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Everything You Need to Know About Sous Vide
When you’re running a busy restaurant, reducing overhead costs and saving time are some of your top priorities. Chefs are discovering that sous vide cooking is not only a highly effective way to cook but can also save time and money. We explored the benefits of implementing this popular food preparation method, the equipment needed, and how to use sous vide to cook a variety of foods. Keep reading to learn more about the sous vide cooking technique and how it can help your restaurant. Shop All Commercal Sous Vide Immersion Circulators You may use the following links to navigate through the article. What Is Sous Vide? What Are the Benefits of Sous Vide Cooking? What Do I Need to Cook Sous Vide? Infusing Foods Through Sous Vide Cooking What Can I Cook Using Sous Vide? Printable Version What Is Sous Vide? Defined as "under vacuum," sous vide is the process of slow-cooking vacuum sealed food with a water bath set to a specific temperature. Sous vide (pronounced “sue veed”) uses precise temperature control to cook with consistency and precision. Developed in the mid-1970's by a French chef, sous vide cooking is now a fixture in many commercial kitchens. What was once only available to upscale establishments is now accessible for everyone. This relatively foolproof method will cook everything from steak to fruit and can be executed by any member of your staff. With the proper equipment and basic technical knowledge, your restaurant will soon be producing delicious sous vide dishes. Back to Top What Are the Benefits of Sous Vide Cooking? Cooking with just heated water may seem a bit odd, and you may be asking yourself “Why should I cook with the sous vide technique?” Cooking food through the sous vide method actually comes with a variety of benefits that include increased free time, higher taste quality, and improved food safety. You eliminate the guesswork of whether or not your food product is completely cooked by being able to control heat and temperatures throughout the food. Below we have outlined the key benefits you experience when cooking via sous vide. 1. You Can Set It and Forget It Cooking sous vide gives you the freedom to vacuum pack your food, place it in water, set the temperature, and walk away. Unlike traditional cooking methods where you have to watch and check on your food, items prepared using sous vide will cook to perfection and free up your chef's hands for other tasks. Your food will be held at a consistent temperature over time while maintaining the texture and quality of your ingredients. All of these factors make sous vide ideal for busy, high-volume kitchens or foodservice businesses that prefer to prepare food in advance. 2. Energy Efficient Using the sous vide method can cut down on some of the energy costs in your establishment. For sous vide cooking, you'll only need one small piece of equipment that uses a single outlet (the immersion circulator) instead of a large, energy consuming range or grill that may use both electricity and gas to operate. 3. Overcooking is Virtually Impossible Another benefit of sous vide cooking is that it is virtually impossible to overcook food. In traditional cooking, food is only perfectly cooked for a small window of time, but it can be very difficult to tell when that is. This window often gets missed, and the food gets overcooked. Sous vide cooks by bringing food up to the exact temperature of the water bath, so your ingredients will be unable to cook at a higher degree than the water's specified temperature. The immersion circulator also makes it impossible for the water to cool beyond the set temperature, which leads to even and consistent cooking every time. Your food will also retain its moisture and tenderness without shrinking in size due to the use of water as a cooking medium. Keep in mind that meat cooked sous vide-style will not brown or crisp. However, you can easily achieve this by pre-searing or quickly applying a finishing sear to the food. 4. Better Taste Foods retain more of their nutrients and vitamins through sous vide than ingredients cooked through more traditional methods. Similarly, natural juices remain trapped in the bag with your food, which leads to a marinating effect and enhances their taste. When the cooking cycle is complete, the result is moist and juicy. 5. Reduces Prep Time Sous vide allows you to prepare foods beforehand and quickly sear or heat them before serving. All of your ingredients go into the same bag, and when you are done, all that is left to do is sear it for color before serving. You can also use sous vide for advanced meal preparation. After your bagged meal has been cooked in the water bath, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a later date. Simply reheat the meal when you’re ready to serve. 6. Reduce Risk of Contamination A critical concern in restaurants is preventing cross-contamination. Fortunately, the length of time it takes for foods to cook via sous vide practically eliminates the risk of contamination, since the water essentially pasteurizes your food due to the high and consistent temperatures. Back to Top What Do I Need to Cook Sous Vide? Aside from the ingredients in your recipe, there are a few pieces of equipment you will need to be able to cook sous vide. Here is what you will need: Immersion Circulator: This will keep your cooking water at a constant temperature by circulating the water through heated metal coils in the unit. Immersion circulators also feature adjustable clamps that easily attach to your water bath bin. Plastic Food Box or Storage Tub: This will hold the water and food bag you'll use to cook sous vide. Commercial Vacuum Sealer: This is to package your food before placing it in the water bath. Simply place your ingredients into the bag, use the machine to vacuum out any extra air, and seal it tightly. Vacuum Sealer Bags: This is to hold your ingredients. Most vacuum packaging bags are made of polyethylene, which is considered a safe plastic. Be sure to avoid cheaper plastic wraps, which are often made of PVC and can leach chemicals into your food. Pan: This is for the final searing before you serve your meal. Depending on the meal, you may want to place the food product on a hot pan to caramelize the outside and give it a slightly browner, crisp look. Back to Top Infusing Foods Through Sous Vide Cooking Many chefs use sous vide methods to infuse oils, alcohol, and other liquid with creative and unique flavors. For example, you could combine spices or herbs with alcohol, vacuum seal it into a bag, and prepare it sous vide-style at a high temperature for quick and easy infusion. Infused liquids should be allowed to heat in the water bath for 1 to 2 hours. Once removed, you should place the bag in an ice bath for at least 15 minutes. To finish, strain your liquid and store it in a sealed container. You can also add dry or liquid condiments to food during vacuum packing for enhanced infusion and marination. Back to Top What Can I Cook Using Sous Vide? While sous vide works best for cooking meat and fish due to their lower required cooking temperature, you can also use sous vide a variety of other foods. These include (but are not limited to) eggs, french fries, vegetables, fruits, and infused alcohols and oils. Sous Vide Cooking Times Below we have helpful tables you can follow while you try some sous vide cooking in your establishment. You can also use the links below to jump to a particular food type: Chicken Fish Beef Pork Fruits and Vegetables Eggs Cooking Chicken Using Sous Vide You can use sous vide to prepare delicious and tender chicken. This is an effective method to cook both light and dark meat to the perfect temperature, making it ideal for all of your restaurant's poultry dishes. For recommended times and temperatures when cooking chicken sous vide, check out the table below: Type of Meat Doneness Temperature Time Light Meat Supple 140 degrees F 2 hours Tender 149 degrees F 1 hour Well Done 167 degrees F 1 hour Dark Meat Tender 149 degrees F 1 hour 30 minutes Falling off the Bone 167 degrees F 1 hour 30 minutes Return to Cooking Times Cooking Fish Using Sous Vide From salmon to tilapia and everything in between, sous vide is an excellent way to cook a variety of fish. Be sure to filet and portion before you vacuum seal, as a whole fish will not cook evenly. For recommended times and temperatures when preparing fish filets around 1.5 inches thick, check out the table below: Type of Meat Doneness Temperature Time Fish Tender 104 degrees F 40 minutes Flaky 122 degrees F 40 minutes Well Done 140 degrees F 40 minutes Return to Cooking Times Cooking Beef Using Sous Vide Sous vide is an exceptional way to prepare beef in order to be sure it is perfectly cooked every time, whether it is filet mignon, a roast, or brisket. As opposed to traditional methods like pan-searing or grilling, sous vide steaks will not be scorched or have overcooked outer edges. For recommended times and temperatures when cooking sous vide beef, check out the table below: Cut Doneness Temperature Time Steak Rare 129 degrees F 1 hour 30 minutes Medium Rare 136 degrees F 1 hour 30 minutes Well Done 158 degrees F 1 hour 30 minutes Roast Rare 133 degrees F 7 hours Medium Rare 140 degrees F 6 hours Well Done 158 degrees F 5 hours Tough Cuts Rare 136 degrees F 24 hours Medium Rare 149 degrees F 16 hours Well Done 185 degrees F 8 hours Return to Cooking Times Cooking Pork Using Sous Vide You can also use the sous vide method to easily cooking pork chops and roasts or tougher cuts like pork belly and pork shoulder. Cooking pork sous vide-style will even eliminate chewy or tough spots in your meat. For recommended times and temperatures when cooking pork sous vide, check out the table below: Cut Doneness Temperature Time Chops Rare 136 degrees F 1 hour Medium Rare 144 degrees F 1 hour Well Done 158 degrees F 1 hour Roast Rare 136 degrees F 3 hours Medium Rare 144 degrees F 3 hours Well Done 158 degrees F 3 hours Tough Cuts Rare 144 degrees F 16 hours Medium Rare 154 degrees F 12 hours Well Done 185 degrees F 8 hours Return to Cooking Times Cooking Fruits and Vegetables Using Sous Vide You can even use sous vide to prepare delicious fruits and vegetables, and doing so is sure to produce consistently tender and delicious products. For recommended times and temperatures when cooking fruits and vegetables using sous vide, check out the table below: Type of Food Temperature Time Green Vegetables 185 degrees F 5 minutes Squash 185 degrees F 1 hour Potatoes & Root Vegetables 185 degrees F 1 hour Fruit (Warm & Ripe) 154 degrees F 1 hour 45 minutes Fruit (Soft for Purees) 185 degrees F 30 minutes Return to Cooking Times Cooking Eggs Using Sous Vide Sous vide cooking can be used to prepare eggs in a variety of different styles. For recommended times and temperatures when cooking eggs using sous vide, check out the table below: Consistency Temperature Time Runny white and runny yolk 140 degrees F 31 minutes Runny white and medium yolk 140 degrees F 1 hour and 15 minutes Runny white and firm yolk 140 degrees F 7 hours and 45 minutes Medium white and runny yolk 151 degrees F 20 minutes Medium white and medium yolk 151 degrees F 26 minutes Medium white and firm yolk 151 degrees F 40 minutes Firm white and runny yolk 185 degrees F 12 minutes Firm white and medium yolk 185 degrees F 13 minutes Firm white and firm yolk 185 degrees F 14 minutes Return to Cooking Times Sous vide cooking has become one of the most celebrated ways of preparing food in commercial kitchens. Part of its popularity is due to the fact that it doesn't require expensive equipment and can be performed by any member of your staff. If you're looking for a consistent, easy, and energy-efficient method to prepare food at your restaurant, sous vide is a perfect choice. Back to Top If you’d like a physical copy of these sous vide cooking times and temperatures to keep on hand, here’s a printable version: Printable Version The guide below features the benefits of sous vide cooking, the equipment needed, and helpful charts on sous vide cooking times for the most popular foods you may find in your kitchen. Back to Top
Molecular Gastronomy Supplies Help You Create Culinary Masterpieces
Create exciting dining experiences for your guests with our molecular gastronomy supplies. Using chemical processes that occur while cooking, you can transform ingredients for an artistic presentation. We carry the specialized equipment and ingredients you need to begin your adventure with molecular gastronomy cooking.
Molecular gastronomy is a type of cooking that uses food science to manipulate ingredients and create unusual textures, shapes, and flavors. Perfect for chefs and culinary students, our specialized items like vacuum package machines, molds, and plating tweezers help you to create an unforgettable presentation that will impress your guests. We also carry ingredients that facilitate chemical changes in food, like pectin, xanthan gum, and corn starch.
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