Sous vide cooking tips, times, and temperatures

Last updated Sep 28, 2019 at 9:25AM | Published on Jan 9, 2019

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The perfect temperature

You need to choose the perfect cooking temperature that will cook your food perfectly – according to your tastes.
Then set your machine going to heat up to that temperature, and pop your food bag in under the water when the temperature is reached.

 

The perfect cook time

The time you cook at the above temperature will depend on the thickness / volume of your food – e.g. is your steak 1″ thick, or 1.5″ ? the thicker it is the longer the time it will need to cook .

 

5 things you probably didn’t know you could sous vide

1: jam 

2: chocolates

3: cocktails

4. infused spirits

5: pickles

An introduction to eggs, desserts and pickles.

eggs

Really you don’t need bags –they have their own ! Eggs normally  need 160℉ to cook well, and 147℉ for a soft poached egg texture.

45mins …nice and creamy custardy.

If you go over the time for eggs ( eg 2 hrs!…the white stays cooked to same consistency (the protein is not over cooked), but the yolk is less creamy (the fat becomes more gel like and not as runny).

Eggy based desserts and Eggs en cocotte are perfect foolproof foods to cook sous vide. Doesn’t alway mean its better than an experienced cook making them a more traditional way, but the point is that its easier and foolproof !

 

pickles

i.e anything you can preserve in acid

You can pickle without having to go to the lengths of fermentation ( although to be honest, fermented foods are great for the gut).

you can just add the vinegar to the fruits or veg and heat with sous vide to pasteurise it. 

To get something like that funky fermented taste, try adding salt and/or sugar, plus herbs, spices, and other seasonings. 

Chefsteps teach us how to get that the crispness of fermented pickles like this: use low-temperature cooking to heat pickles just to the point of pasteurization—140 °F / 60 °C. If you use quart—or litre—jars, the pickles will be ready to go crispy in just two and a half hours. 

desserts

Yes you can even cook desserts in a sous vide. Flans, cheesecake, chocolate pots, pumpkin pie, custard, creme brulée… anything you would normally do in a bain marie would be good in a sous vide. Most you can also make in jars. Sous vide is not for every type of dessert but a great foolproof way to experiment, make fillings, and maybe mix it up with some traditional methods to get nice flaky or crumbly browned finishes . Patisserie is complicated !  

Understanding how food works

 

Cooking sous vide is helping us learn so much about how food behaves. We aren’t experts by any means, but diligent foodies who love to research and experiment, and with lot of years of business and travel behind us. We love and live the educating nature of writing this blog! 

We found this best seller book for you to help explain not just how to cook but WHY it’s scientifically best to cook a particular way. It’s not a recipe book per se. However, it’s a great kitchen coffee table book to dip into if, like us, you want to understand more about how food works 

 

 

Written by Dr Stuart Farrimond – a medical doctor and qualified teacher! His writing appears in national and international publications, including The Independent, the Daily Mail, and New Scientist.

 

 

A few user review quotes…

“Dr Farrimond has a very engaging writing style and his book tells you everything you need to know about kitchen conundrums” 

“the best cuts of meat explained – scientifically why some are better than others”

“would truly make a fine Christmas present”

 

 

Useful little tips and tricks to remember

Here’s what we’re learning from using our own sous vide machine, and from chefs chatting about the subject online. For more sous vide questions and answers, head over to our FAQs post.

 

batch cooking - the magic temperature

For time-saving meals, cook batches of meat at a time and chill down in iced water before freezing. Apparently 60℃ / 140℉ is the MAGIC temperature that chefs use to batch cook several types of meat (pork, beef, chicken) all at the same time.  

ref: greatbritishchefs.com, chefsteps.com

Easy temperature rule for lean vs fattie cuts

Fattie cuts of meat like ribeye, as opposed to loin , need to be cooked a few degrees higher, and a little longer.
Why?
Because the fat between the muscle keeps the meat more moist so you need to raise the cooking temperature, and the fatty marbling also insulates the meat more, so it takes a little longer to reach the correct cooking temperature

ref: seriouseats.com and anovaculinary.com

when is vacuum seal better by machine better, or by hand

Machine vacuum seal

Recommended for vegetables. Properly cooked, vacuum-sealed veggies will also be fully pasteurized, so you can store them in the fridge for weeks at a time or freeze them without fear of freezer burn. 

by hand… i.e. water displacement method
recommended for Salmon steaks, Oxtail

 

 

ref: chefsteps.com

Get to the cooking temperature quickly

An obvious one ! 50℃ is about the warmest setting on most sink taps / faucets. So if your cooking temperature is above this temperature, it makes sense to fill your container with hot water so that you get to your cooking temperature quickly !

How to make sure chicken is safe

we have seen that chicken can be cooked at 60°C on some sites, even though 65°C is the usual preference. However,  greatbritishchefs website says it’s important to thoroughly cook your chicken to 62°C to make it safe to eat. 

To get the perfectly cooked dark meat and light meat you really should separate the legs from the crown and cook separately!

Great use for glass jars instead of bags ?

for anything that sets – like custard, paté, yoghurt. now that makes me wonder about jams… 

Reheating a.k.a. Regenerating temperatures

You can re-heat your already cooked then frozen food by sous viding it a few degrees below its usual cooking temperature. That way you are just reheating, not recooking. Smaller portions take roughly the same time to reheat as they did to cook. For example, we are having our frozen pre cooked steaks tonight ( precooked at 54℃ for 45mins from fresh) , then we forze them. So we will sous vide the frozen steaks at 52℃ for 40-45mins.

When it's better to use Ziplock or sous vide bags ?

“At temperatures above around 158 °F / 70 °C, the seams of ziplock-style bags can fail, exposing your food to the water in the bath. Obviously, nobody wants that. Instead, opt for some heavy-duty sous vide bags. In a pinch, you can double-bag with two ziplock-style bags, but sous vide bags are preferable.” 

“Sous vide bags are definitely the best option when you’re cooking foods that require temperatures above 158 °F / 70 °C—vegetables, lentils, beans, and certain braised meats.”

ref: chefsteps

Cooking time rule of thumb - fresh to frozen

If your meat is frozen then add on half of the fresh cooking time… so you are cooking it 1.5 times the fresh cook time. 

Roughly, for every drop of 5 °C to 10 °C in water temperature, the cooking time doubles

For yolks, for braised meat, and for most proteins. This is why you can cook a soft boiled egg for 8 mins , a hard boiled one for 20mins, but poached eggs can take 60-90mins !

Answered by ChefSteps support team. Thank-you.

The most popular things to sous vide...

There is so much expert advice, recipes, and general chit chat online so we’ve researched all the questions people seem to have and created this list of the most common requests for help on sous vide cooking temperatures (rare, medium, well done), and corresponding times.

Paul, like most beginners, started with a steak – and it indeed was perfect ! I started with fish (salmon) as I find this trickier to get right the traditional way. It was perfectly cooked but I need to up the temperature a few degrees I think next time to get it perfect for me. Good to know that it’s best “not” vacuum sealed too as that’s what I did anyway.

I’ve also experimented with vegetables, and using jars instead of bags. Next I want to do desserts. Making custard looks so easy, and I want to experiment with healthier sugar replacements.  Will keep you posted on that !

Beef

rump steak, fillet steak, sirloin steak, ribeye
(rare, medium, well done)
℃ (54 , 58 , 68) ,  ℉(129 , 136 , 154), … (60 -120)mins

beef brisket
(rare, medium, well)
°C (70 , 75 , 80) /  °F (158  , 167 , 176)…  24hrs

beef burger
less medium…147.2 °F / 64 °C, more medium…140 °F / 60 °C
Time from fresh: 15mins for 1/2″ (1.3cm), 30mins for 1″
Frozen burgers (23-)45mins
Sear afterwards for 45-60sec each side.

smoked brisket
our preference: 68°C /155°C…  (e.g. 6kg = 48hrs)

flank steak
our preference: 54°C / 129°C … 30mins – 2hrs

beef ribs / short ribs
our preference: 70°C / …  12hrs-15hrs

beef wellington – e.g. beef tenderloin
our preference: 750g 6″ long (55/131)  90mins

beef joint ( topside, silverside)
(rare, medium, well)
℃ (56 , 60 , 70) ,  ℉(133 , 140 , 158), …hours (, 120)

oxtail
our preference: 75°C /  16724hrs

 

Lamb

lamb chops  
(rare, rare medium, medium, medium well, well done) 
(52, 55, 60, 65, 70)°C /  …45mins for 1″thick

leg of lamb /lamb leg
our preference: 55°C / 131℉… 24hrs

lamb rump (lamb chump)
our preference: 70℃
8hrs

 lamb shank
( rare medium, medium, medium well, well done) 
we like well done as it falls off the bone
(65, 70, 75, 80) ℃ /  (149, 158, 167, 176) ℉ 
24hrs recommended, (min 16hrs, max 48hrs)

Pork

pork belly°C (60, 68, 80 ) / °F (140 , 154.4, 176)…  24, 24, 8hrs

pork chop – (62°C / 144℉)… 1″ 1 hour

pork loin – (pork chops) 60°C/140… 30mins – 2 hrs eg 1″ 1hr

pork tenderloin – minimum 58°C / 13690mins

bacon – slab bacon 64°C/147 24-48hrs

Chicken

chicken thighs – 75°C/167℉… 45mins

whole chicken – 65°C/149℉… 6hrs

 

 

Duck

duck breast°C(55,62,65,70)… 1hr 30 sear twice

duck leg°C (60,70,80)  / (?,140/176)… 16hrs

Time depends on the thickness of the meat however, so we are fleshing this out so to speak, as we go. Until then, there is so much information on ChefSteps site and plenty of tables you can download. You can download this one for starters from the SousVide Supreme website page.  As we get more experience, we will find the best one to recommend to you, or make our own.

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