Tag: bain marie
I am now very happy and relieved to jump to the next step of my experimentation consisting in trying all kind of sous vide cookers and accessories. Cooking sous vide with a gas stove, a halogen stove or a basic water bath (bain-marie) was such a pain in the neck! The main advantage of this was the cost of the equipments, close to zero (except for the vacuum machine) but it was really hell to maintain a constant temperature.
Let’s try a PID controller!
But first what is a PID (Proportion, Intregral, Derivative) temperature controller?
The PID temperature controller is the most sophisticated controller available providing exceptional performance at a surprisingly low price. But what is it, really?
Here are 4 articles that should help you understand it!
The first link is the most accessible information I could find about a PID controller. Let’s call it “PID controller explained for dummies”. This fantastic video was made by robot geeks and explains speed PID controller. You just have to replace into your mind speed by temperature! This video is a bit long to download but if you would have to watch one piece of information about the PID controller in your life time I would strongly suggest you to watch this video!
This second link is giving a little more information about temperature PID controller (still understandable for an average intelligent brain).
Here are 2 links that I would recommend for people who are really interested in tuning PID controllers. In other words, don’t even dare clicking on these links if your are not a scientist!
A rice cooker or other heating appliance will cycle on and off, causing fairly wide temperature fluctuations. To avoid this some people pair a rice cooker with a PID controller. The PID controller has a thermo-sensor that is inserted into the rice cooker water. You set the PID device to a certain temperature, and the PID will control the amount of electricity that activates the heater, thus keeping the water temperature at a constant.
Although other heating appliances can also work, the simple rice cooker seems best suited to work with the PID device for sous vide applications. You must buy a rice cooker that has a basic mechanical on and off switch. Don’t purchase an expensive sophisticated rice cooker, it will probably not work with the temperature PID controller.
What are the temperature PID controllers available on the market for sous vide cooking purposes?
Traceable Temperature Controller
SousVideMagic 1500B form Fresh Meal Solutions
I purchased the SousVideMagic 1500B as it seems to be the most popular one. Feedback of people who purchased it is excellent. The cost for this temperature PID controller is USD 169 plus approx. USD 25 shipping costs to Europe (USD 99 if you don’t have the patience to wait, therefore you’ll get it within 3 days with Fedex).
For non North American users an input power cord and an adaptor to the socket of local standard will have to be purchased separately.
To sum up, the global cost for my SousVideMagic temperature PID controller is:
- SousVideMagic 1500B: USD 169 + USD 25 = USD 194 incl. sending
- Custom duties: EUR 35
- Basic rice cooker: EUR 45
- Input power cord and socket adaptor: approx EUR 16.
Grant total (1 EUR = 1.4 USD): approx. EUR 234 (USD 327)
I sould receive my SousVideMagic tomorrow. I’ll give you my first comments as soon as possible!
For the purpose of measuring the range of temperature variation of my water bath I poured 14 litres of tap water at 43°C (109.4°F). My target temperature was 58°C (136.4°F).
I approx. need 34 minutes to reach my target temperature which is very long compared to the gaz and halogen stove experiment. This can easely be explained by the 14 litres water to heat compared to 4 litres container I heat with the gaz and halogen stove experiment. The range of temperature variation is of approx. 4 to 5 degrees if you are not taking care. But if you remain close to your water bath and play with the thermostat (see on the graph T5 for thermostat 5…) you can easily remain in a range of 2 degrees. This range of 2 degrees (that could be considered as acceptable) was facilitated by the fact that my container was fed with 14 litres water. Nevertheless you can’t remain close to your cooker if you want to cook a meat for a long period! Therefore cooking sous vide with a basic water bath is not a good option.
I summed up my comments in the table below. Next step will be a SousVideMagic from Fresh Meal Solutions that I purchased on internet some days ago. I should receive it soon!!
I am now having a lot of fun experimenting sous vide cooking with my Bartscher water bath (EUR 100 basic equipment purchased brand new on ebay). I still think the halogen stove was the more precise equipment I used so far.
The water bath takes really long to reach the target temperature and the range of temperature variation is significant (approx. 4°C – 39.2°F). Nevertheless I cooked yesterday 400g Monkfish fillet sous vide with some pieces of leek, chillies and lemons. I took the temperature and time of ICC’s Roner Compact manual that indicates 60°C (140°F) and 12 minutes cooking time. I presumed the time indicated is the core temperature cooking time and therefore cooked the Monkfish for 30 minutes instead of 12 (I should have a look to these hypodermic probes…). Please watch out sous vide cooking food safety and read this information.
I served the Monkfish immediately with orange chilli sauce and wild rice. That was fantastic!
While checking if the Roner Compact has or not a PID temperature controller I found an interesting information provided by ICC Roner in one of its manual (pages 2 and 3). This document is in Spanish and I hope I did not make any translation mistakes (see the table below). Roner gives some information about the core temperature of some products and the time it should remains at this temperature.
ICC Roner’s information about core temperature and time while sous vide cooking
|Weight||Core °C||Water bath °C||Time (min.)||Comments|
|Tuna||150 g||38||50||11||to be grilled 2 min|
|Codfish||200 g||38-40||50||12||to be served immediately|
|Mackerel||100 g||43||43||8||to be served immediately|
|Sea Bass||200 g||45||50||15||to be grilled 2 min|
|Hake||200 g||50||60||12||to be served immediately|
|Monkfish||180 g||48||60||12||to the furnace for some secondes|
|Ray||150 g||50||55||10||to be served immediately|
|Salmon||200 g||38||50||13||to be served immediately|
|Veal steak||200 g||50||65||15||to be grilled 2 min|
|Foie gras||300 g||60||65||20||to be grilled 2 min|
|Loin of lamb||200 g||60||65||20||to be grilled 2 min|
|Breast of "fattened chicken"||180 g||62||65||20||to be grilled 2 min|
|Roast beef||350 g||55||65||17||to be grilled 2 min|
|Artichokes||500 g||90||90||45||to be grilled 2 min|
|Banana||100 g||65||65||20||to be served immediately|
I have now the feeling that I have to take an interest in waterproof hypodermic probes…
Anyway, thank to Karl who was right. Roner compact water bath does not contain any PID temperature controller. Therefore the main differences between my basic water bath and a Roner Compact water bath are: a water pump, the heating element of Roner Compact is located in the water, a security water sensor, a temperature probe located directly in the water.
As you can see the control panel of my water bath is basic with a drainage valve, a switch on/off and a thermostat.
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.
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.
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.
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.