food saver variety. I'm wanting to upgrade so I would seal more often for food storage, storing cheese, for food i want to freeze and not worry about freezer burn.

 

In my quest I've been considering Vacmasters from the VP112 to the VP 210 and the VP 215. I dont want to under buy and wish within a month or two i had chosen differently.  Just about the time I ready to order, I find some new conversations about the differences.  I have found the 112 for $519 , the VP 210 for & $719; and the the VP 215 for $869..... so basically a $300  increase in price range.

 

I understand the sealing size of the 112 and think this will work; then i hear good things about the 210 and think i should just go with that one, and since the foodsaver doesn't have any oil, I should be happy with that model, but then I read that the 215 is the best, more quiet and should last longer.... i just dont know what decision to go with. My concern with the 215 is I might use this in sporatic cycles, and that might not be good for the oil ....

 

I had a VP210 in an online cart, and as I was processing through the checkout process... a reminder screen popped up that said this is a commercial machine, it may not be as quiet as a regular consumer item and may not be as pleasing in a kitchen... I'm not that picky about those things, but it gave me pause and feeling like I dont know whether the 112 would work just as well.... I am probably not making much sense, but since I'm willing to spend $519 would I be happier making a $200 or $300 jump?  Im thinking once i'm able to really be able to vacuum seal things, I'll want to vacuum a lot more than I think, especially if the price of bags is so reasonable (compared to what I've spent on Foodsaver type of bags.

 

I understand these are have a larger footprint and the weight of them make them not portable like foodsavers, but wouldn't have an issue having any sealer on a rolling cart.

 

Thoughts? suggestions? thank you

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I went through a similar thought process... how high up the ladder do I go? I ended up choosing a model with an oil pump and I have been happy with that decision. I really like being able to work with wet and warm foods without worrying about how water vapor may damage the dry piston pump.

 

Leaving the oil to sit for a while should not hurt the pump. The oil sits around in its bottle for who knows how long before you buy it anyway. It's synthetic and very stable. My sealer has a "conditioning program" that runs the pump for a couple of minutes, heating up the oil to drive off any accumulated water vapor. They suggest doing that once in a while, and after the sealer has sat unused for a weeks. That is the only thing the manual has to say on the topic so again, I think idle time isn't a big deal. 

 

I ended up using my sealer a lot more than I had expected, and I had pretty high expectations. I don't think yours will sit idle much either. 

 

As far as loudness, my sealer is about as loud as a blender, making it the loudest thing in the kitchen. As long as no one is watching TV at the same time, it isn't a big deal. And if they are... I just ask them to pause it for a minute. 

 

From your list, I would choose the 215. I almost got one myself but decided to get a Minipack. 

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From what I understand, the VP112 and the 210 have the same pump but different housings. Given that the 112 has a 12" seal bar and the 210 only has a 10" seal bar, I don't know why people would pay the $200 premium for the 210. I'm not sure where you're buying from, but when I ordered my VP112, I got the same warning about it being a commercial unit but I don't think it's any quieter than the 210 or 215. I think that's a standard warning from Webstaurant (assuming that's where you're ordering from) since they cater to professionals rather than home consumers. Chamber vacuums are somewhat noisy, but so are FoodSavers. You'll get more vibration and a bit more noise, but they only run for 30 seconds at a time so it shouldn't be an issue (unless you're wanting to have a marathon vacuum session at 3am next to a bedroom where you have company sleeping). I've only had mine for six months or so, but I'm very happy with it and am glad I didn't spend the extra $200-300 to get another model. Also, I didn't have the vertical space to store a VP210 or VP215 (or the Polyscience 300 series, which is what I was initially planning on buying). I frequently use it to seal liquids and do compression/infusion and don't really have any worries about longevity. If I had a catering operation or restaurant, I'd invest in an oil pump model (probably a Minipack) but for frequent but light home use, the VP112 does everything I want it to.


Edited by btbyrd (log)

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215.

 

its heavy.  find a place for it and then you are done.

 

I have a Weston, used it for 3 years, then needed to replace the pump.  it was oil-less

 

I did that then got up the courage to get the 215.   if you can afford the 215 and have a place for it and maybe some help to get it

 

there you won't be dissapointed.

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I've had my VP215 for a month now, and I use it nearly daily.  We vac seal cheese that we don't use very fast, open the bag up use the cheese and seal again.  Working great for the more expensive cheeses we get for Risotto.    

 

I made a huge batch of marinara sauce, sealed it in 2 different size quantities, now I can pull some out and make vodka sauce in the same amount of time as the noodles cook.

 

I vac sealed turkey legs to make turkey confit (from MC@H) and it was amazing.

 

I compressed watermelon, it gets too boozy with high proof booze, but just alone + some really good balsamic vinegar makes for a great appetizer dish that people don't expect. 

 

It's so much easier to get stuff out of a bag then a container, and flat packing saves so much space in the freezer.  Not to mention it's easy to slip a bag of sauce in the fridge to thaw overnight - containers often times not so much.

 

So for anyone that doubts just how much they will use one of these... as long as it's easy to get to you'll find uses you never dreamed of.

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      Dairyless grapefruit “pudding”
      Dried Crème Brulee
      Caramel orb shell made with bubble maker and heat gun
      Powdered interior made with dried butterfat, egg yolks, powdered sugar & vanilla
      PB&J
      Peeled grapes on the stem
      Peanut butter coating
      Wrap in brioche
      Broil
      Micro-grated, roasted peanuts
      Instant Tropical Pudding
      Freeze Dried Powders of coconut, pineapple, banana
      Young coconut water spiked with rum
      Muscovado Sugar
      Cilantro
      Candied Chili
      Jamaican Peppercorn
      Vanilla Bean
      The steps required to comprise each dish are, as one might imagine, intricate and numerous. For the Poached Broccoli Stem, Chef Grant begins by separating the broccoli stems from the florets. The stems are stripped of their fibrous exteriors and pared down until they are uniform in size. Grant comments on the use of the second hand part of the vegetable: “This dish started with the roe. Every year we receive the most amazing Brook Trout Roe from Steve Stallard, my friend and owner of Blis. Typically, we serve the eggs with an element of sweetness. I find it goes very well with the ultra fresh salinity of the week-old roe. This time around we wanted to take a savory approach so I began looking into complimenting flavors in the vegetal category. About the same time, our group had a discussion about secondary parts of vegetables and the stem of broccoli came up. I had a past experience with the stem and found it to be very reminiscent of cabbage. Knowing that cabbage and caviar are essentially a classic pairing, I felt confident that we could work the dish out. Now I'm struggling to decide if this is a broccoli dish or in fact a roe dish, I think they really battle for the top position and that helps makes the dish very complex."

      Chef Grant processing the broccoli

      The stems are placed in a polyethylene bag, along with butter, salt and granulated cane juice. The bag is sealed with a cryovac machine

      The sealed stems are placed in a 170 degree F water to cook, sous vide, until extremely tender; about three hours

      Broccoli stems after cooking
      The crisp bread element is fabricated via the use of an industrial deli slicer. Chef Grant then brushes the sectioned pieces of poached broccoli stem with eggwash, affixes them to the thin planks of brioche and places them in a fry pan with butter.

      Grant's mise...not your ordinary cutting board

      Poached Broccoli Stem and Crisp Bread cooking

      Ready for plating

      A bright green broccoli puree is made with a vita-prep blender. Here, Chef Grant "mohawks" it onto china given to him by Thomas Keller

      Smoked Coho roe has arrived via Fed-Ex, courtesy of Steve Stallard

      Chef Grant devises a plating scheme for the Poached Broccoli Stem while Curtis looks on

      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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