If your idea of a six-course meal is a small order of chicken nuggets, you might have missed the rise of sous vide among cooks. The idea is you seal food in a plastic pouch and then cook it in a water bath that is held at a precise temperature. That temperature is much lower than you usually use, so the cook times are long, but the result is food that is evenly cooked and does not lose much moisture during the cooking process. Of course, controlling a temperature is a perfect job for a microcontroller and [Kasperkors] has made his own setup using an Arduino for control. The post is in Danish, but Google translate is frighteningly good.
The attractive setup uses an Arduino Mega, a display, a waterproof temperature probe, and some odds and ends. The translation does fall down a little on the parts list, but if you substitute “ground” for “earth” and “soil” you should be safe. For the true epicurean, form is as important as function, and [Kasperkors’] acrylic box with LEDs within is certainly eye-catching. You can see a video of the device, below.
Continue reading “Sous Vide Arduino Isn’t Lost In Translation”
A small engineering company in Germany called [Nerdindustries] decided to throw a party, and in doing so, wanted to squash some rumors that nerds only eat pizza and take out. We’d say they successfully one-uped their friends while proving they too can make gourmet food. The gathering included a massive sous vide cooker out of an old 240L aquarium. Be warned, their website presentation is rather annoying but worth it.
They got the aquarium off eBay for $40, and started the project by resealing the aquarium with some silicone. Water adding some aluminium extrusion they mounted six immersion heaters. Three to heat it to temperature, and another three running off a PID control loop with waterproof temperature sensors to maintain it within a degree or so. Of course that wouldn’t get you very far unless you completed the build by filling the aquarium with water.
To make it a bit fancier for the party, they also threw a projector above it to display some simple visuals in the water. For their big night, they cooked steaks at 60C for about an hour and a half, and then finished in a pan to sear before serving — they were a hit. There’s a video on the site, but we can’t embed it here, so you’ll have to go check it out!
Is Sous Vide still a hot topic with hackers? There was a flurry of activity a few years back (Sous Vadar obviously one of our favorites) but we haven’t seen nearly as many projects lately. Actually we recently saw a Sous Vide repurposed for brewing instead of cooking.
[Ken] found an interesting use for his sous vide cooker. He’s been using it to help him with his home brewing. It’s unlikely that the manufacturer ever intended it to be used in this manner, but as hackers we don’t really care about warranties.
Beer brewing is as much of an art as it is a science. There are a lot of variables that go into the process, and tweaking any one of them can result in your beer tasting different. There is one process during brewing that is called mashing. Mashing is when you soak malted grains in hot water to pull out the sugar. The amount of sugar that gets extracted is very dependent on how long the grains are soaked, and the temperature of the water. If you want your beer to taste a certain way, then you want to ensure that the water stays at constant, repeatable temperature.
As a home brewer, [Ken] has been using his stove top to heat the water. This gets the water warm, but in order to keep the temperature consistent, he has to constantly monitor the temperature and adjust the knob accordingly. Who wants to sit around and do that all day? He needed something to control the temperature automatically. Enter the sous vide cooker.
Sous vide is a method of cooking in which food is placed into an airtight bag and then submerged in a water bath with very strict temperature control. The process takes a long time to cook the food, but the result is supposed to be meat that is cooked perfectly even while also retaining all of the moisture and juices. [Ken] figured he might be able to use a sous vide cooker to control the temperature of the mash instead of a water bath.
His experiment worked wonderfully. He used the stove top to help get the mash up to the close temperature, then the sous vide cooker was used to fine tune things from there. [Ken] says he was able to achieve 75% efficiency with his mash, which is exactly what he was going for. Continue reading “Brewing Beer With A Sous Vide Cooker”
It’s time once again for Americans to gorge themselves on hormone-laced meats covered in several sauces and gravies, all of which inexplicably contain corn syrup. It’s also Thanksgiving this Thursday, so there’s that, too. If you have a turkey defrosting somewhere, you’ve probably gone over all your cooking options – the oven, a giant propane-heated pot of peanut oil, and yes, even sous vide. [Trey] over at TI came up with a great sous vide controller using a few LaunchPad Booster packs, and surprisingly, he can even cook a turkey.
The basic idea of sous vide is to vacuum pack your protein, put it in a closely-controlled water bath, and cook it so the inside is always the same temperature as the outside. It’s delicious, and it takes a long time. We can automate that, though.
[Trey] is using a USB LaunchPad and a thermocouple BoosterPack to monitor the temperature of a water bath. A custom SSR board is wired right into the heater, and a CC3100 provides a network connection to monitor the bird. While the network may seem a bit superfluous, it’s actually a great idea; sous vide takes hours, and you really don’t dote on your warm tub of water. Being able to receive SMS alerts from a sous vide controller is actually a great idea.
With everything wired up, [Trey] tried out his recipe for deep-fried turkey porchetta. From the pictures, it looks great and according to [Trey] it was the juiciest turkey he’s ever had.
It’s not that we haven’t seen inexpensive Sous Vide builds. It’s just that we enjoy the fact that [Kelvin’s] Sous Vide machine gives new life to unused things. The cooking vessel is a crock pot which he acquired for just $3. He housed it in a large Styrofoam box which he got for free through his local freecycle program. The circulation pump is a $0.99 fish tank part that pushes about ten gallons per hour.
He even hunted around to find the best prices on the control circuitry. The PID controller is obviously the most important part, as it will regulate the cooking temperature. He found a greatly discounted module that set him back just over $30. It even has a self-learning feature that sounds like it’s handy (not sure if all of these have that though).
Check out the video after the break. We like the use of his old RAM heat sinks to help dissipate heat from the solid state relay that drives the heating element. Since that SSR is inside of the foam box we could see heat becoming an issue. This way it’s dissipated, but not wasted.
Continue reading “Kitchen Hacks: Sous Vide Builds Don’t Need To Cost An Arm And A Leg”
We’re not going to question the logic that went into putting racing stripes on a slow cooker, but [Evan]’s sous vide machine is the most professional one we’ve seen.
After [Evan] found a cooking book that went into the physics and chemistry of making a meal, he wanted to make some really good meals. Sous vide spoke out to him and [Evan] committed himself to building an immersion cooker.
After trolling around on the Internet, [Evan] came across a little gem on Make. The Make build was cheap – it was built around an off-the-shelf PID controller and thermocouples. [Evan] though about building his own PID controller, but time is money and he couldn’t beat the commercial version in features.
The enclosure was the most time-consuming part of [Evan]’s build. It’s a 1/8″ sheet of aluminum cut and bent to the correct size. The sharp edges were filed down and joined with epoxy; definitely not the ‘normal’ way of building an enclosure. The color scheme is borrowed from this Renault – French cooking inspired by a French car.
As for [Evan]’s results, he cooked a 5oz filet marinated in garlic, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. This dish was flanked with some roasted Yukon Gold potatoes and sautéed broccoli. Our mouth is watering just looking at the picture, so we’re betting [Evan] did an excellent job.
Tempted by what sous vide cooking has to offer, but balking at the price for a unitasker, [Lee’s] father in law set out to see if he could rig up his own precision temperature controlled cooking system on the cheap. He immediately hit eBay and shelled out about around $75 to get his hands on a solid state relay, PID controller, and temperature probe.
As you can see above, a crock pot serves as the cooking vessel. We’ve seen this method before, either splicing into the power cord, or providing a single outlet on the controller. This version provides a PID controlled outlet to which the appliance can be plugged in. The other outlet in the socket is always on and powers an aquarium pump that circulates the heated water during the cooking process.
The result works quite well, even though it wasn’t a huge cost savings. There are a few issues with positioning of the temperature probe, but that may be where experience comes into play.