Archive for the ‘sous vide’ Category

Nordic food lab

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013


Tables set and decorated for the best lunch at a scientific conference ever!

I mentioned in my blog post on “The Emerging Science of Gastrophysics” symposium held at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in Copenhagen that we were treated with what was for me the best conference lunch ever. Later on the same day we even had a chance to visit the Nordic food lab, located on a house boat anchored up in Christianshavn, right next to restaurant noma. Here are some pictures and impressions from the lunch and the following visit to the Nordic food lab. (more…)

Gastrophysics symposium in Copenhagen

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

On August 27-28 the symposium “The Emerging Science of Gastrophysics” was held at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in Copenhagen. The symposium poster said “interdisciplinary”, and with presentations by scientists in fields ranging from physics and chemistry to neuroscience and psychology I think it lived up to its name. In this post I share with you what I found interesting and useful from my own, subjective perspective. I must admit that I didn’t understand everything presented. Perhaps this is even a general challenge for the whole field. It illustrates how difficult it is to do science that is simple enough for chefs to understand yet scientific enough for scientists. César Vega and Ruben Mercadé-Prieto’s study on egg yolks is perhaps one of the best examples of a paper that manages to balance the two. A couple of the presentations were very successful at this, and I think that if we continue to meet at similar symposiums we will see many more papers that manage to catch the attention of chefs and scientists at the same time.

Throughout the symposium (more…)

Help needed on “natural sous vide”

Thursday, April 26th, 2012


Eggs boiled in onsen (japanese: hotspring), Nagano, Japan (Photo: Miya.m. Permission: GFDL, cc-by-sa-2.1-jp).

In Japan eggs cooked in hot springs (onsen) are known as onsen tamago. I’ve also read that Māori women used boiling pools at Whakarewarewa to cook. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if many people with access to hot springs would have considered using them for cooking. But finding examples isn’t so easy, so now I need your help: Are you aware of other examples of “natural sous vide”? By this I mean cooking of food at temperature below 100 °C/212 °F without the use of a temperature controlled water bath. It could be in a hot spring, near volcanoes, in steam baths or even in saunas (in a previous post on eggs I mentioned Finnish sauna eggs and Korean Maekbanseok gyeran). Any help finding other examples would be greatly appreciated! I’m interested in modern-day examples as well as traditional practices.

Perfect egg yolks (part 2)

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011


Egg cooked for 40 min at 63.0 °C. The pictures were taken within 6 seconds and are shown in the order they were taken.

My immersion circulator is working again! And the first thing I decided to do was to cook eggs at 63.0 °C for 40, 60, 75, 110 and 155 min and show you the results. If you read my last blog post on Perfect egg yolks or have stumbled across the paper Culinary Biophysics: on the Nature of the 6X°C Egg you may recognize that these times correspond to egg yolks with textures similar to sweetened condensed milk, mayonnaise, honey, cookie icing and Marmite respectively. I used the iso-viscosity graph from the paper mentioned to determine the cooking times as shown below. (more…)

Perfect egg yolks

Monday, April 18th, 2011


Maybe I have a hangup on soft boiled eggs, but I’m deeply fascinated by how something simple as an egg can be transformed into such a wide range of textures. I’m talking about pure eggs – no other ingredients added. Playing around with temperature and time can result in some very interesting yolk textures – yolks that are neither soft nor hard, but somewhere inbetween. Two examples from the blogosphere are Chad Galliano’s 90 min @ 63.8 °C egg yolk sheets and David Barzelay’s 17 min @ 70.0 °C egg yolk cylinders (both bloggers giving credit to Ideas in food and Wylie Dufresne respectively).

In 2009 I wrote about my journey towards the perfect soft boiled eggs. Equipped with a formula I knew what I wanted, but it wasn’t so easy after all. Since then I’ve tried to model experimental data from Douglas Baldwin as well as data from my own measurements of egg yolk tempereatures when cooked sous vide (pictures of how I did this at the end of this blog post). I never got around to blog about the results, and now there’s no need for it anymore: The egg yolk problem has been solved! And the question that remains is: How we can utilize this in the kitchen?

The break through came this year (more…)

TFP 2011: Sous vide master class (part 2)

Friday, April 1st, 2011


Sous vide fish should be cooked at several temperatures followed by stepwise cooling for the best texture

Bruno Goussault started the sous vide master class at The Flemish Primitives 2011 by arguing that precise temperature or right temperature cooking is a better term than low temperature cooking. It’s really about knowing at which temperature the desired change takes place (or even better: knowing which time-temperature combinations will yield the desired results – this is a topic I will come back to soon).

Recounting the early days of sous vide, Bruno Goussault explained how he was once asked about how to produce prepare tender meat from a though cut. He was aware of a science paper on a slow cooking technique from USA (anyone know which paper this was?). It utilized a water bath, but the water washed away the juices. To avoid this Bruno wrapped the meat in cling film. A roast beef cooked at 58 °C turned out tender with a nice pink color. Then a friend working with plastics suggested that he should look into polyethylene (PE) bags in combination with a sous vide machine (boil-in-bag had already been around for some time apparently). Interestingly Bruno mentioned that during a recent Bocuse d’Or competition in USA where Bruno trained the American team, they replaced the plastic with a “skin” made from shrimps. Maybe we will see more “edible” skins used in sous vide in the future?

VACUUMING
Bruno then went on to talk about the vacuuming process and how time/pressure profiles should be adjusted (more…)

A mathematician cooks sous vide

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

douglasbaldwin
Douglas Baldwin with two immersion circulators and a vacuum chamber sealer.

Since I got my immersion circulator in December I’ve discovered that there are two critical questions that always come up as I hold a piece of meat in my hands, ready to cook it sous vide: At what temperature should I cook this? And for how long? Despite the fact that two books were published on sous vide last fall it is the short yet comprehensive guide “A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking” by Douglas Baldwin that I’ve found most useful to answer these questions. Those who have followed the eGullet thread on sous vide cooking will probably recognize Douglas Baldwin as one of the major contributors alongside Nathan Myhrvold. Out of curiosity and eager to learn more I therefore emailed Douglas and asked if he would be interested in doing an email interview.

ML: From your homepage I see that you are a PhD student in applied mathematics, how did you become interested in sous vide?

DB: I have always loved to cook. Before last January, though, I mainly cooked slow food. That is when I saw sous vide mentioned in one of Harold McGee’s NY Times articles. Wow. Cooking meat at its desired final core temperature is so obvious! As a mathematician, I kicked myself for never asking “if overcooked meat is bad, what temperature should the meat be cooked at?” A question which many mathematician would instantly answer, “just above the temperature you want it to end up at.”
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Name of meat cuts

Friday, December 19th, 2008

In the last couple of days I’ve encountered a special challenge when reading (and writing) English as a non-native speaker. It’s related to food and more specifically the different meat cuts available. As I read about sous-vide cooking I often sit back and wonder what the cut is called in Norwegian. I’ve found a useful list at Doorway to Norway (quoted below), but my question to you is: Do you know about better or more extensive lists? Are there also differences between American and British English? And more generally: Is there any authoritative source for the translation of food related terms?

English = Norwegian
beef brisket = oksebryst
sirloin = mørbrad
bottom round = rundbiff
round steak = flatbiff
chuck = høyrygg
roast beef = roastbiff
club steak = entrecotè
tenderloin = indrefilet
T-bone = T-ben
boneless strip = ytrefilet
ground beef = kjøttdeig
short ribs = bibringe
flank steak = slagside
stew meat = bankekjøtt

There are a couple of false friends here. The Norwegian translation of “round steak” literarily means “flat steak”, whereas the Norwegian “Rundbiff” which litterarily mens round beef is equivalent to the English “bottom round”. Easy to get confused here…

Sous-vide cooking joy

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Having received a real kitchen gadget before the weekend, I certainly had to do some sous-vide experiments. While shopping I looked specifically for meat that was already vacuum packed in plastic bags as I do not have a food saver. There is actually a decent selection available and I got a 1.5 kg roast beef and a chicken breast (a particularily nice one, bred according to the Label Rouge principles). The nice thing about the meat I got was that the packaging had temperature suggestions. Even though I have books and tables and access to the internet it’s always nice to have this information available exactly when and where you need it. And as I dropped the meat into the water bath it occured to me that this was so simple (not that I shun complex recipes), so clean (I’m not afraid of a messy kitchen) and so convenient (I’m not at all a fan of fast food) that given the expected end result this is probably how very many people will prepare their meat in a not to distant future! So to all farmers, butchers and producers of immersion circulators – I hope you read this and act accordingly ;)


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Santa came early this year!

Friday, December 12th, 2008


An brown box arrived today!
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