Sous Vide Cooking

No need for a professional or powerful vacuum machine for sous vide at home

by on Jul.12, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories

sous_vide_cooking_org_cookery_equipment_vacuum_machine_cookingissuesWhen I started cooking sous vide I had difficulties to decide which vacuum machine to purchase. Finally I bought a non professional vacuum machine (Lava 100) which is powerfull and high quality made. This vacuum machine was a big investment  (EUR 250) for my student budget.

When surfing on the excellent CookingIssues.wordpress.com site I found a very interesting post about vacuum machines affecting textures of ingredients (click on the image bellow for a direct link to the post).
To sum up this post I would say that there is no need of a powerful vacuum machine for vegetable, fish and poultry (such as chicken). CookingIssues even says that for some ingredients such as chicken, the more you increase the amount of vacuum the more you affect the texture and the flavour! On the other hand CookingIssues did not mention any drawback regarding high amount of vacuum for meat.

Just to say that sous vide cooking at home is definitely possible with a cheap vacuum machine. Remember that the issue consisting in sealing sous vide a marinate can be solved by freezing the marinate.

Jean-françois

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5 Comments for this entry

  • Hank

    I agree you don’t need a fancy one, but it is definitely on my wish list. It is annoying especially with vegetables when gas bubbles start to show up in the bag after sealing. And it’s just fun to really hammer things in a Cryovack on a high setting and watch the marinade boil . . .

  • jean-francois

    Hi Hank!

    Did you have bubble problems with vegetables only or also with fish and meat?
    I have a Lava vacuum machine but I would like to experiment a Frisker vacuum machine which is less powerful and cheaper (less than 100 USD)

    Jean-François

  • James

    You’re right! Many restaurants use high vacuum pressure to specifically augment the textures in food. In Thomas Keller’s new book, “Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide,” he calls this compression. If you haven’t yet, check out what he does with watermelon.

  • Einar

    Being on the lookout for a vacuum machine to use for sous vide, this was indeed a very interesting read. However, the article only considers vacuums starting at 90%, which was interpreted as 10% of atmospheric pressure, or approximately 0.1 bar. The Lava 100 can vacuum to 80% (0.2 bar) only (http://www.lava-vacuum-packing.com/machines.htm). Since the article makes no mention of higher pressures than 0.1 bar, do you have any thoughts on whether it would be wise to spend the extra cash on the Lava 300 which can achieve 0.1 bar, or might the 80% vacuum actually be even better than the article’s 90% vacuum?

  • Frank

    Einar, I have a Lava 100 which I use for sous-vide cooking, too. For the things I do (fish & beef mainly), this machine is totally sufficient. Although I have to admit that I never knowingly tried a sous-vide cooked dish which has been vacuumed with a professional machine.

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