In June 2009 I purchased the SousVideMagic 1500B and my review was globally very positive.
In August 2009 FreshMealsSolutions spread the information about a new product, a “Bubbler” called FreshMealsMagic (FMM). Prior to the launch of the FMM, this new device has been commented in this post.
I also have to admit that I was doubting on the capability of the FMM to stabilize in an accurate way a waterbath.
The core product of FreshMealsSolutions is the SousVideMagic PID controller (now the 1500D version). In my opinion, the main improvement of this PID controller version is the 2nd digital screen (green screen on the above picture). Setting the temperature and the cooking time becomes easier and “readable”. A second screen indicating the cooking time is a function that is strangely not implemented on most Immersion Circulators.
The bubbler (FMM) can be summarized as a heater element together with a probe and a hose expulsing air. The FMM replaces the usual ricecooker plugged to the SousVideMagic. Therefore the FMM offers the possibility to use pots of any size. Potentially the FMM and the SVM become highly versatile.
The Bubbler solution (contrary to immersion circulators that are using a circulation pump) needs a new device to pulse the air: a small air pump (see on the 2 above pictures). For non American users, the input power cord and an adaptor for the pump should be purchased in you own country (approx. EUR 20 alltogether).
I tested the temperature accuracy of the FFM together with the SousVideMagic controller. As from now I made a technical test without cooking food stuff. For that purpose I used my Thermoworks K type thermometer. The test was conclusive. I tried to find cold spots (once again this test was done without any plastic pouches) and globally the temperature was almost the same everywhere.
Regarding temperature stability: I filled the container with 12 liters of water at 35°C (starting temperature). I set the PID controller to 56°C. The SVM 1500D is 2,000 W and therefore reached the target temperature quickly. I haven’t tuned the SVM and the stability of the temperature was nevertheless very good (in the range from (55.9°C to 56.3°C).
To sum up:
- This new sous vide kit makes FreshMealsSolutions entering in the world of the versatile sous vide equipments.
- Temperature accuracy is very good (I have not especially insulated the container at the occasion of this review).
- Temperature stability seems good but I should do futher tests cooking some food.
- I like the possibility to check the temperature and the cooking time at the same time!
- Main drawback: this sous vide piece of equipemnt is composed of 3 devices and 7 cables…what a mess!
Cost of the SousVideMagic 1500D (PID Controller) + FreshMealsMagic (Bubbler):
- SousVideMagic 1500D: USD 160
- FreashMealsMagic: USD 140
- Sending costs to Europe: USD 110
- Custom duties (Europe): EUR 50
- Input power cord and socket adaptor: approx EUR 20.
Grant total (1 EUR = 1.25 USD): approx. EUR 372 (USD 446).
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.
A month ago I decided to purchase a digital thermomether with a penetration probe. I had a chock when looking at prices on internet. Price for such thermometer is usually in the range from EUR 200 to EUR 400.
Then, when I saw the Thermowoks onlineshop proposing a similarly equipment for approx. USD 110 incl. shipping to Europe…I decided very fast to make a try.
The overall price was :
- MTC, Mini Handheld Thermocouple Meter, Type K : USD 43.
- K Type Fast Response Meat Needle Probe Fitted into MPK ANSI Plug : USD 30.
- Coiled Lead Type K Extension Wire 2 Meter Plug to Socket Ansi Colour Yellow (627-741): USD 19.
- Shipping cost to Europe: approx. USD 20.
Total: USD 110.
My worry was to determine how good this thermometer is. Was it well calibrated? I asked a friend of mine if he could find a precision thermometer in order to compare its precision to the Thermoworks one. Thanks to Bertrand.L I could find someone borrowing me the GMH-3710. He told me he purchased it here for approx? EUR 220 excl. VAT and shipping costs. This is 3 times the price I purchased mine!
I red on internet that temperature accuracy depends of the temperature. In other words, the higher the temperature is, the bigger the risk of inaccuracy could appear.
For the purpose of my test I tried with both the thermomethers to assess the temperature of an apple, a glass of water containeing water at 46°C and 79°C.
My test with an apple that was laying around in kitchen was excellent. The difference in temperature between the 2 thermometers was in the range from 0.1°C to 0.2°C only. Therefore the inside temperature of the apple was approx. 21.5°C.
The test with the 46°C water was also good with a difference of maximum 0.3°C.
I also made the test with a glass of water at 79°C. The difference of temperature was in the range from 0.3°C to 0.4°C.
To sum up : The Thermoworks digital thermometer seems to work very well and is price competitive. I am in a hurry to try it while cooking sous vide!