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Equipment and Materials
Optional Equipment and Materials
Key Idea 1
Vacuum packing food is simply a modern convenience for doing something cooks have always done: cook and store food in a way that excludes air. The idea of cooking food sealed inside packing isn't new. For example, food is often cooked wrapped in leaves. In fact, the egg has always come packaged and ready to cook.
Key Idea 2
Sous vide cooking is a technique that does away with the need to time things just right. That's because, for the first time, sous vide cooking gives us a way to add just enough heat to our food to raise the temperature to perfectly cooked.
Key Idea 3
Sous vide can simplify the job of preparing a meal by allowing you to cook all, or parts of the meal in advance. Unlike leftovers, however, the combination of vacuum packaging, proper refrigeration, and controlled reheating ensures that there is no compromise to the quality of you meal, just less hassle.
Key Idea 4
Because sous vide affords precise temperature control, results can be repeated with ease. Sous vide makes it possible to be very specific about the degree of doneness that you prefer.
Key Idea 5
Cooking food at the temperature you've selected, and waiting until the center of the food reaches equilibrium with that temperature avoids another common source of inconsistency: having the food overcook after you've stopped the cooking. This happens because with other cooking techniques, the surface of the food is nearly always much hotter than the core temperature, and thus, it's critical to time things correctly and allow for the inevitable cooling of the surface and increasing temperature at the center.
Key Idea 6
Creative possibilities are especially compelling aspects of sous vide cooking. The ability to cook ingredients for prolonged periods of time at carefully controlled temperatures can yield appealing textures that are impractical, or even impossible, to achieve using conventional cooking techniques.
Key Idea 7
Having proper sous vide cooking equipment is invaluable if you frequently cook sous vide. But often you can cook sous vide with nothing more than an inexpensive digital thermometer.
Key Idea 8
Cooking sous vide always involves five basic steps: preparation, packaging, choosing a cooking temperature, cooking for an appropriate time, and then storing or finishing the cooked food.
Key Idea 9
The two most important questions when cooking sous vide are: At what temperature should I cook this food? And how long should it cook for at that temperature? Answering these two questions always involves your personal preference, but should be informed by what you're cooking and food safety considerations.
Key Idea 10
Many foods benefit from a finishing step after the initial sous vide cooking. Often this is about using a judicious searing step to make the food delicious.