Coming soon a review of the most representative sous vide equipment of the market (from the left to the right) on this page :
- SousVide Professional of Polyscience (Immersion Circulator)
- Sous Vide Chef of Vac-Star (Immersion Cirdulator) Swid by Addélice (Immersion Circulator)
- Pearl by Julabo (Immersion Circulator)
- SousVideMagic by FreshMealsSolutions + Bubbler (PID Controler SVM-FMM1500D)
- SousVide Supreme (Unstired PID controlled water bath)
- Sous Vide Chef of Vac-Star (Immersion Circulator)
Rhubarb is the vegetable of my childhood, my mum was often preparing jam out of fresh rhubarb coming directly from our garden.
I found the post from The British Larder’s blog about rhubarb cooked sous vide interesting. Therefore I have decided to reproduce the recipe and try to obtain a delicious rhubarb tart.
Madalene recipe is easy:
- 140g rhubarb
- 30g sugar
- 30g water
- 1 vanilla pod
Madalena recommends a hard vacuum for this recipe. I was happy to test my MiniVac (a very compact vacuum chamber sealer) at this occasion. I am almost sure you can obtain a similar final result with a good clamp vacuum sealer.
With a storng vacuum, color of fruits and vegetables appear more intense as usual. It is also amazing to observe the sudden transparency of the food stuff.
Contrary to what was recommended by The British Larder (61°C during 20 minutes) I cooked the rhubarb 61°C during 45 minutes with my immersion circulator. I had the strange intuition that rhubarb can’t be cooked at 61°C during 20 minutes.
The result was excellent, not too soft, not too hard. The vanilla syrup was very tasty. The texture of the rhubarb was also surprising. As you will see on the picture bellow the rhubarb cooked sous vide at 61°C is not becoming mushy at all. The rhubarb remains in one piece.
Here is the final result, a rhubarb tart I let probably a little bit too long in the oven. Anyway, it was delicious.
I am currently using a clamp machine to vacuum my food stuff to be cooked sous vide. I decided one year ago to purchase a LAVA V100 which is in my opinion the best choice to start with cooking sous vide. I am still very happy with this machine but it is impossible to experiment compression with watermelon for example or to vacuum marinade or liquid in general. You can always freeze liquids or play with gravity as Casqu8 did in one of his posts but having a vacuum chamber machine is a must!
The problem is the price of vacuum chamber machines. Usually these vacuum machines can be purchased at price ranges from € 1,700 to more than € 4,000!! The size and the weight of a vacuum chamber is also an obstacle for individuals to have this kind of equipment at home. The weight is usually in the range from 50 to 120 Kg!
What is therefore the point of this post? Definitely a vacuum chamber machine can’t be integrated in your home kitchen except if you are a millionaire and your kitchen has the size of my flat.
The answer is the miniVac of VacStar a mini vacuum chamber directly coming from Switzerland. The miniVac is extremely small compared to his brothers and sisters 26 cm large, 40 cm long and 25 cm high. It weights 17 kilos.
Addélice which is the manufacturer of an immersion circulator called Swid also distributes the miniVac as a Pro sous vide kit. An immersion circulator and a vacuum chamber for less than € 1700, this is a lot of money but so far I haven’t seen any other cheaper high tech option.
I am chasing Addélice for months to test the miniVac and finally they have accepted to borrow it to me for the next 3 weeks. I received it yesterday and couldn’t wait to share my first impressions with you!
First impression is about the size. I knew it was small but I didn’t realize the miniVac was so compact before I saw it in real. It is small but so heavy! Take care to have a table that can resist to a weight of 17 Kg.
The size of the chamber seems also small 220 x 280 x 90 mm. In any case the maximum width of bags to be used is 20 cm. It is probably ok for most of my applications but probably too small if I decide to make a one piece beef filet for 5 people.
The parcel contains very few things, the miniVac, the electrical cable, some oil, an “L” frame key, a manual (2 pages!?), a liquid insert and a white plate (see the picture above).
The manual is limited to the minimum and is, in my opinion, not well made. There is such a discrepancy between the good feeling you have of the vacuum machine and the manual! I recommend to VacStar changing this ASAP.
In order to get an idea of the size of the Addélice sous vide Pro kit you’ll find a picture below with a 1.5 liter bottle of coke.
Starting with the minivac
First thing you have to do is to unscrew a cap in order to pour the oil provided with the miniVac (see on the pic below).
Then pour oil in the tube. The manual indicates you should absolutely let a “bubble of air” that should be visible on the screen on the back plate of the miniVac (see the picture bellow).
Features on the front panel
The miniVac has limited features available on the front panel.
The “on/off” button.
With the “Temp” button you set the time used to seal the pouch. The thicker the pouch is, the longer you need the seal it.
The “Vacuum” button sets the “time” to vacuum. In other words 10 seconds should be the maximum time needed to obtain a 99.8% vacuum.
The “Stop” button stops the vacuum process and seals the pouch at any time you decide to push it.
Lets try the miniVac!
For my first test I tried to vaccum seal water, just water. For this test the liquid insert is needed.
This new toy is opening a wide range of things to experiment during the next weeks. I am so exited!
Today I wanted to experiment confit duck legs. The idea came to my mind while reading Casqu8′s blog who cooked some weeks ago a couple of confit duck legs.
I copied Casqu8 recipe consisting in curing the meat with salt, thyme and bay leaf. I vaccum sealed the pouch and stored it in the fridge for 24 hours.
I rinced the legs with clear water and took care taking off the thyme and bay leaves. No need to leave them in the pouch, otherwise the final flavour of these aromats will be too strong!
Then I vaccumed sealed the duck leg with some duck fat (3 tablespoons) I purchased in a supermark (300 gr cost EUR 4).
In my first try I cooked sous vide the duck leg at 80°C during 9 hours with my immersion circulator.
I have not be satisfied with the final result. The confit duck legs were to dry in my opinion. Casque8 recommended me setting my immersion circulator at 75°C instead of 80, raising the cooking time to 20 hours and adding more duck fat (I have added 150 g per leg). The result was much better and I liked that confit duck leg very much.
I also tried 75°C during 24 hours with the same amount of duck fat. I had the feeling the additional 4 hours have not improved the texture of the meat. In my opinion the 20 hours duck legs cooked sous vide were far better.
Don’t forget to sear the legs both sides in a hot pan in order to obtain a crispy appearance, 20 to 30 secondes are enough.
Are Douglas Baldwin Sous Vide Cooking Tables Correct? Review of Baldwin’s table with a 30 mm Salmon Mi-Cuit
As you may already know Douglas Baldwin “Practical Guide to sous Vide Cooking” is to date probably one of the only serious source of information about sous vide that you can download for free on internet (English, Portuguese/Brazil, French and German). The revolution of this document is to allow home cooks cooking sous vide with tables. No need of an external probe to be inserted in the pouch in order to get the internal temperature of the food. Before using Baldwin tables I purchased most of the books available but none of them were mentioning the thickness of food as a key information in order to cook sous vide. Therefore, in my opinion, all these books can be considered as art books but not cooking books where recipes can be reproduced.
I have experimented Baldwin tables for a while now and I have to admit that I have never been sick or disappointed by the degree of doneness according to the temperatures given.
Nevertheless I realized that nobody on the net ever discussed if Baldwin tables are correct or not. Do I have to accept the fact that everybody is assuming these tables are accurate?
This the reason why I decided to purchase an external penetration probe and verify by myself. For those who would like to purchase such equipment I want to say that I made a mistake in my previous post when buying the needle probe from Thermoworks. The one that should be used for sous vide (water proof) is THS-113-181 only (see on the right of the picture). The needle is very thin (1 mm) and long enough to get inside a 7 cm thick beef fillet (incl. the turbigomme foam).
For my first test of Baldwin table I took a cut of salmon, 30 mm thick that I wanted to cook “mi-cuit” at 47°C. Douglas Baldwin table indicates 1 hour and 2 minutes cooking time. As mentioned in Baldwin document I raised the temperature of my immersion circulator of 0.5°C (47.5°C) in order to be sure to reach the target temperature of 47°C.
In order to comply totally with Baldwin table I took care the core temperature of the salmon was 5°C. This step made me realizing that my fridge is definitely not cold enough as the core temperature of my salmon was 10°C before chilling it! As illustrated on the picture I immersed the pouch in iced water for some minutes.
As mentioned above I set my immersion circulator at 47.5°C for 1:02 and noted frequently the data in order to make a graph out it.
And the result is EXCELLENT!
I was very surprised to see how fast the temperature was raising during the first minutes. I was also having some doubts when the countdown of my sous vide equipment was indicating 22 minutes left while the core temperature of the salmon was 36.6°C. The last tenth of degrees take really long to be reached and I now understand why you should set your sous vide appliance 0.5°C above the target temperature…if you don’t it will take ages before you really reach the target temperature.