Sous Vide Cooking Temperatures

Sous Vide Cooking Temperatures

The way food is heated while being cooked determines to a large extent its flavor, texture and nutritional content. The sous vide cooking method was first invented in the 18thcentury and later developed as a professional cooking method in the 20thcentury by American and French cooks.

Sous vide cooking is a method of cooking in which food kept under vacuum is cooked in a water oven. A sousvide cooking machine comprises a water bath, and a food rack on which vacuum-sealed pouches of food can be kept while being cooked; the machine is covered with a lid and connected to an electric supply.

A digital temperature regulator is attached to the machine, with which temperature and time can be regulated. A sousvide cooking machine has a PID controller which provides high precision temperature control; the PID controller prevents sudden changes in temperature and maintains a precise uniform temperature.

Different foods cook well at different temperatures

While cooking sous vide, refer to the temperature-time chart that you will get along with the machine. Your perfect temperature might vary a little, so when you achieve your perfect temperature for a particular food, just note it down and repeat the next time when you cook the same food. In some foods, precision does not matter much, but in some other foods, especially egg-based preparations, precision is a major determinant of flavor and texture.

Sous vide cooking machines can also be used to cook certain foods without being contained in vacuum packs. Foods can also be kept inside other containers and placed inside the machine.

The temperatures on the temperature chart are for normally refrigerated foods; frozen foods require more heat and higher temperatures.

Heating in sous vide and traditional methods

In a sous vide cooking machine, the food gets heated from the center and the heat spreads towards the edges. As soon as the machine reaches the target temperature, the automatic feature in the machine cuts off the power supply, though the food keeps getting cooked in the preserved heat; a sous vide machine can preserve heat at the same temperature for hours or even days.

In sous vide cooking, food is generally cooked in a vacuum.Water is a better conductor of heat than air,and it remains uniformly heated. The heated water does not come in contact with the food but the heat from the heated water reaches the food inside the vacuum sealed packs by the principle of thermal radiation. The entire food, along with the spices, herbs, yoghurt,orcondiments, and also vegetables and fruits with which it has been packed, remains in a uniformly heated environment for certain time duration, without any intervening air or water;no water or air enter its molecular spaces, only the different flavors are uniformly blended throughout the food.

There is a great relationship between uniform heating and molecular cooking. Non-uniform heating produces non-uniform behavior at the molecular level, and this reflects in the finally served food item.

In the traditional cooking method, the food gets heated at the edges. First, the heating is non-uniform and temperatures vary vastly.

Even in an oven, uniform temperatures are not maintained; the food is heated on the exterior first. In most ovens, the inside temperature is regulated by a sensor and the temperature is controlled by a simple on/off mechanism. The sensor turns on the heating element when the temperature inside the oven drops below a certain mark.

So, in most ovens, the inside temperature varies widely around the set temperature. Also, food cooked in the oven is surrounded by air which is a bad conductor of heat and, as such, contributes to non-uniform heating.In addition, ovens require much more electricity than sous vide machines.

Pros

  • Uniform,vacuum, high precision heating environment
  • Nutrition, flavors, and textures are preserved
  • Heat can be preserved for a long time
  • Automatic self-regulated silent cooking machine
  • Runs on clean fuel; requires less power
  • Saves time, energy and fuel
  • Does not require much cleaning

Cons

Food cannot be seared (for golden brown texture) inside a sous vide machine. Foods can be seared either prior to or after cooking in a sous vide machine.

Verdict

We often wonder what made the lamb or chicken preparation of a restaurant so different, and the answer is sous vide. Sous vide cooking has now been in use in professional cooking for ages. Most restaurants have sous vide machines, and now many people are buying them for their homes so as to make restaurant-like foods,and in large quantities, with minimal effort and with very minimal time.

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