A Beginner’s Guide to Sous Vide Cooking
We take a look at what sous vide cooking is, why it’s a great way to prepare food, what you can use it for and what equipment you will need in order to carry it out.
What is sous vide cooking?
Sous vide is a method of cooking that involves using precise, controlled temperatures to produce food that is perfectly and evenly cooked all the way through. French for ‘under vacuum’, the process of sous vide involves vacuum-sealing food inside a bag and placing it inside a water bath where it will slowly reach, but not exceed, the desired temperature. The food is then ready to be eaten or can be finished by briefly searing, broiling, grilling or deep frying.
Why cook sous vide?
Traditionally used by restaurants to deliver consistent, high-quality results, sous vide is now popular among chefs and home cooks alike due to its convenience, precision and flavour.
The process demands minimal attention, resulting in seamless food without the possibility of over or under cooking. It’s a great time saving option for dinner parties and meal prepping as everything can be vacuum packed and stored until it needs to be cooked.
Using a specific combination of temperature and time ensures consistent results. The water is maintained at your desired temperature and circulates to ensure even cooking from edge to edge.
Cooking food, particularly meats, inside a vacuum-sealed bag preserves juices and delivers perfectly tender and flavoursome results that cannot be achieved with traditional methods.
What food can I sous vide?
Sous vide cooking is often used for meat, poultry and fish; however it can also be used on almost anything, from eggs and vegetables to cocktails, desserts and salads.
One of the most popular foods to sous vide is steak. Traditional cooking methods mean that the outside exceeds the desired temperature long before the centre, resulting in the majority of the meat being overcooked. Sous vide is the only way to cook a steak where it will be rare, medium or well-done from edge to edge.
What equipment do I need?
The first thing you’ll need is some bags to vacuum seal your food into. Vacuum bags are also perfect for keeping food fresher for longer and preventing freezer burn in addition to sous vide cooking.
Vacuum bag sealer
Once you have put your food into your bags, you will need a vacuum sealer in order to make it airtight and ready to go into your bath.
Sous vide cooker or bath
A sous vide cooker or bath is designed to maintain the set temperature of your water for your desired length of time, while also circulating the water to ensure an even temperature throughout. A sous vide cooker is a device which is inserted into a container of water, such as a pan, whereas a sous vide bath is a container and cooker in one.
Many sous vide cookers and baths don’t allow a lid to be placed over the water. This means the water may evaporate and need topping up, which is inconvenient for those who wish to leave their food cooking, unattended, for long periods. Covering the surface of your water bath with anti-evaporation balls will produce a significant reduction in water evaporation.
Sous vide thermometer
Like with any other cooking method, you want to ensure that your food, particularly meat, is cooked to temperature all the way through. But this requires an extremely fine needle probe to prevent water from leaking into the bag.
Our Thermapen Sous Vide Thermometer contains all of the great features of our renowned Thermapen Classic, with the addition of an ultra fine probe.
We also offer standard and premium sous vide kits that contain a Therma 1 Thermometer and interchangeable probes, alongside a selection of accessories ideal for sous vide cooking.
Sous vide foam tape
Designed to be used alongside your sous vide thermometer, our Sous Vide Foam Tape prevents air pressure from being lost when temperature checking a vacuum-sealed item. Once you have removed the probe the tape seals itself, which means that if the temperature wasn’t reached you can return the item to the bath and probe through the tape again later.
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