Some days ago I visited a friend of mine in Switzerland who proposed during my stay to go to a thermal bath. This place was great with a beautiful exterior bath, whirlpools, slides…and a steam-bath announced to be at 55°C.
Fifty five degrees, this number rang a bell in my obsessed sous vide cooking freak mind.
Would a piece of beef filet be cooked properly with a medium-rare doneness if stored sous vide in this 55°C steam-bath?
In theory yes! So why not trying it? My friend was very embarrassed and was not enthusiast bringing a cut of meat in a public area where hygiene is taken very seriously (Swiss people take very much care of hygiene, especially in a pool).
The day after we put under vacuum a very thin slice of beef filet (2 cm) and went back to the thermal bath.
We have hidden the pouch behind a post so that nobody finds it during 2:35 hours cooking time. According to Douglas Baldwin tables, a 20 mm cut of beef, should reach 55°C core temperature in 1:37.
Therefore we had to cool our pouch before bringing it back home to sear it and eat it. Kneipp therapy circuit help us for that purpose. Kiepp therapy consists of treatment with cold and warm water. One of the pool shown on the above picture is very cold (approx. 6°C).
Then we immersed our beef filet in this 6°C bath during 20 minutes…this was kind of funny because our pouch swam several times in the bath due to the water steam caused by the poeple walking inside. It was very difficult for me to fix it behind this pipe…and very embarrassing for my friend who was hiding himself in the whirlpool.
As you can see we planned everything, especially the insulated bag where to place the pouch on the way back home.
Unfortunately our beef filet did not reach our expectations. The meat was too raw and far from a medium-rare doneness. Nevertheless you’ll notice the meat is evenly cooked which is a good point. We have decided, for safety reasons, not to eat the meat.
Anyway we came to the conclusion that this steam-bath bath couldn’t be at 55°C.
Then, what is the next step? Making a complaint against the thermal bath? Asking for the manager and show him the proof that he cheats on the temperature of the steam-bath? Hey Mr. Manager, do you call this medium rare?