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.
Their is now a long time that I wanted to cook sous vide salmon with Turbigomme and a probe. Viktor Stampfer book indicates salmon should be cooked 54°C for 10 minutes (core temperature) with a 56°C water bath. In my former experiment I raised the time to 14 minutes, as I didn’t have any equipment to take the core temperature.
This time I purchased Turbigomme on a French site called svdiffusion.com. Turbigomme is a gum made to be glued on a pouch. The gum is supposed to be airtight if you go through with a probe. I bought it 8.85 euros (3 meters) + 10.94 euros shipping costs! I was really mad when I reallized that SVdiffusion cheated on shipping costs. Who can believe that a 110 gr parcel could be sent for 11 euros!
Anyway I have now everything: 4 cm Turbigomme piece, a 3 mm Mastrad probe (I know this is very thick but this is a cheap thermometer – less than 40 euros) , 2 rubbers to fix the Turbigomme in the case the self-adhesive would not be enough and a nice piece of salmon.
I glued the Turbigomme on the pouch, strapped it with rubbers and pierced the all with my 3 mm probe. I didn’t face any issue during this process. The pouch did not look like “loosing vacuum”.
During the cooking process I was doubting if air was not coming inside the pouch as I could see some bubbles appearing. I was feeling more comfortable when I saw the other salmon vacuum pouch I made without Turbigomme was doing the same…
To sum up I would say my experiment was successful. 8 euros Turbigomme (plus shipping costs!) and a cheap thermometer (40 euros max.) where enough compared to those very expensive 1 mm hypodermic thermocouples probes (approx. 200 euros) and thermometer.
My only issue was the cooking time. The starting temperature of the salmon was 8°C and it took 30 minutes to reach 54°C core temperature. My water bath was set at 56°C. I decided to take the salmon of the water bath as soon as the core temperature reached 54°C (instead of waiting 10 more minutes as suggested by Viktor Stampfer).
I was afraid the salmon would be overcooked. It was the case…nothing to do with a raw appearance salmon!
Next time I’ll try 72 hours pork ribs. No need of an internal probe for this kind of cooking!!!
Down to my home is a fantastic fish shop. I could not resist when seeing this huge and beautiful 2 Kg Atlantic salmon. This was a great opportunity for me to try my new toy…the Julabo EC immersion circulator.
Recipe: I just put some lemon slices inside the salmon, put the salmon in pouch and vacuumed it. Temperature 56°C (138.2°F) for 12 minutes.
This Julabo is a war machine. The 56°C (138.2°F) target temperature was reached so fast (even with my 20 litres water bath) and was very steady thanks to the water pump. Haaaaaaa! The time when I was using a gas or an halogen stove to cook sous vide is now so far to my memory. What a pleasure to switch on a machine, fix the temperature and that’s all!
The result was fantastic…juicy, looking like row but in reality cooked. I invited my neighbour who heard about my experiments and where very curious to see what is cooking sous vide with an immersion circulator.
Cooking Salmon and asparagus sous vide (Viktor Stampfer recipe + SousVideMagic 1500B of Fresh Meal Solutions)
I tried a recipe of Victor Stampfer (and also simplified it ) called “Sockey salmon with asparagus salad and black morels”.
I didn’t have morels therefore I just cooked salmon and asparagus.
Viktor’s Stampfer’s book indicates:
- for the salmon: 54°C core temperature (129.2°F) for 10 minutes with a water bath at 56°C (138.2F). I don’t have a digital internal probe to take the core temperature of the salmon. Therefore I raised the global cooking time at 14 minutes.
- for asparagus: 82°C (179.6F) for 45 minutes.
I cooked sous vide these 2 ingredients with my new equipment: the SousVideMagic 1500B of Fresh Meal Solution. So far I am very happy with this equipment which works very very well.
The salmon was fantastic! It was looking a bit raw but in fact it was cooked. The salmon kept all its juicy texture. I loved it. I only regret that I didn’t take the time to put the salmon 2 minutes in the oven so that the appearance would not look white on the outside of the salmon (see the picture below).
I had more problem with the asparagus that I didn’t succeed to cook sous vide at the temperatures recommended by Viktor Stampfer.
45 minutes was not enough to cook the asparagus. I had to wait approx 1:20 to get them cooked at 82°C (179.6F). I really don’t know what happened. Could anybody give me a hint? Anyway, after 1:20 the asparagus was good but I can’t say that I ate something unusual.