Why sous vide?

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Scott Brunson
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Why sous vide?

#51 Post by Scott Brunson » July 11th, 2018, 6:50 pm

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:129F.

How thick?
It's the 12 oz so about 1 1/2"
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Why sous vide?

#52 Post by Kenny H » July 11th, 2018, 9:41 pm

J a y H a c k wrote:Sous vide is over-rated. I have the big Anova. Carrots, yes, much better that way. Broccoli and brussel sprouts, not bad, maybe a bit more flavorful, but not worth the trouble. Short ribs? If you like lots and lots and lots of fat on your short ribs, it's fine, but it just doesn't render out enough of the fat. I thought that after about two and a half days, they were OK. My wife, who does not like fatty meat, thought they were awful.

I use it once a month, and I can see using it for specialty items for dinner parties, but as a regular cooking device, it's not worth the trouble.

By the way - on kale. It works very well as an additive to Matzoh Ball Soup if you cook it until really dead.
So over rated that a huge number of professional kitchens employ them. Come on, Jay. Your legal mind may be too structured because the implementation is only limited by the imagination. It is patently absurd to suggest that the most practical method to cook eggs to any incarnation you please while still in the shell is over rated. That is one single application and there are hundreds! Please keep in mind that you often have to step outside the box and cook with ingredients, rather than some stale recipe, to realize how technique can be beneficial.

Let me put it this way. Classical french technique employs a limited number of modalities numbering in the tens. Yet those have spawned preparations in the thousands. Now add a modality that is not only subject to the same framework but is also inherently adjustable beyond a simple doneness protocol to include previous and subsequent technique with nearly infinite calibration. Culinary aversions aside, food science and the simple math of the matter prove that iterations in that employ become exponential.

Which brings me back to something I originally stated. If you aren't already cooking at a high level, reconsider. If you don't know why you are using it aside from something telling you to, then you will never understand why you need it.
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Why sous vide?

#53 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 12th, 2018, 5:16 am

Scott Brunson wrote:
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:129F.

How thick?
It's the 12 oz so about 1 1/2"
Scott, according to the smartphone app for my Joule (assuming steak is thawed, not frozen), which I follow, the following times/temps are recommended. Note, even if you don't have a Joule, you can use this app. It a large number of recipes, and useful "visual doneness" photos so you can see what different temps look like for steak, chicken, fish, etc.

Very rare: 122°F
Rare: 126°F
Medium-rare: 129°F
Medium: 133°F
Medium-well: 140°F
Well-done: 147°F
Dead: 154°F

1/2 inch: 30 min
3/4 inch: 45 min
1 inch: 1 hr
1 1/2 inch: 1 1/2 hr
2 inch: 2 hr

If it is frozen, increase times by 50%.

For a medium-rare steak, I like 129°F (sort of high rare or low medium-rare, depending on who you talk to), which give me a little margin when searing after the SV without over-cooking it.

Enjoy!

[Note, these times/temps will not reach pasteurization.

To quote Baldwin below, "For extended shelf-life (i.e., cook-chill or cook-freeze) or when serving immune compromised individuals, the beef must be pasteurized for at least the times in Table 5.1."

For example for a 1 1/2 inch steak, pasteurization is reached at 3 hours at 133°F. Generally you need to reach 131°F to kill most common bugs. However, for cook times <4 hr there is little time for bacteria to grow and multiply, which greatly reduces the danger. Sometime people will be more concerned with pasteurization for hamburger meat, which has a greater risk of bacterial contamination during production (or blade tenderized steak, like you get from Costco, which can introduce bacteria into the center of the steak where searing can't kill it).

Actually, this is another answer to the "why sous vide?" question. There is no way pasteurize meat on a grill without over-cooking it. Whether you feel the need to pasteurize something is up to you, but sous vide allows you to do so without over-cooking.]
Cheers,
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Why sous vide?

#54 Post by Todd F r e n c h » July 12th, 2018, 10:47 am

Finally received my Anova, and reviewed this thread. Working on soft-boiled eggs, but not the Anova recipe, this one - https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/s ... ached-eggs - as it is sort of like Cooks' Illustrated, in performing tests to find the perfect recipe, etc.

After setting everything up, waiting 45 minutes for the water to warm up, and going through the 12 minute wait and the ice bath, I ended up with two giant globs of snot.

Not exactly sold on sous vide quite yet...
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Why sous vide?

#55 Post by PeterJ » July 12th, 2018, 12:12 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:Finally received my Anova, and reviewed this thread. Working on soft-boiled eggs, but not the Anova recipe, this one - https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/s ... ached-eggs - as it is sort of like Cooks' Illustrated, in performing tests to find the perfect recipe, etc.

After setting everything up, waiting 45 minutes for the water to warm up, and going through the 12 minute wait and the ice bath, I ended up with two giant globs of snot.

Not exactly sold on sous vide quite yet...

Todd, were you able to link Yo͏u͏r Anova to your WiFi network? If so, was it easy or did it give you trouble?
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Why sous vide?

#56 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 12th, 2018, 12:39 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:Finally received my Anova, and reviewed this thread. Working on soft-boiled eggs, but not the Anova recipe, this one - https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/s ... ached-eggs - as it is sort of like Cooks' Illustrated, in performing tests to find the perfect recipe, etc.

After setting everything up, waiting 45 minutes for the water to warm up, and going through the 12 minute wait and the ice bath, I ended up with two giant globs of snot.

Not exactly sold on sous vide quite yet...
Sous vide eggs are harder than they seem! There's probably more online discussion on this topic than any other single topic (although egg bites seems to have taken over recently lol), and a plethora of times/temps to choose from.

There inevitably will be some "snot", but that is why you crack it into a slotted spoon to drain. Also, the fresher the eggs, the better for this application. And AA grade is better too (if you find them).
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Why sous vide?

#57 Post by Todd F r e n c h » July 12th, 2018, 1:10 pm

PeterJ wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote:Finally received my Anova, and reviewed this thread. Working on soft-boiled eggs, but not the Anova recipe, this one - https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/s ... ached-eggs - as it is sort of like Cooks' Illustrated, in performing tests to find the perfect recipe, etc.

After setting everything up, waiting 45 minutes for the water to warm up, and going through the 12 minute wait and the ice bath, I ended up with two giant globs of snot.

Not exactly sold on sous vide quite yet...

Todd, were you able to link Yo͏u͏r Anova to your WiFi network? If so, was it easy or did it give you trouble?
Mine's the new Nano, Bluetooth not wifi
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Why sous vide?

#58 Post by Scott G r u n e r » July 12th, 2018, 5:15 pm

A bit of "snot" is worth it for the texture you can derive from the yolk in particular.
//Cynic

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Why sous vide?

#59 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 12th, 2018, 8:55 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:waiting 45 minutes for the water to warm up
One of the best reasons to get a Joule, as opposed to an Anova or other brands (if you don't mind the mandatory smartphone interface) is that it heats up so fast (1100 watts).
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Why sous vide?

#60 Post by Brad Kane » July 12th, 2018, 9:01 pm

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote:waiting 45 minutes for the water to warm up
One of the best reasons to get a Joule, as opposed to an Anova or other brands (if you don't mind the mandatory smartphone interface) is that it heats up so fast (1100 watts).

Of course, one can cheat a little and use a gas burner to get the water going a bit and then switch to the Anova, or Joule.

Todd, I've had great success with eggs at 62.5 C for 60 minutes. Eggs that have rested outside of the fridge, btw. I much prefer the texture at that setting to any warmer/faster cooking direction.
itb.

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Why sous vide?

#61 Post by Joe Chanley » July 13th, 2018, 5:33 am

right......i also use instant hot water to start so the lead up time is minimal

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#62 Post by Michael Sopher » July 13th, 2018, 7:57 am

Todd F r e n c h wrote:Finally received my Anova, and reviewed this thread. Working on soft-boiled eggs, but not the Anova recipe, this one - https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/s ... ached-eggs - as it is sort of like Cooks' Illustrated, in performing tests to find the perfect recipe, etc.

After setting everything up, waiting 45 minutes for the water to warm up, and going through the 12 minute wait and the ice bath, I ended up with two giant globs of snot.

Not exactly sold on sous vide quite yet...
Not sure why it takes you 45 min to get the water bath temp up. My hot tap water is about 110 - 115 and I get to 145 in about 4 min... to 165 in another 4 or 5.

One technique I've used for low temp eggs is to drop them in boiling water for a minute or two to set the soft white and then out into the sous vide bath. You get the textured white and perfect yolks without the runny soft white. found it on Serious Eats if I recall... a hard core Kenji scientific compare of times temps and methods.

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Why sous vide?

#63 Post by Jay Miller » July 13th, 2018, 8:04 am

Michael Sopher wrote:
Not sure why it takes you 45 min to get the water bath temp up. My hot tap water is about 110 - 115 and I get to 145 in about 4 min... to 165 in another 4 or 5.

One technique I've used for low temp eggs is to drop them in boiling water for a minute or two to set the soft white and then out into the sous vide bath. You get the textured white and perfect yolks without the runny soft white. found it on Serious Eats if I recall... a hard core Kenji scientific compare of times temps and methods.
Nice! I'll have to try that next time.

Haven't been reaching for the sous vide much recently due to mobility issues. Once I can walk again later this month I'll give it a whirl.
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Why sous vide?

#64 Post by Todd F r e n c h » July 13th, 2018, 8:05 am

Scott G r u n e r wrote:A bit of "snot" is worth it for the texture you can derive from the yolk in particular.
It wasn't 'a bit of snot' - it was, as I said, two giant globs of snot, as in the entirety of both eggs was snot
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#65 Post by Michael Sopher » July 13th, 2018, 8:08 am

Jay Miller wrote:
Michael Sopher wrote:
Not sure why it takes you 45 min to get the water bath temp up. My hot tap water is about 110 - 115 and I get to 145 in about 4 min... to 165 in another 4 or 5.

One technique I've used for low temp eggs is to drop them in boiling water for a minute or two to set the soft white and then out into the sous vide bath. You get the textured white and perfect yolks without the runny soft white. found it on Serious Eats if I recall... a hard core Kenji scientific compare of times temps and methods.
Nice! I'll have to try that next time.

Haven't been reaching for the sous vide much recently due to mobility issues. Once I can walk again later this month I'll give it a whirl.
Here is the link

https://www.seriouseats.com/2013/10/sou ... -eggs.html

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Why sous vide?

#66 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 13th, 2018, 8:17 am

Here's Joule's useful "Egg Calculator":

https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/the-egg-calculator
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#67 Post by Scott G r u n e r » July 13th, 2018, 3:22 pm

Joe Chanley wrote:right......i also use instant hot water to start so the lead up time is minimal
My hot water tank is set fairly high, so I just use hot water from the tap and it takes only a few short min to get up to 135 (porkchop temp)
//Cynic

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#68 Post by Rob Isaacs » July 13th, 2018, 6:32 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
Scott G r u n e r wrote:A bit of "snot" is worth it for the texture you can derive from the yolk in particular.
It wasn't 'a bit of snot' - it was, as I said, two giant globs of snot, as in the entirety of both eggs was snot
What temp were you cooking the eggs at? There is a large difference in egg texture with only a few degrees. If the yolks were not set it sounds like the temp was low. 149 degrees F is my favorite yolk temp but the whites are pointless. Chilling the eggs and then boiling for one or two minutes (depending on how cold the eggs are) will firm the whites but retain the yolk texture. I like to separate the yolk and spread it on bread for a sandwich instead of mayo and then do a hard fry on the whites and add them to the sandwich. Just made some tonight with smoked salmon, sautéed asparagus and that egg prep, it is worth repeating.

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#69 Post by Todd F r e n c h » July 13th, 2018, 7:38 pm

Rob Isaacs wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote:
Scott G r u n e r wrote:A bit of "snot" is worth it for the texture you can derive from the yolk in particular.
It wasn't 'a bit of snot' - it was, as I said, two giant globs of snot, as in the entirety of both eggs was snot
What temp were you cooking the eggs at? There is a large difference in egg texture with only a few degrees. If the yolks were not set it sounds like the temp was low. 149 degrees F is my favorite yolk temp but the whites are pointless. Chilling the eggs and then boiling for one or two minutes (depending on how cold the eggs are) will firm the whites but retain the yolk texture. I like to separate the yolk and spread it on bread for a sandwich instead of mayo and then do a hard fry on the whites and add them to the sandwich. Just made some tonight with smoked salmon, sautéed asparagus and that egg prep, it is worth repeating.
https://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/vi ... 2#p2538642
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Why sous vide?

#70 Post by Rob Isaacs » July 14th, 2018, 11:10 am

That is a really bad recipe for cooking eggs with a circulator, almost takes away any reason to cook eggs this way. The temp is way to high and the time to short.

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#71 Post by Steve Manzi » July 14th, 2018, 1:20 pm

Michael Sopher wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote:Finally received my Anova, and reviewed this thread. Working on soft-boiled eggs, but not the Anova recipe, this one - https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/s ... ached-eggs - as it is sort of like Cooks' Illustrated, in performing tests to find the perfect recipe, etc.

After setting everything up, waiting 45 minutes for the water to warm up, and going through the 12 minute wait and the ice bath, I ended up with two giant globs of snot.

Not exactly sold on sous vide quite yet...
Not sure why it takes you 45 min to get the water bath temp up. My hot tap water is about 110 - 115 and I get to 145 in about 4 min... to 165 in another 4 or 5.

One technique I've used for low temp eggs is to drop them in boiling water for a minute or two to set the soft white and then out into the sous vide bath. You get the textured white and perfect yolks without the runny soft white. found it on Serious Eats if I recall... a hard core Kenji scientific compare of times temps and methods.
THAT is an excellent idea. Thanks Michael!
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#72 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 14th, 2018, 6:00 pm

Rob Isaacs wrote:That is a really bad recipe for cooking eggs with a circulator, almost takes away any reason to cook eggs this way. The temp is way to high and the time to short.
That is actually one of the most common ways to do it Rob, although not in restaurants since it has a shorter margin for error. High/short or low/long can get you pretty much the same texture.
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Why sous vide?

#73 Post by Rob Isaacs » July 14th, 2018, 7:32 pm

My point is that with a circulator you are going for a set core temp, especially with eggs. Overshooting that temp in hopes of having the core coast into the desired temperature is a pretty imprecise technique. I know they were trying to set the whites more but there are better ways to do it.

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#74 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 14th, 2018, 11:38 pm

Rob Isaacs wrote:My point is that with a circulator you are going for a set core temp, especially with eggs. Overshooting that temp in hopes of having the core coast into the desired temperature is a pretty imprecise technique. I know they were trying to set the whites more but there are better ways to do it.
If I understand what you are trying to say Rob, that is not precisely correct. Unlike a steak, where you are trying to achieve a specific core temperature (at least practically speaking*), an egg will continue to cook even after its core has reach a specific equilibrium temperature in the range we are talking about. Time is a critical variable for cooking a sous vide egg. You can't just put an egg in a water bath and leave it there. You can see this very clearly illustrated in Kenji's article that someone linked below (and the Joule Egg Calculator that I linked to takes this into account). As he notes, many chefs, for example Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa of Ideas in Food, cook sous vide eggs high and fast.

*Actually, the same holds true for steaks and eggs, but the differences over time are much less noticeable for steaks.

The reason there is so much debate online about how to do something seemingly as simple as sous vide cooking an egg is that the devil is in the details. Each cook needs to find the right time and temperature that reproducibly works for them (taking into account their egg source, egg age, starting temperature, water circulation, and post-cook handling). Any "recipe" is just a starting place to figure out what works in your kitchen.

Which is why Todd ended up with snot!

I once took a sous vide cooking class given by Shola Olunloyo, who I think is the best chef in Philly. He spends a lot of time consulting for biomedical equipment manufacturers on how to convert their laboratory tools for use by chefs. His kitchen always makes me laugh, since it looks a lot like my lab at work, although the products are a lot more tasty. The last part of the class was spend cooking and cracking open numerous eggs. I didn't want to eat an egg for a month afterwards!
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#75 Post by Rob Isaacs » July 15th, 2018, 6:44 am

Thanks for the reply, I am in agreement on your points. I wasn't trying to say that eggs could be left in the bath at that temp with no difference in outcome, but they can stay in for at least an hour if you are cooking at core temp and still be perfect. What I was trying to say was that I think most people low temp eggs for the difference in texture they can achieve in the yolks. With a circulator it would be easier and much more precise to cook the yolk to your desired temp, chill the egg and then set the white either with simmering water for a few minutes or leave the white soft. (I have never tried steaming eggs for a few minutes after they have been chilled, bet that might work well). Having a piece of equipment that will let you cook to a tenth of a degree and then setting the temp around twenty degrees higher than the temp you are going for doesn't seem like the most reliable way to get consistent results. At that temp timing will definitely become a issue and that, to me, seems to be removing one of the main benefits of using a circulator.

Thanks for letting me know of Shola Olunloyo, I will try to eat there next time I'm in Philly, the food looks great!

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#76 Post by Michael Sopher » July 15th, 2018, 9:29 am

FWIW - this morning's breakfast... 2 eggs boiled for 7 minutes... in ice water for 1:30... shells came off clean and easy... yolks jammy and warm... whites completely set but not rubbery. Maybe 15 minutes from walking into the kitchen to eating. I am a fan of sous vide eggs when I have time... but a rolling boil is useful too.

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#77 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 15th, 2018, 6:59 pm

Rob Isaacs wrote:Thanks for letting me know of Shola Olunloyo, I will try to eat there next time I'm in Philly, the food looks great!
https://www.studiokitchen.com/taste/

Tickets go fast for his infrequent dinners.

Although he'll probably ban me for posting a link. He hates social media coverage. [smileyvault-ban.gif]
Cheers,
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#78 Post by T. Altmayer » July 16th, 2018, 1:25 pm

Chefsteps has the Joule on sale for $129 today.
Tom

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#79 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 16th, 2018, 1:31 pm

T. Altmayer wrote:Chefsteps has the Joule on sale for $129 today.
LOL, I was just about to post that. I'm buying a second one. Definitely the Ferrari of home immersion circulators (assuming you don't mind using an smartphone app to turn it on/off).

https://www.chefsteps.com/joule

They also just released a UK version of Joule.
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#80 Post by c fu » July 16th, 2018, 2:17 pm

Same price on amazon today as well
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#81 Post by Mark Y » July 16th, 2018, 4:37 pm

Anova is $69 for the WiFi version on amazon.
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#82 Post by Martin Buchanan » July 16th, 2018, 5:35 pm

Fascinating debate here guys, thanks for the insights.

Sous vide does seem to be a thing that divides the crowd.

I have issues with the texture on duck (especially) but most game and all red meat. I don't like the lack of bite and find the texture a little mushy. I am also not sold on fatty cuts as i can't see how the fat can be rendered properly. Rendering fat after releasing all the collagen just results in toughness as far as i can tell. You can ditch the fat after the water bath and essentially end up with pulled meat off beef ribs but again i want some texture. Lean cuts of pork and veal work well in my opinion and it is killer for chicken oysters when you need to prepare a load of them. I haven't tried but reckon it could be a good to prepare certain bits of offal, in particular sweetbreads and duck hearts.

It's great for veg, especially fresh greens and eggs, which frankly are a massive pain in the ass to get right.

I am happy poking and looking for most fish dishes and the few attempts i have made sous vide have resulted in, once again, a slightly mushy result. Prawns are interesting and i am intrigued to hear about doing scallops this way. Mussels are worth exploring although more for speeded up marinating. Anybody sous vided crab in any way?

I have done some cool stuff with fruit too, although this is very much work in progress and more experimentation is needed. I wonder if it would be possible to infuse drinks in the water bath i.e. flavour neutral spirits etc. Anybody tried?

I am really intrigued by the sous vide machine although i think that like coravin it is useful while not really fulfilling the apparent purpose.

I am bemused by the flat earth theories put forward here that seem to position those who don't dig sous vide as backward, unskilled or whatever. It seems to me that for people who can really cook the machine is kind of irrelevant.
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Why sous vide?

#83 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 16th, 2018, 5:45 pm

Martin Buchanan wrote:I am bemused by the flat earth theories put forward here that seem to position those who don't dig sous vide as backward, unskilled or whatever. It seems to me that for people who can really cook the machine is kind of irrelevant.
The pot is calling the kettle black, methinks!

How do you explain all the professional kitchens using sous vide? I guess they can't really cook!

The reality is that an immersion circulator is just a tool, like any other kitchen tool that allows you to achieve certain things, and not other things. Whether you like what can be achieved using it, is 100% a personal preference. Some people like boiled meat; I don't. But I don't know how many times my guests have told me, "that's the best damn steak I've evah had!"

I love sous vide fish, particularly at a low temp like 118F. The few times I've had a mushy result, I suspect, although can't prove, that it was bad fish. I've talked to others online who have reported other sporadic examples of this. Probably wouldn't have noticed it if I'd partially over-cooked it the usual way on a skillet. I've wondered if it is related to the well-documented "shrimp head-induced mushiness", but I don't know.

As far as I can tell, almost no one cooks scallops sous vide. The regular way is too quick and easy, although a little intimidating until you've done it enough. Nothing like serving your guests a bunch of over-cooked, expensive U10 scallops! I've tried sous vide, and if you want a scallop with a sear on it, it doesn't really provide any advantage. If anything, you are more likely to over-cook the scallop if you sous vide it before searing. However, if you wanted perfectly cooked scallops without a sear, it would certainly be useful.

I love prawns/shrimp sous vide, because they are tricky to get right in a skillet and you usually want a lot of them, but again, you won't be searing them, so that might not be what you want.

There are a lot of examples out there of doing alcohol infusions by sous vide, like limoncello or vanilla vodka. I haven't tried it yet...

BTW, I'm loving making spicy dill pickles using this recipe (see comments for my exact ingredient list):

https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/ma ... -the-quick
Cheers,
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#84 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 16th, 2018, 6:26 pm

BTW, if anyone follows ChefSteps.com and like everyone else has bemoaned the lack of new recipes, they released a bunch of new ones today (not sure if these require a premium membership or not to read). Slab bacon...

https://www.chefsteps.com/gallery?gener ... everything
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Why sous vide?

#85 Post by Martin Buchanan » July 17th, 2018, 4:39 am

Interest posts, thanks Kevin.

Apologies, maybe a little late night hyperbole there. Perhaps rum and wine boards don't mix.

I understood that the benefits to restaurants of sous vide are more to do with consistency and less wastage, two noble goals but more functional than qualitative. it sounds like you have experience here, is this not your take?

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#86 Post by Rob Isaacs » July 17th, 2018, 6:05 am

I think scallops at 122 are quite amazing. Really great cold with a texture I don't think you can get otherwise. If you want them seared just sear one side hot and fast and your done. Easy to change a dish if someone doesn't want to eat a "raw" scallop.

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#87 Post by Jason T » July 18th, 2018, 5:39 pm

Martin Buchanan wrote:Interest posts, thanks Kevin.

Apologies, maybe a little late night hyperbole there. Perhaps rum and wine boards don't mix.

I understood that the benefits to restaurants of sous vide are more to do with consistency and less wastage, two noble goals but more functional than qualitative. it sounds like you have experience here, is this not your take?

Martin
Undoubtedly the sous vide offers advantages of consistency and convenience. I have maybe a different take than yours re: “flat earth”.

I think the advantages of convenience and consistency are available to almost all who use sous vide, regardless of overall kitchen skill level. But as others have mentioned, sous vide is but one tool. The tool has its strengths and weaknesses.

In terms of weaknesses it seems there’s consistency that sous vide can provide a weird texture for animal proteins if one is not careful re: time. And there’s whole spectrum of outcomes available on animal proteins based on the time/temperature combination. Again some of those outcomes are far more desirable than others, and some of them resemble outcomes typical of coneventional techniques. But it takes an advanced understanding not just of sous vide, but of food science in general, to understand what may work and why.

In that regard, for example, I don’t think throwing a ribeye into the sous vide for six hours and the using the result to refute the capabilities of sous vide. Even properly seasoned and given a sear that’s just not the optimal technique.

Plenty of others have weighed in uses for the sous vide to produce a product that can be more challenging to achieve with conventional techniques. I’m also interested in the intersection of that and the combination of convenience.

For example I’ve mentioned previously that I’ll combine sous vide with other techniques - in particular smoking. Some of my favorites are thick cut pork chops, hangar steak, and tougher cuts of meat that one might traditionally braise.

Could I get the desired result with conventional techniques? Probably. But I’ve found that cold smoking for 1-2 hours, appropriate time in the sous vide, and then a nice sear, combined with appropariafe seasoning, produces fantastic results.

As I’ve mentioned before what I’ve found is that cold smoke + sous vide allows the smoke to distribute more evenly throughout the meat than one would expect given the amount of smoking time. It also allows for more subtle smoke characteristics. But I’m able to get the texture I’m going for - whether it’s the “snap” that others have mentioned in red meat, or something with more give, like a braised meat. And I’m also able to control degree of doneness- close to medium rare on the hangar steaks and pork chops, and anywhere from medium rare to medium or higher as need be.

And I’m able to do it on a timeline much more conducive to my schedule. Season meat and place in fridge for 1+ days to dry out. Cold smoke for a bit, vaccuum seal and sous vide based on my timeline for serving the meal.
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Why sous vide?

#88 Post by Martin Buchanan » July 19th, 2018, 5:56 am

Interesting thoughts, especially on smoking. thanks Jason.

Does the sous vide post cold smoking intensify the smokiness? Is the idea to avoid oversmoking?

I certainly take your point about schedule. The sous vide machine is clearly a great help to a busy but passionate home cook. I don't doubt the convenience of it. I just question whether the sous vide machine has make cooking simply easier or better.

Cheers,
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#89 Post by Jay Miller » July 19th, 2018, 10:15 am

Martin Buchanan wrote:Interesting thoughts, especially on smoking. thanks Jason.

Does the sous vide post cold smoking intensify the smokiness? Is the idea to avoid oversmoking?

I certainly take your point about schedule. The sous vide machine is clearly a great help to a busy but passionate home cook. I don't doubt the convenience of it. I just question whether the sous vide machine has make cooking simply easier or better.

Cheers,
Martin
Well, I'll answer that by saying that I went out of my way to buy one of the early SV machines (the SV Supreme which I managed to break after a few years) because of a chicken dish I had at EMP. There was something about the flavor and the texture that I just loved. Chicken is still one of my favorite things there. Oddly, while Arnold loves duck from the SV I really don't like it.
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#90 Post by Jason T » July 19th, 2018, 6:43 pm

Martin Buchanan wrote:Interesting thoughts, especially on smoking. thanks Jason.

Does the sous vide post cold smoking intensify the smokiness? Is the idea to avoid oversmoking?

I certainly take your point about schedule. The sous vide machine is clearly a great help to a busy but passionate home cook. I don't doubt the convenience of it. I just question whether the sous vide machine has make cooking simply easier or better.

Cheers,
Martin
Martin, I’ve found that cold smoke + sous vide mellows the smoke a bit, at least with the technique that I’ve used - where I’m only smoking for 1-2 hours before putting in the sous vide.

What I’ve noticed is that if I just got smoke something like a steak for 1-2 hours (assuming I’m doing so in a way that gives me desired doneness such that I don’t need to use any other techniques) the smoke flavor on the outside of the meet is prominent but lacking further inside.

But a short cold smoke followed by sous vide has the effect of allowing the smoke to distribute more evenly throughout the meat. What I end up with is just a lightly smoky flavor that is consistent throughout.

As mentioned above this has worked really well for me on thick-cut pork chops, as well hangar steaks. I’ve found hangar steaks in particular retain their snap a bit better than other meats.
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#91 Post by Jason T » July 19th, 2018, 6:53 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
Martin Buchanan wrote:Interesting thoughts, especially on smoking. thanks Jason.

Does the sous vide post cold smoking intensify the smokiness? Is the idea to avoid oversmoking?

I certainly take your point about schedule. The sous vide machine is clearly a great help to a busy but passionate home cook. I don't doubt the convenience of it. I just question whether the sous vide machine has make cooking simply easier or better.

Cheers,
Martin
Well, I'll answer that by saying that I went out of my way to buy one of the early SV machines (the SV Supreme which I managed to break after a few years) because of a chicken dish I had at EMP. There was something about the flavor and the texture that I just loved. Chicken is still one of my favorite things there. Oddly, while Arnold loves duck from the SV I really don't like it.
This goes more to the “consistency/convenience” side of things but I didn’t try sous vide chicken until about year 5, and only then after reading Kenji’s article about how I didn’t need to be cooking chicken to 160. My mind was blown by how great that texture was, and how juicy the meat remained, when I cooked breasts to about 140-145 and then finished with a quick sear.

I could probably replicate that on the stove but it’s just so damn convenient to throw a couple breasts in the sous vide on a week night. I just don’t cook enough breasts on the stove to consistently nail them. Roasted whole chicken on the other hand... much easier to get where I want from a temp and texture perspective.
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#92 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 20th, 2018, 3:04 pm

You can surely make Mac & Cheese many ways, but it sure is easy using sous vide to prepare the cheese sauce.

MAC & CHEESE: Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar sauce, with roasted Granny Smith apples and smoked bacon.

Recipe adapted from (as suggested by Chris Freemott):

http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes/sil ... nd-cheese/

VIDEO: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/ch ... eese-sauce

Basically the MC recipe, but using CS's sous vide and blender tricks.

I saved some of the sauce in the fridge to see how easily it reheats tomorrow.
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#93 Post by MitchTallan » July 23rd, 2018, 9:59 am

J a y H a c k wrote:Sous vide is over-rated. I have the big Anova. Carrots, yes, much better that way. Broccoli and brussel sprouts, not bad, maybe a bit more flavorful, but not worth the trouble. Short ribs? If you like lots and lots and lots of fat on your short ribs, it's fine, but it just doesn't render out enough of the fat. I thought that after about two and a half days, they were OK. My wife, who does not like fatty meat, thought they were awful.

I use it once a month, and I can see using it for specialty items for dinner parties, but as a regular cooking device, it's not worth the trouble.

By the way - on kale. It works very well as an additive to Matzoh Ball Soup if you cook it until really dead.
Thank you for verifying my thoughts. I like to stick with basics. Good ingredients, knives, pans, and fire. I leave soaking in hot water for the laundry room. If it involves plastic, I feel uneasy. I just don't like plastic around my food during the cooking stage. I'm not afraid of plasticizers. It's something more basic than that.

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#94 Post by c fu » July 23rd, 2018, 11:23 am

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:You can surely make Mac & Cheese many ways, but it sure is easy using sous vide to prepare the cheese sauce.

MAC & CHEESE: Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar sauce, with roasted Granny Smith apples and smoked bacon.

Recipe adapted from (as suggested by Chris Freemott):

http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes/sil ... nd-cheese/

VIDEO: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/ch ... eese-sauce

Basically the MC recipe, but using CS's sous vide and blender tricks.

I saved some of the sauce in the fridge to see how easily it reheats tomorrow.
woah! cool. My daughter loves mac and cheese. will def do this! I was reading a reddit tip instead of using Sodium Citrate, just drop a square of processed american cheese into it.
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#95 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 23rd, 2018, 12:11 pm

c fu wrote:woah! cool. My daughter loves mac and cheese. will def do this! I was reading a reddit tip instead of using Sodium Citrate, just drop a square of processed american cheese into it.
Actually, the leftover sauce did heat up will in the microwave the next day, so that gives some flexibility to preparing the dish. I'm going to try the ChefSteps version next, just to see if it is much different (mix of cheddar and swiss).

The sauce was on the thinner side, but if you prefer thicker, reducing the milk should probably do it. Probably depends on which cheeses you used too.

You can get melting salts on Amazon, although I buy most of my molecular stuff from http://www.modernistpantry.com (although not the cheapest source, they have almost everything and it saves wading through many different vendors).
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#96 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 23rd, 2018, 12:29 pm

MitchTallan wrote:Thank you for verifying my thoughts. I like to stick with basics. Good ingredients, knives, pans, and fire. I leave soaking in hot water for the laundry room. If it involves plastic, I feel uneasy. I just don't like plastic around my food during the cooking stage. I'm not afraid of plasticizers. It's something more basic than that.
Until you try it, you'll never realize how revolutionary it is. There is some application that will do it for you. It doesn't replace a skillet, a grill, or a coffee machine, but it does some things much better than those traditional implements do. Even something as simple as a hard-boiled egg. The difference between a rubbery egg, over-cooked in boiling water, with the yolk turning green, and a sous vide "hard-boiled" egg cooked at a lower temperature (no plastic involved) is night and day.

I'm into photography and I remember resisting auto-focus and even auto-exposure for years (not to mention digital photography)! Now who can live without them?
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Why sous vide?

#97 Post by Rick Allen » July 23rd, 2018, 4:31 pm

Is anyone concerned about BPA, BPS, or other phthalates when cooking in plastic?

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Why sous vide?

#98 Post by Steven Miller » July 23rd, 2018, 5:23 pm

tread lightly

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#99 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 23rd, 2018, 6:41 pm

Rick Allen wrote:Is anyone concerned about BPA, BPS, or other phthalates when cooking in plastic?
These are the bags I use (80% polyethylene and 20% nylon). I use a chamber vacuum to seal them.

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ary-va ... 30725.html
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#100 Post by Mel Hill » July 24th, 2018, 7:31 am

c fu wrote:
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:You can surely make Mac & Cheese many ways, but it sure is easy using sous vide to prepare the cheese sauce.

MAC & CHEESE: Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar sauce, with roasted Granny Smith apples and smoked bacon.

Recipe adapted from (as suggested by Chris Freemott):

http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes/sil ... nd-cheese/

VIDEO: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/ch ... eese-sauce

Basically the MC recipe, but using CS's sous vide and blender tricks.

I saved some of the sauce in the fridge to see how easily it reheats tomorrow.
woah! cool. My daughter loves mac and cheese. will def do this! I was reading a reddit tip instead of using Sodium Citrate, just drop a square of processed american cheese into it.
we make this recipe all the time! changing up the blend of cheeses most times given what we have in the fridge.

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