Sous Vide Cooking

My first experiment of cooking sous vide with a water bath (bain marie)

by on May.31, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories

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As you can see the control panel of my water bath is basic with a drainage valve, a switch on/off and a thermostat.

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Contrary to an expensive water bath such as Roner Compact that costs at least EUR 2,000 my water bath doesn’t have a pump, the heating element is located under the container and is therefore not in direct contact with water. Above all my water bath do not benefit from a temperature controller.

I definitely don’t have the perfect cooker for cooking sous vide but let’s try anyway!

For my first try I took a 500g piece of beef I cooked at 58°C (136.4°F) for 1:30 . Please watch out to food safety and read this information.

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It took really long before the water of the water bath reached 58°C (136.4°F), approx. 40 minutes, although I started with warm water. The temperature range was similarly to the one achieved with a halogen stove.

For food safety and flavor purposes (Maillard reaction) I seared the meat some minutes and ate the meat immediately.

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The texture of the meat was amazing but a bit to raw for my liking. I think next time I’ll put it a little bit longer, 2 hours for example.

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To sum up I would say my first try was a success and I really enjoyed this meat. I think I’ll try a couple of timeS cooking sous vide with this water bath before trying another kind of cooker.

Jean-François

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5 Comments for this entry

  • Karl

    If I am not mistaken the Roner Compact does not have a temperature controller and therefore does not benefit from the PID (Proportion, Integral, Derivative) technology.

    Karl

  • Al Price

    I have only been trying SV techniques for several months, but am intrigued with my current results.

    Like you, I “jury-rigged” several heating systems to give me a range of constant water temps. Low budget cooking!

    I think your cooking time for the meat was too short. You cannnot overcook the meat, so try at least 3 hours. That will give plenty of time to developing the flavor and tissue.

    I have found that using a larger bath is best for keeping a stable heating curve. I used a 144F bath to cook a 1.2lb boneless beef ribeye for 3 hours. No spices or flavorings in the bag. The meat was a bit grey when I took it out. The internal meat temp was 140F. My cut was a bit thinner than yours. I did not sear it but chilled it in the fridge for a day. I put it in a warm water bath to bring it to serving temp ~ 115F and seared it on a very hot gas grill. There was a fair bit of drippings left from the bag. I did not use them but they tasted like a delicate broth. The meat was very tender and had the same doneness profile throughout. I ate 1/2 and put the rest in the fridge. The next day, I noticed the meat was more red and natural looking. I ate the rest sliced cold. It was better than when I served it.

    I think that your can’t easily overcook, so err on the side of more time. I use a deep pot and put the package about 4″ above the surface to promote convection.

    I want to try searing first with spices and then cooking for my next effort.

    Best–Al

  • jean-francois

    Al Price,

    Thanks for this feedback. I have not planned so far to chilled the meet and keep it in the fridge as I am scarred not to comply with food safety rules. For me the easiest way to start with sous vide techniques is to eat immediately the meat. Anyway you mention that keeping the meat in the fridge improves the looking of the meat and the flavour. That is an interesting remark and I’ll be looking for more information about it!

    One question. Most of the recipes I can see are mentioning the temperature of the core product and the time to remain at this temperature. Do you thing it is worth it to purchase a “hypodermic” probe to check the core temperature? Don’t you think this is a key investment if you want to try others recipes and replicate our own ones taking into consideration that our sous vide cooker have a 2 (35.6°F) or 3°C (37.4°F) range of temperature variation?

    Cheers

  • Lava

    Thanks for this helpful information. There are so many different cookers on the market – not really easy to find the best…

  • cd

    how much do they cost in australian dollars? estimate

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