Cooking Sous-Vide at Home


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Pioneered by French chefs in the 1970s, and more recently championed by Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Bouchon fame, the cooking technique of sous-vide (French for “under vacuum”) is one of the hottest trends in food today. It involves cooking vacuum-sealed food items at low temperatures for a long time (a great example of the so called “low and slow” cooking ideal). Until a couple of years ago, sous-vide cooking was the domain of avant-garde restaurants and high-end steakhouses.

Hinsdale Public Library Adult Services Librarian and food enthusiast Mike Oetting will tell you everything you need to know to get started with this easy cooking method. You’ll learn what equipment you’ll need, how much it will cost, how to determine cooking times and temperatures and what kind of results to expect.

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Cooking Sous-Vide at Home

  1. 1. Presented by Presenter: Mike Oetting Adult Services Librarian
  2. 2. • What is it? • Why sous-vide? • History • Food safety • Equipment • Step-by-step Pulled Pork Cooked Sous-Vide
  3. 3. Literal translation: “under vacuum.” Practical definition: cooking vacuum-sealed food in a temperature- controlled water bath.
  4. 4. Water conducts heat 24 times as effectively as air*. • Example: oven vs. water at 200 ° F • Ensures even heat distribution by the end of the cooking cycle *
  5. 5. • Convenience: cook while you’re at work • Can hit desired serving temperature every single time (e.g. medium rare) • Can extend food’s time in water bath by minutes or even hours without overcooking (e.g., to serve late dinner guests). • Improved texture and flavor • Excellent consistency of results • Easy to feed a crowd* * DC chefs prepared a nine course meal for 400 Hurricane Katrina evacuees in 2005 using sous-vide techniques.
  6. 6. 1. France in the 1970s: Georges Pralus and Bruno Goussalt 2. Championed by Thomas Keller, Heston Blumenthal, Grant Achatz and other innovative chefs since the mid 2000s.
  7. 7. 3. A few years ago, cooks at home began to try sous-vide. The 2010 book Cooking for Geeks gives instructions for hacking a slow cooker. 4. In 2013 a project for the $200 Sansaire Sous Vide Circulator attracts public attention for its low price.
  8. 8. Today, sous-vide is making headlines in popular media…
  9. 9. Presented by The temperature range between 40° F and 140° F is widely considered the danger zone for harmful bacterial growth in food. However, food cooked at temperatures as low as 131°F can be safe if cooked long enough. This is key for sous-vide. Refer to time and temperature tables for details on safe cooking. public/documents/image/ucm182777.gif
  10. 10. Presented by Vacuum sealer ($50 and up). FoodSaver is a popular brand. Also consider the water displacement method using Ziploc freezer bags.
  11. 11. Presented by Immersion Circulator/ Hot Water Bath • Anova ($200) • Sansaire ($200) • Nomiku ($300) • Sous Vide Supreme Demi ($330) • DIY using slow cooker and PID temperature controller ($100-$150).
  12. 12. Presented by Hot Water Vessel • Food-safe polycarbonate container (Cambro is a popular brand) • Large Stock Pot • Plastic Cooler: 16-20 quarts
  13. 13. Accessories for Hot Water Vessel • Lid: with hole for circulator • Cling film: to stop evaporation • Ping-Pong balls floating on water • Insulation for container: helpful for long cooking times
  14. 14. Optional: Butane Blow Torch • Iwatani (~$30) makes a popular model used in the restaurant industry. Offers a quick way to sear food. Fuel is readily available in Asian markets.
  15. 15. 1. Preparation (marinades, rubs, aromatic herbs and pre-searing) 2. Vacuum sealing
  16. 16. 3. Immerse bag in hot water bath. Refer to Time and temperature tables* * Excerpt of time and temperature table from:
  17. 17. $4.99 on App Store Computes time and temperature needed to pasteurize food and reach desired level of doneness (e.g. medium rare).
  18. 18. 5. When will you serve the food? a) Immediately b) Within a couple of hours c) Days from now
  19. 19. Searing: If serving immediately, you should sear the protein after blotting dry to create a Maillard reaction (browning). You can use a: • Cast iron skillet • Grill • Deep fryer • Butane torch
  20. 20. If serving in the next couple of hours, you can hold the food in the hot water bath provided the temperature is above 131° F. Great for groups, late arrivals at dinner parties, etc. Simply finish dish by searing as required.
  21. 21. If you won’t be serving for days, rapid chilling in an ice bath is necessary prior to storage. We must get the food’s temperature down below 40° F quickly before placing in refrigerator or freezer. Stored food can be reheated and
  22. 22. ''If you're patient, and you try different temperatures and different times, at some point you'll achieve a taste from the product that's better than it's ever tasted before. I'm not exaggerating….” “Under Pressure,” New York Times, August 14, 2005 Chef Dan Barber Blue Hill Restaurant New York City