View Full Version : Sous Vide beginnings

Keith Neal
01-16-2013, 02:58 PM
I have been reading about sous vide cooking in Modernist Cuisine, and want to try it. What is the best way to get started?

Should I get a controller for the crock pot first, or go ahead with something like this:


Any advice for the home cook would be appreciated.



01-16-2013, 04:56 PM
I am barely a step ahead of you, so not really in a position to give recommendations. But I was fortunate enough to get the Sous Vide Demi for a ridiculously low price and just started playing with it a bit. My original thought was also to go the crock pot & controller route, but my crock pot wasn't suitable anyway, and I have to say I really appreciate the convenience of the SVD. The only annoying thing is that it didn't come with the rack to hold the food but that is now also included from what I read. I would probably have upgraded anyway at some point which means going straight for the SVD is a smart idea. There is a bit of a learning curve but it is fun and I can see myself using this as a standard method in my cooking, so for me the investment is justified.

Since my Foodsaver is somewhere in my stored boxes, I have only used zip lock bags so far and that seemed to work well enough for now. Just made some chicken breasts a few days ago that really came out very nice (although, next time I will brine them first...). If you get the SVD and the sealer in a combo, that seems like a good way to start. You can also use the sealer for other things, so that is a worthy investment anyway if you have the space in the kitchen for it.

As far as reading material, I tried reading on egullet.com but it can get quite overwhelming, there is so much info there going back several years, and - while interesting - it's not always easy to separate out what is important for me as a home cook. D. Baldwin's website (http://www.douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vide.html)is a very good and easy starting point IMHO. I bought his book also which adds a few interesting ideas and recipes, a lot of the important technical info is on the website already.

The method requires some changes in my approach to cooking because I now have to think ahead a bit more. But on the other hand, if I prepare things and cook them to the pasteurization point, it is easy to have things on hand for improvisations later, especially because it also increases the shelf life of foods without compromising too much on the quality. What I need to work on more is to prepare and get enough ready to fill the SVD. If I just want to make a piece of fish for myself, it's not worth the hassle and I'd rather throw it into a frying pan. But planning ahead and making several things that work on the same temperature level (like different veggies) and fill the SVD would get me to use it more efficiently. Actually, it would be nice to have a register of recipes by cooking temperature, not sure if that exists anywhere.

That's where I am right now, not sure if that helps...


01-16-2013, 05:14 PM
P.S. Make sure you look at Costco first before you buy: http://www.costco.com/SousVide-Supreme-Demi-Water-Oven-System.product.11752874.html?catalogId=10701&keyword=sous+vide&langId=-1&storeId=10301

Keith Neal
01-16-2013, 05:32 PM
Thanks, Stefan. Very helpful.