Tag: Constant Temperature
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!!
Addendum June 2012 : unfortunately this site doesn’t exist anymore. Therefore I have decided to create my own page that includes tests and reviews of the main sous vide tools of the market.
I was happy to discover some days ago that someone already made the laborious work consisting in comparing immersion circulator prices on the net. Thanks to Molecularcuisine.org who dated this work March 20, 2009.
This comparison is available on a Wiki platform provided by Molecularcuisine.org so that you are free to amend it anytime.
The results of this work shows that the two cheapest immersion circulators available on the net are:
- Fisher Scientific Polystat 36: USD 886 excl. sending costs and VAT (Fisher.com)
- Julabo ED: EUR 852 excl. sending cost and VAT (Laboland.com)
No need to indicate these 2 immersion circulators are the most basics available on the market sold without timer and grid protection.
After trying keeping a constant 58°C (136.4°F) temperature with a gas stove I decided to do the same experimentation with a halogen stove. Halogen stoves usually benefit from a thermostat working together with a thermometer probe which should help regulating the temperature of the pan.
For this experiment I took the same pan used with the gas stove and poured 4 litres of the water pipe already at 43°C. It took me quiet long (approx 20 minutes) to reach a steady 58°C (136.4°F) temperature (I had to fight with ice cube and play with the thermostat). I probably can improve this time repeating the process several times. Anyway, as you can see on the graphic, since I reached 58°C (136.4°F) I switched the thermostat at 1 (minimum) and let the stove work on itself. I was moving the water often to make sure the water was evenly at 58°C (136.4°F).
The result was not so bad I maintained the temperature in the range from 58°C to 59°C almost doing nothing (just moving the water) for a period of 20 minutes (see on the graphic).
I summed up my comments in the table below. Next step will be a bain marie that a friend of mine borrowed me.
There are basically 4 techniques to cook sous vide with low and constant temperature:
- with a gas/electric/halogen stove,
- with a water bath (bain marie),
- with a cooking controller,
- with an immersion circulator.
It seems each technique has advantages and disadvantages. Cooking sous vide with a stove is definitely the cheapest way to proceed as the only thing you need to purchase is an external digital thermometer (approx. EUR 30).
Today’s post goal is to determine if a 58°C (136.4F) temperature can be kept constant with a gas stove. The Youtube video below seems to confirm this possibility. But how difficult is it really? I recommend anybody taking the time to watch this funny video with its typical British humour. Cooking and humour, what a fantastic combination!
As said this is caustic humour!
Now lets try the gas stove sous vide cooking technique.
First I had to find a gas stove which a kind of issue when 85% of the people have now electric or halogen stove. I found it just visiting my old mother and get the biggest container I could find in her kitchen. I finally choose the container of a Cocotte-Minute (pressure-cooker) in which I poured 4 liters of hot water coming from the pipe. The more water you add the less variation in temperature we should theoretically have for our experiment. My thermometer indicated 45°C (113°F), I lighted the gas et set it at the maximum power. It took 6 minutes to reach my 58°C (136.4°F) goal. I lowered the gas but the temperature reached anyway 60°C. Therefore I added 8 ice-cubes in the water to lower the temperature until 58°C (136.4°F).
Then I lighted again the gas and set it at minimum. You’ll remark in the chart below that I succeeded in maintaining the temperature in the range from 58°C (136.4°F) to 59°C (138.2°F) but after a great deal of effort.
To sum up I would say that sous vide cooking with a gas stove works, is price competitive but is obviously not a serious option. The range of variation in temperature will totally depend on how diligent you will be with the temperature check. I read several times in books and on the net that a variation of 1°C could have a significant impact of the final foodstuff. Above all you can’t prepare a diner for 4 people and spend most of your time watching the screen of your thermometer!
In order to complete my basic equipment for sous vide cooking at low and constant temperature I had to find a digital thermometer with an external probe. Here is my choice: a Mastrad thermometer that I purchased EUR 29 on internet. I was amazed to see how reactive the sensor was. You just have to put it in the water and you can see the temperature moving on the spot and reaching the correct temperature in 1 or 2 seconds. This precision will be necessary when measuring the temperature variation with the different techniques of sous vide cooking.