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This thread is ridiculous. Let me add to it:

 

1. Whether 62.7 degrees is the absolute perfect temperature for an egg I have no idea, and I have no idea how different it is from 62.6 or 62.8, but I have little doubt that well maintained, well calibrated sous vide equipment can attain that temperature internally in the egg.

 

2. Would elevation have any effect on the actual cooking of the egg since the egg is already under an exact amount of pressure in the bag? Similarly, elevation wouldn't affect the temperature of the water, merely the temperature at which the water boils. How would that change cooking?

 

3. Sous vide and timing for braising cuts: what's the length it has to be cooked for? How does more time in the water bath change the final product? I would imagine it's different from braising.

 

1. Why not? Again - the egg may not start out at that temp, but once it's there why wouldn't the full contents of the egg be at any temperature other than 62.7?

 

2. What bag? And why would there be much of a difference if you're controlling for temperature? Unless proteins denature differently at somewhat different atmospheric pressure?

 

3. After a certain point there's no further change. You can find the tables for time vs temp online.

 

1. Isn't that what I said? "I have little doubt that well maintained, well calibrated sous vide equipment can attain that temperature internally in the egg". I have no idea whether 62.7 is materially different from 62.5

 

2. Right. I don't see why it would, but AB seemed to suggest otherwise up-thread.

2a. Wait, isn't a sous vide egg put in a bag with the air sucked out? Otherwise, isn't it just heating an egg in water?

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In what's likely another one of those posts where I'm late to the party (ie. it was hashed and rehashed on egullet back in 1924), I wanted to talk briefly about sous vide. Sneak's post, up in the BHSB

I guess that makes the storage side of things much less of an issue.....   The temperature of the water bath on the other hand is a much bigger issue.

When a number theorist in Germany starts making fun of you for being overprecise, you KNOW you're in trouble.

This thread is ridiculous. Let me add to it:

 

1. Whether 62.7 degrees is the absolute perfect temperature for an egg I have no idea, and I have no idea how different it is from 62.6 or 62.8, but I have little doubt that well maintained, well calibrated sous vide equipment can attain that temperature internally in the egg.

 

2. Would elevation have any effect on the actual cooking of the egg since the egg is already under an exact amount of pressure in the bag? Similarly, elevation wouldn't affect the temperature of the water, merely the temperature at which the water boils. How would that change cooking?

 

3. Sous vide and timing for braising cuts: what's the length it has to be cooked for? How does more time in the water bath change the final product? I would imagine it's different from braising.

 

1. Why not? Again - the egg may not start out at that temp, but once it's there why wouldn't the full contents of the egg be at any temperature other than 62.7?

 

2. What bag? And why would there be much of a difference if you're controlling for temperature? Unless proteins denature differently at somewhat different atmospheric pressure?

 

3. After a certain point there's no further change. You can find the tables for time vs temp online.

 

1. Isn't that what I said? "I have little doubt that well maintained, well calibrated sous vide equipment can attain that temperature internally in the egg". I have no idea whether 62.7 is materially different from 62.5

 

2. Right. I don't see why it would, but AB seemed to suggest otherwise up-thread.

2a. Wait, isn't a sous vide egg put in a bag with the air sucked out? Otherwise, isn't it just heating an egg in water?

I do agree that the egg is not cooked "sous vide" but it is cooked in the same immersion circulator. My apologies if I confused the issue.

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Precision is the enemy of excitement.

 

Were every egg perfectly cooked, every peach perfect, every mango magnificent, where

would lie the adventure in eating? You want to bite into something expecting surprise

(within reason), not sameness.

 

This, along with many other posts in this thread, confuses me.

 

Setting aside a massive misuse of the terms and incorrect inferences about the techniques, these techniques do not attempt to "make every peach" or "every egg" taste the same. Rather, they hope to ensure that every egg is COOKED THE SAME. So, when a tableful of not so knowledgeable foodies sit down to dinner ;) , they don't get 6 eggs with yolks of various doneness or whites that are not consistently set.

 

Masking differences or "surprises" in the taste of the actual ingredient is not the point of an oven that can be calibrated to the tenth of a degree, and barring repeated opening, hold that temperature over the course of hours.

 

As for the egg...obviously it is not cooked sous vide. It is cooked in a water bath. The difference being rather than cooked in a water bath imprecisely on the range top, it is cooked very precisely with an immersion circulator.

 

To the points about doing this at home. It can be accomplished quite easily. If you are not looking to compress the finished product--ala many fruit and vegetable preparations--a $60 Food Saver is all the vacuum machine you need. Poly Science, through Williams Sonoma and others- sells home use circulators for for about $750 bucks. Not cheap, but less than a date at Per Se with wine for most couples. Even if you upgraded to a commercial vac packer, you could be running your own sous vide shop for under $2k with the addition of a few plastic Cambro brand containers. If you really want to cut corners, you can get an older generation circulator, usually used from a chemistry or medical lab, for about 200 bucks on E-Bay. lol...

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Another good post from the trained chef.

 

The egg: would there be any advantage to actually putting it under pressure in the bag when cooking it as opposed to cooking it precisely in the immersion circulator? ie. if you want to flavour the egg itself, or is the membrane/shell to impermeable?

 

Compression: The suggestion here seems to be that it concentrates flavours in fruits and vegetables but not in meat (due to the lack of moisture loss). I have no idea if that's accurate. Do you get a more successful marinade if you marinade under pressure? What are the strengths/weaknesses of compressing in terms of the development of flavours?*

 

*I realize that my language is horribly imprecise, but I hope to convey the gist of things. I'm not googling this stuff because 1) most of the stuff on the internet is less useful than what marauder gives me and 2) I'm looking for a professional perspective - I have zero interest in sous viding at home, I have a pan and an oven, but I do want to be able to understand the technique from a restaurant perspective because that helps me evaluate and understand what I'm eating.

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Another good post from the trained chef.

 

The egg: would there be any advantage to actually putting it under pressure in the bag when cooking it as opposed to cooking it precisely in the immersion circulator? ie. if you want to flavour the egg itself, or is the membrane/shell to impermeable?

 

Compression: The suggestion here seems to be that it concentrates flavours in fruits and vegetables but not in meat (due to the lack of moisture loss). I have no idea if that's accurate. Do you get a more successful marinade if you marinade under pressure? What are the strengths/weaknesses of compressing in terms of the development of flavours?*

 

*I realize that my language is horribly imprecise, but I hope to convey the gist of things. I'm not googling this stuff because 1) most of the stuff on the internet is less useful than what marauder gives me and 2) I'm looking for a professional perspective - I have zero interest in sous viding at home, I have a pan and an oven, but I do want to be able to understand the technique from a restaurant perspective because that helps me evaluate and understand what I'm eating.

 

1. I've never tried it, but my gut tells me that trying to put an egg under pressure would break the shell? sounds obvious on its face, but I'm really not 100% sure. I do know, quite positively, that the shell of an egg is very permeable.

 

2. Before I answer this, I will provide two caveats. 1. I am not, in any way whatsoever, a trained scientist or bio-chemist--although I have worked with one in Chef Craig Shelton who has a bi-chem degree from Yale. 2. I have not worshipped at the altar of any of the great gastro chefs ala Adria, Achatz, Wylie or Heston. I know what I know from experimentation and cursory glances at Keller's "Under Pressure," "The Alinea Cookbook," and the "El Bulli Cookbook" along with the Ideas in Food website. On to the answer...it is my understanding that items like fruit and vegetables have more water in their cellular structure. As such, putting the items under high pressure (commercial vac packers allow you to calibrate for pressure) "concentrates" their flavor. Locally, Per Se uses the technique a lot, especially with melons, pineapples, etc. So, it appears to me that the items have to be naturally firm, yet relatively juicy at the same time.

 

When it comes to meat, I just don't think you have the same water content to make a strip steak taste "beefier" by vac sealing it to death. On the other hand, you certainly impart more flavor when using a wet marinade in a vac bag under moderate pressure. My initial example in this thread was something like a turkey thigh. In my opinion, the thigh takes on much more flavor if you vac pack it with duck fat, garlic, thyme, a bay leaf, rather than cook it straight away in a hotel pan with the same ingredients.

 

Shelton was fanatical about preserving as much of the cellular structure of a protein as possible. If he had his way, there wouldn't be an oven in the kitchen set above 300 degrees. He believe in the lowest possible oven that still retained a dry heat. A moist oven is counterproductive to roasting, but we constantly straddled that line of gentle heat and moisture. He also didn't believe in open burners. lol...but that is another story. Relating him back to this conversation, the circulator and the sous vide process allows the precision that preserves cellular structure. Now, many of us might say that the best piece of steak we have even eaten was likely cooked under 1,000 degree broiler at a place like Luger's or Keens. That is fair, but in most of those places, what we are really attracted by is the char of salt, pepper (sometimes garlic powder), melted aged beef fat and butter. Throw in a great piece of meat as the canvas and those things can make most anyone happy. That said, I would assume that if I asked where you ate the best lamb, or veal or pork chop ever, it likely was not in a steakhouse under those harsh cooking conditions. People overwhelmingly prefer the end result of a piece of meat cooked sous vide, yet they also want the flavor and appearance that comes from the browning process (the maillard reaction). So, we give you both. Cook the protein sous vide and then brown it for pick-up during service.

 

I think sous vide (broadly speaking encompassing all of the equipment and techniques we are referring to) is here to stay. It provides unparalleled consistency, a great finished product and easier production for the kitchen.

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1. I've never tried it, but my gut tells me that trying to put an egg under pressure would break the shell? sounds obvious on its face, but I'm really not 100% sure. I do know, quite positively, that the shell of an egg is very permeable.

 

I used to make hard-boiled eggs in my pressure cooker--4-5 minutes at 15psi--and they didn't break. They were easier to peel, though, which made it a good method for when you wanted a whole bunch of them.

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Nope. It's one thing to select a temperature setpoint out to tenths (or hundreths) of a degree. It's another to control to that within the egg.

 

Part of the method is that you leave the egg in there for a very long time (there are tables for time vs temperature somewhere), so other than pressure buildup inside the shell it's hard to think why the inside of the egg won't all reach the ambient temperature.

I can understand that you would get to some steady state after a long time with minimal disturbances such as opening or closing a lid, turning on the kitchen ventilation, adding or removing eggs, etc.

 

I guess I would say that through experience, this restaurant has decided what temperature setpoint fits the activities going on in the kitchen and dining room to produce the eggs they want. You can use their setpoint as a guide if you want to try it at home but, even if you own similar equipment, you won't get an egg at the same temperature out to a tenth of a degree.

 

I could imagine that you could take crap equipment and with a lot of experience and come up with a plan to get pretty close by introducing predictable disturbances. For example you see what happens if you set your equipment at 63 degrees but open the lid for 30 minutes of each hour. Maybe it wouldn't work but if you are paying attention and eating a lot of eggs you might learn enough to basically replicate the texture of the ultimate egg.

 

I think this goes to your point that even with all of this high-tech equipment the food isn't any better. Experience drives the setpoint on a water bath for eggs.

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Nope. It's one thing to select a temperature setpoint out to tenths (or hundreths) of a degree. It's another to control to that within the egg.

 

Part of the method is that you leave the egg in there for a very long time (there are tables for time vs temperature somewhere), so other than pressure buildup inside the shell it's hard to think why the inside of the egg won't all reach the ambient temperature.

I can understand that you would get to some steady state after a long time with minimal disturbances such as opening or closing a lid, turning on the kitchen ventilation, adding or removing eggs, etc.

 

I guess I would say that through experience, this restaurant has decided what temperature setpoint fits the activities going on in the kitchen and dining room to produce the eggs they want. You can use their setpoint as a guide if you want to try it at home but, even if you own similar equipment, you won't get an egg at the same temperature out to a tenth of a degree.

 

I could imagine that you could take crap equipment and with a lot of experience and come up with a plan to get pretty close by introducing predictable disturbances. For example you see what happens if you set your equipment at 63 degrees but open the lid for 30 minutes of each hour. Maybe it wouldn't work but if you are paying attention and eating a lot of eggs you might learn enough to basically replicate the texture of the ultimate egg.

 

I think this goes to your point that even with all of this high-tech equipment the food isn't any better. Experience drives the setpoint on a water bath for eggs.

 

The problem, of course, with your example is that the chefs who are known industry wide as being *masters* of this new egg cookery, don't use lids on the water baths. :cool:

 

Locally, Wylie was known as the first person to really become obsessed with this technology could improve egg cookery. He basically takes 3 or 4 dozen eggs, places them in a deep plastic hotel pan and puts the circulator on to his preferred temperature. Again, I am not a scientist, but I can't imagine that the evaporative processes at 63.xx C degrees is enough that it would affect the finished product of the egg in the time it actually takes to cook the egg. By that, I acknowledge that water will eventually evaporate, even at room temp. However, the eggs are cooked long before that is an issue, even with the introduction of warmed water through the circulator. And unless it is about 10 degrees outside, turning on the kitchen ventilation (and by that, you are really talking about the "make up air" portion of the system) won't affect the cooking process.

 

Certain examples that can, and often do, affect the cook times of items that are circulated, are starting temperature (are the eggs room temp or straight out of the walk in?) and quantity. 1 dozen eggs are going to come up to temp quicker than 5 dozen eggs, etc.

 

For those that are interested, You Tube has a great video lecture series that the physics department at Harvard hosted on several of these topics.

 

This is the link to the Sous VIde lecture which was given by Juan Roca

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And yet, despite his fascination with copying last year's European methods, Wylie's eggs were often a total mess :)

 

Agreed on everything else, that's the point I was trying to make - you can indeed get very very close to the target, but I think SLBunge made a somewhat different point too - so what if you get to that target, it's still not a "better" egg.

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