Imagine you are preparing 24-hour sous vide recipe. What is going to be your biggest challenge? Not the lengthy time nor the temperature, but the evaporation.
Sous vide cooking dramatically depends on the water circulation in the container. If the steam leaves the pot, you are stuck with an uncooked dish. Hence, it’s crucial to handle the sous vide evaporation. Technically, throwing ping-pong balls or sous vide blankets in water can slow the evaporation.
Want more ways to stop the steam? Here you go.
What Is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous vide might be a new term for those not into cooking. But if you love playing with recipes, you must be familiar with sue-veed or sous vide.
Sous vide is basically a cooking technique. Here, the cook prepares the dish using vacuum sealing, utilizing a precise temperature in a water bath. Sounds complicated?
Well, sous vide recipes are absolutely effortless if you know the trick. This cooking style has been widely popular in restaurants. Recently home chefs have embraced this technique due to its affordability and availability.
Sous vide cooking is basically a three-step process.
- First, set up the sous vide cooker in a water pot and set the temperature and timer.
- Next, adjust your dish in a sealed pack and clip it to the pot.
- Finally, remove the bag when the timer goes off. You might want to do the grilling or searing to give the recipe the final touch.
People often wonder why sous vide instead of the cooker. Can’t you prepare the same recipe in traditional ways without much hassle?
I am not saying they are wrong. But if you compare sous vide recipes to traditionally cooked dishes, the former always aces. Let it be inconsistency, taste, juiciness, tenderness, or cooking flexibility. Sous vide always sides with the chef.
Does Water Evaporate In Sous Vide?
According to the law of science, water is supposed to evaporate at boiling point (100° C). So, when you are preparing sous vide recipe, you generally use a metal pan and drop the food in that burning water pot for hours.
The sous vide cooker temperature is often over 100° C, creating a perfect scenario for water evaporation. On top of that, the metal works as a conductor of heat, quickening the evaporation process.
Generally, the evaporated water molecules condense when they contact a cooler surface. The condensed droplets then drip down into the stream and evaporate again. It is a natural cycle.
Generally, the evaporation process speeds up when you use a metal pot. It is because metals absorb heat quickly and retain heat for a long time. As a result, the water vapors get less time to condense and can not participate in the loop.
Evaporation affects sous vide a little even after using metal pots. It poses a problem when the recipe requires a long time and a high temperature. In such cases, evaporation occurs quickly, and the water might dry up.
Now, the magic of sous vides works because the food cooks evenly in the boiling water temperature. The food will go raw or unevenly cooked if there is not enough water in the bucket. It would take longer to finish cooking in such conditions, which ruins the taste and consistency of the dish.
Are you thinking of replenishing the pot with fresh water? Well, forget about it. Adding room temperature water will mess up the overall water bath temperature. It will not only blow your recipe but will waste resources. For example, more energy is required to boil the additional water.
So, how do you stop evaporation from sous vide? Let’s find out.
How Do You Stop Sous Vide Evaporation?
Prolonged sous vide causes evaporation, and if not stopped, this natural process ruins your recipe. There is no way for you to replenish the bucket when the water dries up. It will spoil everything you have worked for this far. So, what to do?
Well, do not worry. I have the perfect tricks and tips for dealing with sous vide evaporation.
1. Replace Your Fancy Sous Vide Pot
Of course, we all shop for metal pots for sous vide cooking. But as I have explained, metal is a good conductor of heat and quickens the evaporation process.
On the other hand, plastic is a better insulator and does not retain heat. As a result, the evaporation slows down, and the water vapor gets time for condensation.
So, if you replace your metal sous-vide pot with a plastic container, it will buy you more time and help with the temperature.
However, as you know, plastic melts at a high temperature. Hence why you can not use low-quality plastic for sous vide. Instead, you have to manage a high-quality plastic container that can include a lid and gap for immersion calculator devices.
Besides, the regular plastic pots melt at a low temperature and contain BPA. in contrast, the quality and expensive plastics withstand high heat without deformation and include no BPA.
Here are 3 Plastic Sous Vide containers to avoid evaporation.
|Sous Vide Plastic Containers||Why You Should Try It|
|Anova Culinary Sous Vide Cooking Container||Easy to use; comes with a lid and rack, superior water circulation|
|LIPAVI Sous Vide Container||Made from clear and strong Polycarbonate, high heat tolerance, 8 Inch|
|HOMENOTE Sous Vide Container||12 quart, comes with a lid, rack, and sleeve, BPA free|
2. Go For Plastic Lid
If you do not want to replace the whole metal pot, start using a plastic lid. It will work fine to slow down the evaporation, but this solution comes with a few drawbacks.
For example, the heat retaining process differs between metal and plastic. Such differences might overheat the container and overcook the food.
However, you can resolve this issue by leaving a gap between the lid and the container. It will allow the hot air vapor to escape, keeping the pot temperature to a suitable range.
You can use the IMPRESA sous vide lid for precision cooking for your metal pot.
3. Ping Pong Balls Are Your Savior
Your childhood toy is standing there for help. Yes, you can minimize the sous vide evaporation and keep the water temperature in check by ping pong balls.
All you have to do is throw enough balls to cover the water surface with it. These plastic balls are of an insulator nature and will work as a lid to the cooker.
Moreover, the ping pong balls are cost-effective and reusable several times. Try KEVENZ 3 Star Ping Pong Balls for playful cooking.
4. DIY With Aluminum Foil Or Plastic Wrap
You can use plastic or aluminum foil to wrap the sous vide cooker instead of a lid. However, the pot might need more than one layer of covering to serve the purpose.
Generally, a three-layer coating should ensure a firm fitting. In addition, the cover will prevent evaporation by circulating and accumulating steam inside the cooker. Nevertheless, spare a hole for setting up an immersion circulator.
Using aluminum or plastic foil can pose a problem by raising the container temperature. Again, the wrap can interrupt the condensation by covering the immersion cooling vent.
5. Get The Sous Vide Ball
The commercial sous vide balls can be your perfect solution for handling evaporation. These balls are BPA-free and suit any type or shape of the container.
The brands claim that these sous vide blankets can reduce heat loss by up to 80% and evaporation by 90%. Also, these balls are cheap, considering their reusing features.
Why don’t you try Locisne Sous Vide Cooking Balls to see the outcome? There is no major drawback of the sous vide balls, and you can use them as you need.
For example, covering up the whole water surface with these balls will reduce evaporation but raise the internal temperature. In such cases, you can remove some balls, free the surface and control the temperature.
Can You Reuse The Water In Sous Vide?
You can reuse the water in sous vide several times depending on the day gap between your cooking.
See, most people sous vide once in 10 – 15 days. So emptying the container every time is a total waste of resources, considering the water stays intact during the cooking.
Change the water once every 5 – 10 days if you sous vide too often. If not, empty the container every 15 days, and the water is still reusable. Of course, you might have to replace water sooner if the sealed bag leaks.
Some people are concerned about the hygiene of the reused water. You can use bleach or vinegar to kill and prevent bacterial growth in sous vide water.
Moreover, you have nothing to worry about as the food stays sealed in the bag and goes contactless with the water.
However, you must change the water if it looks murky, spreads off a foul odor, or has floating particles in it.
Does Sous Vide Water Need To Circulate?
Sous vide water needs to circulate. If you let the water vapor stream out, you will soon be left with your sealed food bag in a dry pan — end of your recipe. Of course, you do not want that.
In sous vide, the circulation of water plays a significant role.
- The food gets evenly cooked utilizing recirculated water.
- The steam condenses on the lid by exchanging heat and runs down to the hot water pool. This cycle goes on, and you get your recipe done after a while.
To smoothen the sous vide process, people often use commercial circulators. These devices surely help with the temperature but are not mandatory in cooking. You can go for other alternatives or simply invest in a budget circulator for long-term use.
Here are 3 sous vide circulators that you can add to your culinary.
|Sous Vide Circulator||Great For|
|Breville CS10001 Joule Sous Vide Circulator||Fast and accurate heating, sleek design|
|Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Pro||Fast and accurate heating, durable|
|Breville Polyscience HydroPro Sous Vide Immersion Circulator||Remarkably fast and accurate heating, sleek design.|
Handling sous vide evaporation is crucial for this lengthy cooking technique. But let’s not stress over that issue as the DIY hacks can take care of the evaporation. Choose any of the solutions that fit you and enjoy the cooking.