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.
Today I woke up and decided to “swid my salmon”!
I purchased 2 pieces of salmon, 20 mm thick, seasoned them with salt, pepper and a little bit of frozen olive oil.
A common problem when cooking salmon, is that the protein albumin leaches out of the fish and coagulates unattractively on the surface. Therefore I brined the salmon 10 minutes in a 10% salted water.
I had look to Douglas Baldwin table about temperatures & times for pasteurized and “mi-cuit” salmon.
Pasteurized salmon (20 mm thick):
55°C 57.5° 60.5C
4:20 1:52 41′
I decided to cook 41 minutes at 60.5°C
Salmon “mi-cuit” (20mm thick):
Very Rare Rare Medium Rare Medium Medium Rare
38.5°C 47°C 52°C
26′ 28′ 28′
The albumin was very present at the surface of the pasteurized salmon. The “mi-cuit” salmon had really less albumin and I could easily take it off before searing it.
(very few albumin appearing on the “mi-cuit” salmon)
I seared the salmon in a pan with a bit of olive oil.
As you can see on the pictures the difference of colour between the pasteurised and the Medium Medium Rare salmon is not obvious.
(left, pasteurized salmon – right, “mi-cuit”)
To sum up I would say the salmon “mi-cuit” 52°C cooked during 28 minutes was definitely the most flavorful. Next time I’ll try both “mi-cuit” 47°C and 52°C during 28 minutes.