I could not resist buying it!
In 2009 I was one of the first to buy the Swid and to test it. Since then, this marvel of technology has been chalenged by equipment like Sous Vide Supreme, Nomiku, Sansaire and other Anova. These equipments have the advantage of being much smaller, having Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection and being much cheaper than the Swid. On the other hand:
- they are not professional equipment,
- they have low power capacity (but sufficient for most home use applications),
- price is attractive but, in return, do not expect a reactive after sale service, especially if you are located outside USA. No one repairs a machine at 150 €. Moreover, the warranty of these devices is often 1 year only… do not even consider returning these immersion circulator to the US with all the customs and tax problems that this implies …
I am particularly skeptical regarding Bluetooth or Wifi connections for sous vide devices. What is it (really) the use of being able to switch on your immersion circulator remotely from your work or to change the temperature from your phone when your are just close to the device? IMO this is pure gadget that causes more worry than anything else. Bluetooth is definitely more stable and reliable than Wifi that requires a connection on your router. Just surf a little on the internet to see how many people are complaining that they can not connect their phone to their immersion heater. This is even more problematic when your immersion circulator can not be operate independently, without connection to your phone or tablet such as the JOULE immersion circulator, for example … Also, when you know how unhygienic is a display of a phone, it is understandable that this can be an obstacle to use such functionality, especially for professionals, while hygiene is at the center of the sous vide technic.
What am I looking for in a immersion circulator?
- power: I do not want to wait tens of minutes that my water-bath reaches the target temperature. Obviously putting hot water directly in the container saves a certain time…anyway it is all question of confort!
- precision and stability: this is the basis of sous vide cooking,
- ease of use,
- reliability and service,
- the price.
The purpose of this article is to make a quick comparison between my Swid 1st generation which is now almost 7 years old and the new Swid Premium that was put on the market late 2016!
Already in 2010 I had made a presentation of the Swid and a global comparison with the other immersion heaters existing at the time. Since then, other tests seem to have confirmed that the Swid was an exceptional professional device: see Food Service Equipment.
Where to buy the Swid Premium?
Addelice does not sell directly the Swid Premium on their online shop. You will need to go through a dealer which official list is here. They are not many resellers at the moment and I bought mine on the site www.sousvideconsulting.com. This site is clearly professionals oriented.
How much does the Swid Premium cost?
The Swid is at 475 € incl. VAT while the Swid Premium is at 750 € incl. VAT. Addelice indicates that the difference in price is justified by the fact that the Swid Premium is an ultra-robust “war machine”, with oversized components for “virile” use and particularly suitable for caterers who need power. Indeed, the Swid Premium is the first and currently only immersion circulator in the world with a heating power of 2,400W.
Duration of the guarantee?
This has always been the strong point of Addelice which offers, since its beginnings, a global guarantee of 2 years. Since 2016 Addélice offers a 2-years warranty extension on the Swid, giving a total of 4 years warranty! I found no other manufacturer of immersion circulator to suggest this. Unfortunately this extension does not seem to be available on the Swid Premium. Here is a point of improvement for the Swid Premium
Visible differences between the Swid and the Swid Premium
What the 2 models have in common:
- The Swid and Swid Premium are looking very similar and have a similar weight and size.
- The functions and control panels are very close. If you are a regular with the Swid then your grip of the Swid Premium will be immediate.
Apart from that there are a lot of new features compared to my old model:
- Since 2015 Addelice has integrated a Pt100 temperature probe into all its models. I admit that I did not know the difference between Pt100 probe and thermocouples before reading this article … the advantages in terms of accuracy and reliability seem to be very important! Strangely, the other immersion circulator’s manufacturers do not indicate anything concerning the technical specifications of their temperature probes…
- The design of the heater has changed. It is now helical while it was rather flat on my old model. Addelice indicates that this is justified by the search for power (2,400W). This new design will probably make it a bit more difficult to clean the heater which was particularly easy on the old model. Nevertheless, the cleaning will remain globally an easier operation compared to models like Vac-Star or Julabo Fusion Chef which are a nightmare according to the echoes I have had.
- The pump system to mix water is a great novelty! On my old model the pump was in a black tube that could cause some issue when a peel or a piece of plastic accidentally fell into water vacuumed in the inlet of the pump. This happened to me and I had to replace the pump. This operation It has been made quickly and kindly by Addelice. It should also be said that I had never cleaned the pump at that time … As I said the system to mix water is now radically different: the motor is located in the plastic casing, and only the shaft and the propeller are Immersed in water. What ultimately makes the Swid much easier to clean! The water stream is now done vertically (from top to bottom) instead of horizontally (as with the old model). I tried it in a 20 liters tank and the result seemed to be totally satisfactory. Addelice recommends, for large volumes (58 liters), when the water bath is heavily loaded with sous vide pouches thus limiting the circulation of water, to use a pastry grid to be placed at the bottom of the container. According to Addelice it is therefore impossible to have a “cold point” with this technique …
- Heating power: in 2009 my Swid was limited up to 1,800 W. The Swid Premium now benefits from 2.400W! hich makes it the most powerful immersion heater in the world. Obviously, It will not make a big difference for a cooking amateur like me. Nevertheless I imagine the comfort of use this can represent for a professional. It is also reassuring to know that this “Bad Boy », if needed, has plenty of power under the hood…
- The power cable is attached directly to the back of the Swid Premium. It is no longer removable with a plug, as on my old model. Addelice says this is necessary because of the high power of the device. In order to avoid any bad contact and overheating of the cable this component has been particularly reinforced.
- A large waterproof power switch has been added to the Swid Premium.
- An ultra powerful ventilation system has been added compared to my old model. The fan stirs a lot of air but is nonetheless very quiet.
My first feelings about the Swid Premium
Admittedly the price of the Swid Premium is higher than that of the Swid. But you can feel that the Swid Premium is a top range immersion circulator compared to my 7 years old Swid. Clearly the Swid Premium is a professional equipment, without concession, technically sophisticated and high performance.
And now enough spoken of the material, in kitchen !!!
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.