What's your impression of sous vide?

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Sous vide cooking gives me great results in cooking. It also gives me great entertainment. I find it amusing to see people get so emotionally raw ( /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif  ) in a such a simple cooking concept.
[h1]"Onsen tamago" has been around for centuries. It is low and slow egg cooking in Japan in natural hot water which keeps constant precise temperature. "White cut" chicken in Chinese cooking too has been around for centuries. It is cooking low and slow in hot water using the natural law of thermal dynamics of water to prevent overcooking the chicken.[/h1]
Sous vide = cooking in hot water controlled by an electronic thermostat. What's the big deal here?

dcarch
 
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I don't think there's a big deal. Like I said.. it's just another technique to throw in the bag should have you the equipment and inclination to do it. There are real and tangible benefits to it but I think the reason some people get up in arms about it is that sous vide has been pushed in media as this new miraculous molecular gastronomy super technique.. which dwarfs all other methods of cooking.

That simply isn't true and really in my opinion no one should stand firmly on either a pro or anti view of sous vide. It's extremely clear that sous vide is a viable and legitimate technique, with chefs like Thomas Keller utilizing it heavily. It's also extremely clear that James Beard award winning chefs all over the world can cook proteins without the use of sous vide and deliver products that are worthy of that recognition.
 
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.... It's also extremely clear that James Beard award winning chefs all over the world can cook proteins without the use of sous vide and deliver products that are worthy of that recognition....
A-yup.  And without the added cost of those stupid (deleted) vacuum bags or the labour it takes to pack and seal those items in the bags. 

Where poaching in bags does make sense is with larger items, but for a'la carte it is an exercise in waste. 
 
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I sous vide small scale at home - an old school crock pot, a PID and Ziploc vaccum bags.  Corned beef is the best I've ever made, fish is perfect, I haven't tried eggs, but I might.  Not as convenient as an Anova, or Sansaire, but it didn't cost a lot to put together either.
 
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A-yup.  And without the added cost of those stupid (deleted) vacuum bags or the labour it takes to pack and seal those items in the bags. 

Where poaching in bags does make sense is with larger items, but for a'la carte it is an exercise in waste. 
Vacuum bag cost almost nothing and using kind of vacuum chamber takes only seconds to pack and seal ! :)
 
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From what I hear, the reason for SVing is to break down connective tissue in proteins to make them more tender, while working at precise temps that aren't going to "char/hurt"; the meat in any way since it's just hot water and water movement, with nothing actually touching the meat itself.

Afterwards it seems you're still supposed to cook the meat.  I hear that a"reverse-sear" (w/e that is), is what really makes the SV meat great!  I saw an article from "amazingribs.com" which talked all about this.


I've been very interested in SV, but I'm still wondering the full applications, and it does seem to be a "protein thing," since all it's doing is breaking down stuff, and not "Cooking....." apparently?

As others have mentioned SV is very low and slow, just like BBQ or crock pot foods.


Everyone has their preference though, so if you want to try it, I would say get a cheap circulator (I see the home ones around 200$ or so), and try it out!

Good luck!
 
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From what I hear, the reason for SVing is to break down connective tissue in proteins to make them more tender,
Uh-huh.... vacuum packing doesn't do that, it just vacuum packs.  However, someone about 800-900 years ago figured out that  moist heat with longer cooking temps will break down connective tissue--no vacuum packing involved.
 
.. while working at precise temps that aren't going to "char/hurt"; the meat in any way since it's just hot water and water movement, with nothing actually touching the meat itself.

I don't follow.  350 F is a precise temp, it's usually what you roast meats at, and meat won't char at that temp unless you have it touching metal or have a naked flame directly on the meat.  Then again, I've roasted meats (duck brst, fish, small birds, etc) at temps of 450 or higher without charring either.

The "water movement" has no effect in food sealed in bags or containers.  Water is recirculated back through the heating device to maintain temperature--just like a hot water heating system in a house....
 
 
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Uh-huh.... vacuum packing doesn't do that, it just vacuum packs.  However, someone about 800-900 years ago figured out that  moist heat with longer cooking temps will break down connective tissue--no vacuum packing involved.
You quoted 2 of my posts, what doesn't vacuum bags do?

I heard it has something to do with the circulation of the water and the low heat, but are the bags needed?  They just are there to protect the food from getting wet I would assume.  I'm sure you could do without the bags and get similar results, or maybe not...
 
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From what I hear, the reason for SVing is to break down connective tissue in proteins to make them more tender, while working at precise temps that aren't going to "char/hurt"; the meat in any way since it's just hot water and water movement, with nothing actually touching the meat itself.
No, I don't believe that's the reason for SVing. Any slow cooking technique will break down connective tissue in proteins, and, done right, will make them more tender. And unless you really don't know how to cook, no cooking technique should char/hurt the meat - unless that's your goal, obviously.

And in SVing, something does touch the meat: the poaching liquid that was placed with the meat in the plastic bag. There are many other cooking techniques like that: En papillote is one. Poaching is another.

SVing does cook the meat. It cooks it very slowly and for a long time, which means the cooking is uniform. That can be challenging to get with other cooking techniques. Reverse sear means the searing is done at the end of the cooking process, rather than at the beginning. Once you achieve the uniform "medium-rare" inside of the steak in SV, you can quickly sear it. The result is a steak that is perfectly medium rare with very thin seared layers on each side, as opposed to thicker grayish layers on a grilled or pan fried steak with sometimes a raw center. This may sound like I'm saying SV is better than grilling? I'm not, in fact I prefer grilling. I'm just saying that is the advantages of SV as presented by the SV enthusiasts.


Afterwards it seems you're still supposed to cook the meat.  
No, the meat is cooked. You just need to sear it to caramelize the surface because it'll taste better that way. But after SVing, the meat is cooked.


I've been very interested in SV, but I'm still wondering the full applications, and it does seem to be a "protein thing," since all it's doing is breaking down stuff, and not "Cooking....." apparently?
No, no: SV is a cooking technique. You can use SV for veggies, fruits... anything really.
 
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You quoted 2 of my posts, what doesn't vacuum bags do?

I heard it has something to do with the circulation of the water and the low heat, but are the bags needed?  They just are there to protect the food from getting wet I would assume.  I'm sure you could do without the bags and get similar results, or maybe not...
You're right, I should have clarified.  Vacuum bags by themselves don't break down connective tissue.  Heat--moist heat, and longer cooking times will do this.

What you need to do is get more familiar with moist heat methods--poaching and braising in particular.  If you read some of my above posts, you will understand that you don't need to poach in gallons and gallons of plain hot water--just enough liquid to cover the item is sufficient, and you can choose your liquid--wine, stock, fumet, anything really.

I'm also trying to make it clear that the only reason the water circulates, is so it passes through the immersion circulator, which heats up/maintains the water temp. at the setting you had it for.  For instance, I can poach cheesecake, a terrine,  or flan caramel in a water bath, the water never moves or circulates, yet  I will get consistant and great results with this method.

Meh, I respectfully disagree with F. Fries. S.V. is not a cooking method, the cooking method is poaching--poaching under vacuum to be sure, but still poaching. 
 
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So items are NOT vacuum packed and then put in a water bath?
Eggs aren't! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif but yes, "sous vide" translated from the French term is "in vacuum" so that is by and large what sous vide means. There are actually cold applications of sous vide - for instance water melon can be prepared sous vide which creates a dense and concentrated product without ever applying heat.

We could argue all day over the precise meaning of the term, but the reality is that most people that have an understanding of what it means to "cook something sous vide" associate a product in a vacuum sealed bag being placed into a water bath that has a precisely controlled temperature. You might be technically correct to say they cooked it by poaching it in a plastic bag that was sealed under pressure, but isn't that a bit pedantic?
 
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Really?

So items are NOT vacuum packed and then put in a water bath?
I'm not sure if that's what dcarch meant, but for the sake of precision: vacuum packing does not create a vacuum. A vacuum is a space devoid of matter. There's no such thing in a vacuum packed bag. Vacuum packing only means removing the air out of a bag. 

You can also do sous vide using the water displacement method - which does not require vacuum packing. 
 
Meh, I respectfully disagree with F. Fries. S.V. is not a cooking method, the cooking method is poaching--poaching under vacuum to be sure, but still poaching. 
My point was that when you sous vide an item you are cooking it. It seems like @RedBeerd Cantu   was under the impression that sous vide was not cooking the items. 
 
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are the bags needed?  They just are there to protect the food from getting wet I would assume.  I'm sure you could do without the bags and get similar results, or maybe not...
You add fat or broth to the items you put in the bag. Without bag, you would need the entire liquid in the tank to be flavorful. With bags, you can use water in the tank, and a few Tbspns of the flavorful poaching medium inside the bag. Also, without bag, the item's flavor would be diluted in the tank's liquid. The bag helps concentrate the flavor. 
 
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Really?

So items are NOT vacuum packed and then put in a water bath?
Absolutely not. Sous vide is not cooking in vacuum, and not putting food "under pressure". 

You use a vacuum machine to remove as much air as possible to facilitate better thermal conduction, not really to create a vacuum or pressurized environment. As a matter of fact many people sous vide just use the immersion water displacement concept to squeeze out air by natural water pressure.

Sous vide is a fancy French word for a shockingly simple cooking method, that is, cooking with an extremely good thermostat. No more and no less.

What is good about the extremely good thermostat is that it will allow you the ultimate food safety in the guarantee that your food can be cooked to the exact temperature you want, right next to the "danger zone" if you so desire. Something you can't do with any other method. There is only one way to be food safe using normal methods, you overcook part of the food.

dcarch
 
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By the way.. for anyone wanting to make the jump into cooking with an immersion circulator, amazon is having their "Prime Day" sale and you can get an Anova circulator that is regularly $179 for $139.99
 
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foodpump, you can call precise temp cooking poaching all you want.  But you are wrong.  I can call Crock pots bbq, too.  Or EZ bake ovens the same as Rational ovens.
 
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[quote name="dcarch" url="/t/8

Sous vide is a fancy French word for a shockingly simple cooking method, that is, cooking with an extremely good thermostat. No more and no less.



dcarch
[/quote]




Actually, any French speaker will tell you,
Sous=under
Vide=vacuum

Then again all web resources will tell you that sous vide entails cooking in some form of an airtight container, and about half will tell you that the container is under vacuum, hence the french term "sous vide".
 
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