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  • Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

    On this site we tend to focus on all things WFO and don’t discuss much in the way of other non-fire related things.

    I’m currently building a Sous Vide circulating cooker/oven? I found a few DYI versions and matured variations on these and my curiosity got the best of me so I ordered and acquired the parts to build a system. The most complete site that I found is this one...

    tomordway.com/PID_Controller/SousVideController.html

    This site includes a parts list and some safety features. I’m including GFI and want to add a data logger for reference.

    Anyone in the community cooking both WFO and Sous Vide?

    Chris
    Last edited by SCChris; 12-13-2012, 07:35 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

    Thanks for the link, Chris! I located similar instructions about two years ago and ALMOST built it but never got going. That looks pretty good! And the GFI is certainly a good addition. Tell us about your data logger...

    I haven't done sous vide yet but I have certainly eaten a bit of it. One of my real favorites is really primo eggs soft boiled/poached Set to 64.5 C the white will be creamy soft but "set" and the yolk will be totally liquid. With primo organic/free range type eggs it can be truly wonderful! Likewise steaks/lamb/etc. cooked (and then seared or seared and then held sous vide can be delightful

    Tell us about your experience!
    Jay

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    • #3
      Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

      Oooh. I have had building a sous vide cooker on my winter projects list. I will have to check this out! I have seen the one in Make Magazine, but it seems somewhat crude. I would ideally like one that I can attach to the side of my sink or use in another vessel.
      My build progress
      My WFO Journal on Facebook
      My dome spreadsheet calculator

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

        Jay, regarding the data logger, I haven’t targeted a model but I want to be able to check the history at a glance so a display that can give me a 24hr history with samples every 5 minutes is desirable and more is better. Since this is a whole new way to cook for me, I really want to be able to audit the cooking. Time at temp is critical and I’m going to be more comfortable with an independent record of what happens. Thermoworks is a company I’ll be looking at for a logger, I don’t see the need to reinvent the wheel if I don’t have to. As I get comfortable with the system I’d bet that I’ll have a wish list of additional features.

        On a related note, I picked up “Modernist cuisine at home” at 10% off at amazon and less than a week later Barns and Nobel has a 25% off of one item at their stores. That brings the cost to somewhere around $85 or so. I haven’t had a lot of time to read the book, but it’s interesting.. How much of this is practical and reasonable, time will tell..


        Chris

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        • #5
          Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

          Good tip on the book Chris. On that subject, I recently ran across a post on another forum about cooking pizzas in your indoor oven using a steel plate. Apparently it is recommended in the Modernist Cuisine book as the best way of getting a great crust from your oven. Did you see this? there is discussion at slice and at pizzamaking.com.

          There's a company selling "baking steels", but I figure it will be cheaper to go down to my local metal shop to buy a piece of steel plate.
          Last edited by deejayoh; 12-14-2012, 12:32 PM.
          My build progress
          My WFO Journal on Facebook
          My dome spreadsheet calculator

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

            Hi deejayoh!

            Using a steel plate has advantages indoors because it transfers heat really fast to the dough. The downside is that unless it is really heavy it doesn't hold a lot of heat (and thus would need to be recharged between pizzas). While I can see it being useful in an indoor oven (where getting crusts to cook can be a challenge) I would be quite surprised if it worked very well in a properly loaded WFO at proper temp. Would be an interesting experiment.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

              Originally posted by texassourdough View Post
              Hi deejayoh!

              Using a steel plate has advantages indoors because it transfers heat really fast to the dough. The downside is that unless it is really heavy it doesn't hold a lot of heat (and thus would need to be recharged between pizzas). While I can see it being useful in an indoor oven (where getting crusts to cook can be a challenge) I would be quite surprised if it worked very well in a properly loaded WFO at proper temp. Would be an interesting experiment.
              I was thinking about indoor cooking. I like to have an alternative when I can't fire up the WFO, and it sounds like steel is better than pizza stones. The baking steels that I saw reviewed were 1/4" and 1/2". Interestingly, the reviewer found the 1/2" to be only slightly better - but I don't think they were worried about recharge times.
              My build progress
              My WFO Journal on Facebook
              My dome spreadsheet calculator

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

                I don't have much of an update other than to say I'm not wild about the project boxes and to have one of these plastic boxes sitting on the kitchen counter for any time will create a sore point with my wife. I'm looking at old wood radio boxes with the idea "if you can't hide it make a focal point of it". The desktop variety wood radios have enough room inside to store the thermocouple and provide the plug outlets for the pump and heaters. It shouldn't be a problem to put a power switch, the controls for the PID controller and an led to indicate when the heat is on in the front of the unit. I may opt for a wooden box but I don't want short cut on safety. I may need to mount everything in a project box and then mount this in whatever becomes the permanent enclosure.


                Chris

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                • #9
                  Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

                  The "ugliness" of the boxes was one of the things that slowed me down too. I don't mind it looking "laboratory" but jury rigged is more troublesome... I was toying with using boxes other than clear to avoid some of the issue.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

                    If the components were interesting then I could deal with clear.. I have a $40 candidate and that may be where things end up.

                    Chris

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                    • #11
                      Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

                      I found a old, wooden, fabric covered, slide storage box and will be using this until it disagrees with me. The controller seems to be doing what the default settings tell it to do and this is where the tweaking starts. Right now it runs significantly past the target temp and then settles back to the target, by tweaking it should move to the target temp, quickly until it's close and then slowly to just past. After this it pulses the power to the heater coils and should keep things within 0.5F. The controller will learn about the bath / heater relationship. Things like how fast is the temp changed up by the heaters and down by how fast the heat bleeds off. If the bath is covered heat dissipation will slow, if it's insulated it will slow, if it's a big insulated pot without a cover in a cold room.. Well you get the idea.. Although the cost of the equipment is relatively low, by the time you run the parts, assemble and tweak, my feeling is that the $500 Polyscience device isn't so crazy. My bet is that these are going to be in the $300 range by this time next year..

                      JMHO

                      Chris

                      PS Cooking results to follow..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

                        The only thing I've completed cooking, sous vide, so far are NY steaks. That said I have a 4# pork shoulder that has been cooking comfortably for 16 hours.

                        My impressions so far are limited but here is what I have so far. There is a real convenience factor to the method an example would be that the steaks are all at temp and ready just queued for browning and presentation. Steaks may not be the ideal food items bearing in mind that with sous vide the resting period, after grilling, is non-existent or nearly so. Just Sear with a blow torch or very hot pan or Tuscan grill, and plate. A Pork belly or short ribs, or another item that takes time, at a specific temp, seems to be a more ideal candidate.

                        I’m not convinced that this method really replaces braising, but it’s early yet. I still have the feeling that braising has the advantage of concentrating and bringing flavors together. Ragu of pork or Coq-au-vin or getting Texas BBQ, require time in the pot or in the smoke and I just don’t know that these are better done or prepped using sous vide or if they can be done at all.

                        I became aware that evaporation is, or can be an issue. Who’d have thunk it? I’ve added about 2L, a gallon, of water to the bath in the last 16 hours. Evaporation, of course, is going to be relative to the temp of the bath and coverage of the bath. I’m also happy to pass along that although the DYI tool works beautifully. After chasing the parts and trying to design an acceptable, functional tool, I now understand spending $400, or more, for a stand alone, self contained unit like one of the PolyScience devices. The downside of lower cost, production, devices are the ability to maintain a larger volume bath at temp and their high purchase price. The units need to be flexible enough to return the dollar and skill investments. My feeling is that these units will drop in price significantly in the next 2 years, the Modernist Cooking movement and component costs will drive these drops. I don’t know how much I’ll end up using this tool and technique; it’s just too early for me to know yet.

                        I’ll update things as I have more to share.


                        Chris

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                        • #13
                          Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

                          For anyone reading this with the thought of building their own thermal immersion circulator I would highly suggest one thing. Built the immersion circulator and the temperature control unit separate. That is how I built mine, and although I don't Sous Vide all that much, I use the temperature controller pretty much non stop.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

                            shuboyje,

                            How are you using the controller?

                            The controller and the ability to setup a proofer or temp control for my grandparents little Kamado or whatever else were part of the reason for going forward with the project. And it certainly was part of the reason I kept the controller separate from the heat and circulation components. Your point of keeping these things as plugins certainly adds a high degree of flexibility.

                            The Pork shoulder, butt, was kept at 66C, 150F, for 26 hours. Maintaining the water bath due to evaporation took little effort but having a secondary "Digital" instant read thermometer became fixation. I'll be ordering a ThermoWorks Thermapen today when I can decide on the color.. ;-) Although I have any number of analog thermometers and digital remote roasting thermometers, I need a Thermapen.

                            Back to the Butt. It came out moist and separated from the bone with little effort. Success! Along with evaporation, it became apparent that the thermocouple to controller connection needs soldering. The connectors came crimped on and even though they seem to be firm, movement at this connection creates reading inaccuracies.

                            Right now the whole device looks like a science project and this needs to be cleaned up and packaged.

                            Chris
                            Last edited by SCChris; 01-01-2013, 09:22 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Anyone cooking both Sous Vide and WFO

                              Seems to be a few cheapish ones on ebay out of China
                              $200 odd dollars is still a fair bit to pay,I might wait until they are $19.99 like a rice cooker in a few years time.
                              Thermostatic Water Bath | eBay

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