Sous-Vide is french for ‘under vacuum’ and describes a method to cook food at low temperatures inside a vacuum sealed pouch. It was invented in France in the 1970s as a result of the search for the perfect way to cook foie gras. Since its invention, chefs of the best restaurants all over the world have started experimenting with this technique, many of them adopting it as their way of choice to cook meat and fish.
Cooking meats to the right degree of doneness is one of the biggest challenges in the kitchen, which even professionals often fail to achieve. But what makes it so difficult to achieve good results when cooking meat or fish? A perfect steak should have a core temperature of 55ºC while a hot pan has approximately 300ºC. Pan-frying a steak until the core temperature comes up to 55ºC therefore inevitably leads to everything but the center of the steak being overcooked. In recent years low temperature cooking has become increasingly popular and although this method is far superior to pan-frying, it is very difficult to consistently achieve perfect results.
Using the Sous-Vide method, meat or fish is placed inside a vacuum pouch from which air is evacuated using a vacuum sealer. This can be done with simple and inexpensive household appliances or with professional chamber-style vacuum sealers. The sealed pouch is then placed inside a precisely tempered water bath. Once the desired core temperature of the product has been reached, cooking time will not be of big concern anymore. In fact, longer cooking times will result in more tenderness, yet the product will never be overcooked. Moreover, the results will always be reproducible.
For perfect results, the tolerance for temperature fluctuations is very narrow. The temperature band for a perfectly cooked steak, for example, ranges from 55ºC (medium-rare) to 60ºC (medium) only. Special precision appliances are necessary to control and hold a set temperature very stable. Those machines are called “immersion circulators”, each of which consist of a high-precision temperature probe, a heating power controller, a heating element and a circulation pump. Those devices were initially developed for laboratories and although commonly found in top restaurant kitchens, they never made it into private homes – mainly due to their steep prices.
Although the Sous-Vide method is gaining popularity with non-professional chefs, there has not been an affordable solution that had all the advantages of a laboratory immersion circulator. This changes today as Addelice Ltd, manufacturer of special cooking equipments, released the swid – the world’s first immersion circulator dedicated to Sous-Vide cooking. The swid has a heating power of 2.000 Watt and is capable of holding a set temperature stable within a 0.05ºC band. The swid can be ordered online now for 449€, worldwide shipping inclusive. For additional information about the swid you can also visit www.swid.eu.