Sous Vide is a cooking method that utilises a water bath to transfer heat into the food over a long period of time. This method gives excellent results especially when a certain internal temperature is required.
The laws of thermodynamics dictate that heat can only move from a warm body to a cooler body, which guarantees that the food will not get hotter than the surrounding water.
The water bath can be a simple bucket, a especially designed pot or an integrated receptical; but what ever it is, it needs to be large enough to hold sufficient water to cover the food for the extended cooking times required, but not too big that it loses too much heat and can not maintain temperature.
This part of the system is usually submerged in the water and provides the heat which gets the water up to temperature. It is important that it is thermostatically controlled to ensure the water maintains the same temp for the desired cooking duration.
The last part of the system is the food pouch. It is normal to vacuum pack the food to be cooked, along with any herbs and spices and submerge this pouch in the water bath. However, it is not essential to vacuum pack the food, just seal it to prevent the water getting in.
WHAT TO GET
The choice of water bath is not that critical, other than ensuring it is big enough, but not too big. We currently use the Rubbermaid 18l Space saver, which so far has been perfect, and large enough that we can store all the other sous vide items in it when not in use.
Because we don’t use a lid with our container, we use these balls on the surface. They reduce the surface area between the water and the air, and reduce evaporation to the point where the bath does not need topping up during cooking.
For the heating element of the set up, we currently use a Wankle Sous Vide Wand heating element. It was reasonable priced and the display was angled outside of the water bath, meaning we didn’t get any condensation over the readout.
Finally, in order to vacuum pack the food for sous vide, we use a cheap and cheerful vacuum system such as this.
Now, we have found that the vacuum sometimes does not seal properly and that it will try to suck up any liquids in the pouch before sealing. A trick we use is to put a dining knife in the bottom of the pouch to weight it down and a strip of kitchen towel along the top to act as a barrier before liquids gets dragged into the pump.
We also use a roll of vacuum material rather than bags, as this offers better value for money and allows you to seal food of various sizes.
Links to the products discussed here are available below. We are not sponsored by anyone to endorse products, these are just what we use.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Click the button to see a chart of suggested timings for various foods stuffs.
Below are links to some of the kit we use.
We are NOT sponsored by any of these companies.
If you decide to purchase any of this equipment, please consider doing it using these links; you will not pay any extra and you will be helping maintain this site.