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New Toy: Breville/Polyscience Control Freak!


CanadianHomeChef
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4 hours ago, eugenep said:

maybe I'll try it one day. But hoping someone else more experimentally inclined or maybe did it before might make it easier for the rest of us.   

Strangely my experimental bent doesn't want to take me down the road of trying this.

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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I won't experiment as I am certain that it will not work.  The Maillard reaction which gives sautéed meat it's characteristic brown outside occurs between 300°F and 500°F.

Crank your Control Freak up to Sear using a cast iron pan and enjoy the steak!

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thanks for the tips but - excuse me for not clarifying - I'm not trying to get  a sear but use the skillet to warm the meat to 150 F (sorry not 140 F for chicken breast). 

 

Put oil in the pan 

But chicken breast in 

The pan heats to 150 F and oil heats to 150 F 

The chicken in the oil should heat to 150 F but the issues seems to be the thickness and whether or not the 150F will hit the inside on time (might take like 1 -2 hours) unless you cut it super thin 

 

I didn't want to use the word "pan heat the chicken" bc it might sound too weird or confusing and just use the word "saute" to describe the pan heat technique of cooking 

 

I"m aware that meat and vegetables brown at higher than the boiling temperature of water 212 F - sort of assumed that everyone that cooks know you can't brown meat in boiling water temperature 

 

 

There's this issue with drying out too. Proteins retain a lot of their juice a 150 F and the temp needs to go higher to squeeze the water out (so that's why I think the protein will stay moist at 150F)

The drying seems to come from the open air (like letting meat sit on the table too long) and dry heat from the fry pan 

I'm interested to see if the air and heat drying would dry out the protein in the 1 - 2 hour it takes for the heat to penetrate the thickness of the chicken 

 

** I have a feeling someone is going to tell me you can't pan fry something at 150 F because frying is technically done at 375 for optimal results and 150 F won't cut it. But I'm not trying to pan fry but "pan heat."   

Edited by eugenep (log)
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I wanted to post an update. Earlier this year, I had some issues with the control freak constantly tripping my circuit. 

 

I moved to a new place and I'm happy to report I haven't had any issues with any of my induction hobs tripping the circuit. 

 

I have another thing I wanted to ask y'all. How have you been cleaning your control freak? I have this white circle on mine and I'm not sure what the best way to clean it.

 

 

 

 

20191103_085357 - Copy (2).jpg

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On 10/31/2019 at 10:21 AM, eugenep said:

thanks for the tips but - excuse me for not clarifying - I'm not trying to get  a sear but use the skillet to warm the meat to 150 F (sorry not 140 F for chicken breast). 

 

Put oil in the pan 

But chicken breast in 

The pan heats to 150 F and oil heats to 150 F 

The chicken in the oil should heat to 150 F but the issues seems to be the thickness and whether or not the 150F will hit the inside on time (might take like 1 -2 hours) unless you cut it super thin 

 

I didn't want to use the word "pan heat the chicken" bc it might sound too weird or confusing and just use the word "saute" to describe the pan heat technique of cooking 

 

I"m aware that meat and vegetables brown at higher than the boiling temperature of water 212 F - sort of assumed that everyone that cooks know you can't brown meat in boiling water temperature 

 

 

There's this issue with drying out too. Proteins retain a lot of their juice a 150 F and the temp needs to go higher to squeeze the water out (so that's why I think the protein will stay moist at 150F)

The drying seems to come from the open air (like letting meat sit on the table too long) and dry heat from the fry pan 

I'm interested to see if the air and heat drying would dry out the protein in the 1 - 2 hour it takes for the heat to penetrate the thickness of the chicken 

 

** I have a feeling someone is going to tell me you can't pan fry something at 150 F because frying is technically done at 375 for optimal results and 150 F won't cut it. But I'm not trying to pan fry but "pan heat."   

 

Would the chicken be covered in oil?

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On 10/31/2019 at 3:21 PM, eugenep said:

Put oil in the pan 

But chicken breast in 

The pan heats to 150 F and oil heats to 150 F 

The chicken in the oil should heat to 150 F but the issues seems to be the thickness and whether or not the 150F will hit the inside on time (might take like 1 -2 hours) unless you cut it super thin 

 

It will work for sure, meaning that the top side of the meat will reach your desired temperature. Problem is about safety: it will take a lot of time to do so, while the meat is in the danger zone and directly exposed to air. Add that it's chicken and it makes for a really risky situation. Better not trying than ending up spending the night on the throne or in hospital.

Sous vide cooking is made in the bags for safety reasons.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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19 hours ago, gfweb said:

Would the chicken be covered in oil?

not doing an oil poach - just saute (pan heat)  

 

I know poaching in oil (for salmon) is a common technique  

 

But I just wanted to skip the step of sous vide with the Control Freak by laying meat on top of a fry pan and hitting the 150F button (super fast and easy) 

 

this would save a tremendous amount of time and I don't have to go through several steps of filling a pot of water, taking out my thermometer, bagging the chicken and so forth 

 

but the major reason for not doing it (besides the ones already listed) is because it might be weird and not something done by most people - like weirdo behavior 

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On 10/31/2019 at 9:21 AM, eugenep said:

thanks for the tips but - excuse me for not clarifying - I'm not trying to get  a sear but use the skillet to warm the meat to 150 F (sorry not 140 F for chicken breast). 

 

Put oil in the pan 

But chicken breast in 

The pan heats to 150 F and oil heats to 150 F 

The chicken in the oil should heat to 150 F but the issues seems to be the thickness and whether or not the 150F will hit the inside on time (might take like 1 -2 hours) unless you cut it super thin 

 

I didn't want to use the word "pan heat the chicken" bc it might sound too weird or confusing and just use the word "saute" to describe the pan heat technique of cooking 

 

I"m aware that meat and vegetables brown at higher than the boiling temperature of water 212 F - sort of assumed that everyone that cooks know you can't brown meat in boiling water temperature 

 

 

There's this issue with drying out too. Proteins retain a lot of their juice a 150 F and the temp needs to go higher to squeeze the water out (so that's why I think the protein will stay moist at 150F)

The drying seems to come from the open air (like letting meat sit on the table too long) and dry heat from the fry pan 

I'm interested to see if the air and heat drying would dry out the protein in the 1 - 2 hour it takes for the heat to penetrate the thickness of the chicken 

 

** I have a feeling someone is going to tell me you can't pan fry something at 150 F because frying is technically done at 375 for optimal results and 150 F won't cut it. But I'm not trying to pan fry but "pan heat."   

 

 

You really don't want to cook something in oil like this.   There might be specialized techniques that do this but they have a specific goal in mind.

 

Here's the problem.   The point of frying is to crisp the outside of the food quickly (like very quickly) which tends to "seal in" the food moisture and prevent the oil from soaking the food.   You will have a disaster cooking in oil and pretending it's sous vide.   Drop a sponge in the oil and you'll see my point ;)

 

Sous vide doesn't need oil either.... it would be an unnecessary mess.  Water is used purely as the method of transferring heat directly to the food but is isolated from the food by the plastic bag which is the membrane.   Oil COULD be used exactly the same way... but why?  You'd have no benefit.   It would just be a mess.

 

If you want to cook a food to an exact temperature use traditional sous vide with water, not oil.   And never put food directly in the oil unless it's at the minimum temperature to quickly cook the outside of the food.   Otherwise you'll end up with food soaked in oil...not a pleasant result.

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I wanted to comment on a number of posts here I saw that talk about using the probe for liquids.  I think there are some misconceptions.

 

When using the probe the CF will energize the pan (heat) to raise the liquid temp to the target temp at the probe.  This means that the pan itself will exceed that temperature for some time before the liquid does.   When cooking sauces like hollandaise which can lead to undesirable results.   You can end up overcooking the bottom portion of the food unintentionally.

 

When cooking egg based sauces I never use the probe, I always use pan temp with slow ramp up.   This means that the pan itself will never exceed the target temperature and you will never overcook the sauce.    I regularly walk away from my heated yolks for hollandaise without fear of curdling.   

 

When cooking liquids such as stocks I tend to use the pan temp as well as the water temperature equalizes well and even though it may take longer to reach temp (because the CF will focus temp control at the pan not the liquid) the heat transfer within the water itself will assure that the overall temp reaches the target.   I also use a lid on these which also helps.   I've cooked tons of soups/stocks this way with no issues.   Note that if speed is the issue then the probe helps as the CF will heat the pan faster as the liquid temp will read lower and the CF will apply more energy to the pan than when using pan temp.   Again, I don't use the probe however.

 

For deep frying I use the probe as maintaining a consistent temperature within the oil itself while cooking is key to a good fry.  The probe does this.   Do an experiment by cooking fried chicken in a pan without the probe and with and you'll see a better color and cook level on the chicken cooked in the pot with the probe.

 

For chocolates I use pan temp not probe.  Again, this helps prevent overshoot which is not just a function of ramp up speed but also a function of where the measurement is taking place.  If the measurement is the pan then the CF will halt the energizing process when the pan reaches temp vs the probe which would halt as the food does.  If you have a lot of chocolate in the pan you could end up with a higher heat than desired at the pan.

 

Lastly always be aware of the heat rate setting to control the heat ramp up rate.  If your recipe calls for precise temperatures that should never exceed a certain amount it's generally a good idea to use "SLOW" as the ramp speed.

Edited by SantiagoDraco (log)
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1 hour ago, eugenep said:

not doing an oil poach - just saute (pan heat)  

 

I know poaching in oil (for salmon) is a common technique  

 

But I just wanted to skip the step of sous vide with the Control Freak by laying meat on top of a fry pan and hitting the 150F button (super fast and easy) 

 

this would save a tremendous amount of time and I don't have to go through several steps of filling a pot of water, taking out my thermometer, bagging the chicken and so forth 

 

but the major reason for not doing it (besides the ones already listed) is because it might be weird and not something done by most people - like weirdo behavior 

 

If not immersed the top part won't get much heat and won't cook, so you'll have to flip a lot.  And it sounds slow, to me.

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1 hour ago, SantiagoDraco said:

 

 

When cooking egg based sauces I never use the probe, I always use pan temp with slow ramp up.   This means that the pan itself will never exceed the target temperature and you will never overcook the sauce.    I regularly walk away from my heated yolks for hollandaise without fear of curdling.   

 

 

 

 

I do have a question: what temp do you set the pan temperature for hollandaise? I tried to find it on the CF youtube videos but nothing and google can't give me a straight answer. I found 167 at one website. Eggs curdle between 160 -170 so I mean it's like curdling temp - not sure if real chefs keep the temp lower when making hollandaise 

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48 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

If not immersed the top part won't get much heat and won't cook, so you'll have to flip a lot.  And it sounds slow, to me.

me too - but it's like we poach for 20 - 30 min and braise for 1 - 3 hours. 

 

so since we wait this long for other proteins, why can't we wait for this long during a saute ? 

 

I think it's because we are used to the saute method as quick and fast at high fire so sauteing for like 1 hour seems so foreign, weird, and alien to do 

 

like it's not the way we normally use the saute method (some kind of human bias) 

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27 minutes ago, eugenep said:

me too - but it's like we poach for 20 - 30 min and braise for 1 - 3 hours. 

 

so since we wait this long for other proteins, why can't we wait for this long during a saute ? 

 

I think it's because we are used to the saute method as quick and fast at high fire so sauteing for like 1 hour seems so foreign, weird, and alien to do 

 

like it's not the way we normally use the saute method (some kind of human bias) 

True, there's that.

But also there's the issue of getting the protein up to a safe temp so that bugs don't grow and degradative enzymes don't kick in when warmed just a little.  A low temp saute seems like it might keep that fish too cool for too long. 

I'm not at all sure, but I wonder.

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5 hours ago, SantiagoDraco said:

Here's the problem.   The point of frying is to crisp the outside of the food quickly (like very quickly) which tends to "seal in" the food moisture and prevent the oil from soaking the food.   You will have a disaster cooking in oil and pretending it's sous vide.   Drop a sponge in the oil and you'll see my point

 

Not exactly. Lots of chefs in michelin star restaurants poach cod fillets in warm olive oil (can't remember if it's at 55° C or 60° C, around there) for few minutes. Best cod I tasted, almost no oil absorption.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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6 hours ago, eugenep said:

But I just wanted to skip the step of sous vide with the Control Freak by laying meat on top of a fry pan and hitting the 150F button (super fast and easy) 

 

this would save a tremendous amount of time and I don't have to go through several steps of filling a pot of water, taking out my thermometer, bagging the chicken and so forth 

 

but the major reason for not doing it (besides the ones already listed) is because it might be weird and not something done by most people - like weirdo behavior 

 

 

The problem is about how fast heat transfers in food. If you set the CF at 150 F then it will heat the pan to 150 F and keep it there. The pan will transfer some heat to the piece of meat, but it will be few in the time unit. Even if you flip the piece of meat it will take a lot of time to reach the desired temperature at the center. You can change the pan temperature, but you can't change how fast heat transfers through food. If food is heated by a vessel at low temperature then it will take lots of time to reach that temperature at the center of the food. With your technique it's like the top side is the center.

 

It's nothing weirdo, just google "cuisson à l'unilatéral" (don't know the English term). It's a classic technique for cooking fish fillets, you just cook them on one side until the top is done. But it's done with the pan at higher temperatures, to get a crispy skin on the bottom.
If you use your technique in a room without oxigen then it would be perfect.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

just got a control freak and found this thread. thanks for all the info!

 

so far, i'm really enjoying the CF. i made eggs benedict today, and the sauce was a snap.

 

does anyone have any specific info on the various probe control modes?

like specifically how do the probe control and probe control oil algorithms differ?

 

i agree that multi-step recipe functionality would be a huge bonus. i'm a little disappointed that the recipes are so limited.

 

also, support has so far been pretty useless for firmware updates. there's nothing wrong with my CF, but of course i'd like to run the latest firmware just in case.

using the support form at PSC was a bust. i messaged them twice so far with no response. it's been several business days, but the form says they strive to respond in 24h.

i also called PSC's support line (1-844-765-9724 M-F 6am to 5pm PST), but apparently it routes you to breville. the person i talked to wasn't aware that the CF's firmware is user-upgradeable and insisted that the only way to update the software was to send it in for service 😅

 

but thanks to this thread, i found a couple more options to try. i just emailed David.Pietranczyk@polyscienceculinary.com, and tomorrow, i'll try breville's online support chat thing.

i post my findings when i learn more.

 

btw, here's my about screen:

 

LbLYA1l.png

 

i bought it on amazon from a 3rd party seller for 1446usd including tax and shipping.

not the best deal in the world, but i think i could've done slightly worse.

 

has anyone in the US bought from TesTek in canada? i see it's 1500cad (~1135usd), but i wonder what the grand total comes to after shipping and import duty.

their site doesn't give you an on-the-spot shipping quote sadly.

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i got in touch with David at PSC. he got back to me quickly and was very nice to deal with.

 

here's what i found out:

  • due to a change in policy, the firmware is no longer user-upgradeable
    • firmware updates will no longer be provided to end users by support
    • the user manual will eventually be updated to remove references to the software update procedure
  • firmware can be updated by service, but the unit has to be sent in
    • there's no fee to do that in-warranty. it was also suggested that there wouldn't be a fee to do it out-of-warranty if an update were required to resolve an actual issue with the unit
    • i forgot to ask who covers shipping, so i'll follow up with that info later if i learn more
  • i was told that the only firmware update available was to fix a harmless "communication error" bug affecting less than 1% of units
    • if you aren't already seeing that error, the issue probably won't manifest in the future

i never tried contacting Breville online support chat, but i sort of don't care anymore since i've been told that there aren't any useful firmware updates available.

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On 11/18/2019 at 12:54 AM, jaw said:

just got a control freak and found this thread. thanks for all the info!

 

so far, i'm really enjoying the CF. i made eggs benedict today, and the sauce was a snap.

 

does anyone have any specific info on the various probe control modes?

like specifically how do the probe control and probe control oil algorithms differ?

 

i agree that multi-step recipe functionality would be a huge bonus. i'm a little disappointed that the recipes are so limited.

 

also, support has so far been pretty useless for firmware updates. there's nothing wrong with my CF, but of course i'd like to run the latest firmware just in case.

using the support form at PSC was a bust. i messaged them twice so far with no response. it's been several business days, but the form says they strive to respond in 24h.

i also called PSC's support line (1-844-765-9724 M-F 6am to 5pm PST), but apparently it routes you to breville. the person i talked to wasn't aware that the CF's firmware is user-upgradeable and insisted that the only way to update the software was to send it in for service 😅

 

but thanks to this thread, i found a couple more options to try. i just emailed David.Pietranczyk@polyscienceculinary.com, and tomorrow, i'll try breville's online support chat thing.

i post my findings when i learn more.

 

btw, here's my about screen:

 

LbLYA1l.png

 

i bought it on amazon from a 3rd party seller for 1446usd including tax and shipping.

not the best deal in the world, but i think i could've done slightly worse.

 

has anyone in the US bought from TesTek in canada? i see it's 1500cad (~1135usd), but i wonder what the grand total comes to after shipping and import duty.

their site doesn't give you an on-the-spot shipping quote sadly.

thanks for the info. 

 

I'd like to know how the probe for oil versus water mode differ as well (always wondered myself)? Or is it like trade secret of theirs? 

 

nice pic of mandible you have in your profile - reminds me of archaeologists-anthropology  

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9 minutes ago, eugenep said:

I'd like to know how the probe for oil versus water mode differ as well (always wondered myself)? Or is it like trade secret of theirs? 

 

i asked, and all i was told is that they require different programming due to their different specific heats. not a very revealing answer.

 

also, the manual says:

 

Quote
  • Water based and Oil based liquids need to be controlled differently due to their varying physical properties.
  • Note that 392°F/200°C is the maximum cooking temperature so as to avoid oil flash point.

 

reading between the lines, this is my guess:

  • it's probably the same control algorithm but just tuned differently. for example, if they're using a PID algorithm, they normal probe control mode probably has a higher proportional gain constant than the oil one
  • there may be some additional safety checks on oil like a max temp to avoid lighting oil on fire (huge hazard in frying).
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/4/2019 at 11:01 AM, eugenep said:

 

 

I do have a question: what temp do you set the pan temperature for hollandaise? I tried to find it on the CF youtube videos but nothing and google can't give me a straight answer. I found 167 at one website. Eggs curdle between 160 -170 so I mean it's like curdling temp - not sure if real chefs keep the temp lower when making hollandaise 

Sorry eugenep I missed this.   For hollandaise I set the pan temp to around 150.  It can vary but egg yolks cook at 170 (I believe) so staying under that is what you'd want to do.  I'll go as low as 140 with just the yolks then bring that up after adding the butter but I won't exceed about 160 if I'm letting it sit for a while (and may even go lower than that.).   Hope that helps.

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On 11/4/2019 at 2:38 PM, teonzo said:

 

Not exactly. Lots of chefs in michelin star restaurants poach cod fillets in warm olive oil (can't remember if it's at 55° C or 60° C, around there) for few minutes. Best cod I tasted, almost no oil absorption.

 

 

 

Teo

 

I'm not a michelin star chef so I can't really comment from knowledge but my assumption is that this is a "special" case and does not mean this will work with other foods.   I don't think that invalidates my point.

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On 12/7/2019 at 4:22 PM, SantiagoDraco said:

I'm not a michelin star chef so I can't really comment from knowledge but my assumption is that this is a "special" case and does not mean this will work with other foods.   I don't think that invalidates my point.

 

My memory of Modernist Cuisine book, was that french fries won't be oily because the water leaves the potato as it gets soaked in hot oil. As long as water is pushing out the oil can't have a chance to get in. So the fries won't be oily if you take it out before it loses  the water. 

 

I also read that oil based marinades don't really work on proteins that well because the water in the protein will keep oil out. 

 

Because water and oil do not mix and if there is water in the fish protein, then the oil won't enter the fish and oil poaching might work  (my guess?)

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