Sous Vide Cooking

Tag: Gas Stove

Sous vide cooking with a temperature PID controller (SousVideMagic of Fresh Meals Solutions)

by on Jun.12, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories, General Topics

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!

sous-vide-cooking-org-temperature-pid-controller-explained-for-dummies2

This second link is giving a little more information about temperature PID controller (still understandable for an average intelligent brain).

sous-vide-cooking-org-temperature-pid-controller-explained-for-dummies1

 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!

sous-vide-cooking-org-temperature-pid-controller-explained-for-dummies3
sous-vide-cooking-org-temperature-pid-controller-explained-for-dummies4
Sous vide cooking with a rice cooker paired with a temperature PID controller.

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

sous-vide-cooking-org-temperature-pid-controller-traceable

Auber Instruments

sous-vide-cooking-org-temperature-pid-controller-auberin-instruments

SousVideMagic 1500B form Fresh Meal Solutions

sous-vide-cooking-org-temperature-pid-controller-sousvidemagic-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.

sous-vide-cooking-org-temperature-pid-controller-sousvidemagic-fresh-meal-solutions-3

 

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!

Jean-François

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Sous vide cooking with a gas stove

by on May.18, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories

stove5_sous_vide_cooking.org

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!

YouTube Preview Image

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). stove_4_sous_vide_cooking.org

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.

sous_vide_cooking_with_gaz_stove_graph4

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!

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