Sous Vide Cooking

Tag: Temperature controller

First impressions about SousVideMagic 1500B of Fresh Meal Solutions

by on Jun.14, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories, Recipes

I received yesterday my temperature PID controller so called SousVideMagic 1500B from Fresh Meal Solutions. I experimented some hours later cooking sous vide with a 400 gr beef fillet at 58°C (136.4°F) for 1:45 hours.

SousVideMagic 1500B is definitely not an aesthetic cooking equipment but the finishings are ok and everybody who buys such machine knows that your kitchen will look a bit messy with all these cables…

My first problem was to read the 25 pages manual (available on Fresh Meal Solutions’ internet site)! If your are not comfortable with English and usually not enjoying reading manual then…back luck for you! Sousvidemagic’s manual is only available in English and gives you headache since you start looking at PID tuning!
It took me some minutes to understand how to shift the SousVideMagic from °F to °C. Trust me this was not a ”push one button” function key.
The major issues I had to face with were contained in the Fresh Meals Solutions’ manual warnings:

  • “Use listed cookers with heaters rated accurately for their power wattage and with their own thermal cut off protection (thermostatic or thermal fuse) in case of any SVM failures. Do not use it with electric cook tops or hot plates. SVM is designed to control the cookers recommended by Fresh Meals Solutions only. Using it to control cookers not on the recommended list can be dangerous and cause fire hazards. Fresh Meals Solutions is not liable for damages caused by misuses of SVM”.
  • “Always place the SVM sensor in the cooker’s water bath before turning it on. Leaving the SVM temperature sensor outside of the water bath while cooking will form an open loop operation. This way the sensor is measuring ambient temperature and not the actual bath temperature, as a result SVM will allow the cooker to heat at full power indefinitely. It will not only overheat the controller, but also damage your cooker, and may even cause a fire”.

After reading the manual it was not clear for me if my rice cooker was “listed” by Fresh Meal Solutions as a recommended cooker. Nevertheless I went further and wired the one I purchased in China Town for EUR 45.

The second warning (“don’t take the temperature probe off the rice cooker”) is easy to manage nevertheless I consider this to be a major failure in terms of excess temperature protection. No excess temperature protection switch is provided in this case. This machine will burn, that’s all! In otherwords no kids should go around the SousVideMagic pulling on wires and no scatterbrained people dealing with this machine. 

Fresh Meal Solutions also recommend using hot water to fill cooker’s water bath or pre-heat the water close to set temperature first, before hooking Sousvidemagic to the cooker.

I took for you some nice pictures to show the rear view of the SousVideMagic 1500B (I like taking pictures). As you’ll see this is a very simple appliance. You’ll also see the kind of socket adaptor you’ll need to purchase for European users. 

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I also verified if Fresh Meal Solutions’ temperature probe was as precise as mentioned on their site. I took a glass of water and immersed the SousVideMagic probe and the Mastrad one together. I made the test in °F and the result was excellent: 1°F of difference! The response time of the 2 probes is also very good.

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Now lets talk about my first experiment cooking sous vide with SousVideMagic: a beef fillet at 59°C for almost 2 hours.

I verified during the 2 hours cooking period if the temperature mentioned by the SousVideMagic 1500B was actual (you’ll see on the picture that I switched to °C). In fact I think I would have never trust the SousVideMagic would be so steady and accurate if I would not have made this test. I confirm this sous vide cooking equipment is precise and steady! 

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Here the result: a fantastic colour for that beef fillet, very tender and juicy. I loved it!
For food safety please visit this link.

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My first experiment of cooking sous vide with a water bath (bain marie)

by on May.31, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories

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As you can see the control panel of my water bath is basic with a drainage valve, a switch on/off and a thermostat.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jean-François

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Immersion circulators price comparison made by Molecularcuisine.org

by on May.27, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories

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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.

Jean-François

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