Sous Vide is a French term that means, literally, to the void . So a sous vide machine is a machine for vacuum cooking (later we will see how it gets it, in the section on the operation of a sous vide ). Simple, right?
Logically, for vacuum cooking (or cooking sous vide) the food must be previously vacuum packed, but the capabilities of the sous vide machine go much further, and can be used with food that is tucked inside an airtight bag ( of those that close at the top, usually for baking) or with foods that already have a natural shell … like eggs.
A Sous Vide machine is, in essence, an immersion thermostat , or immersion circulator . And its main function, apart from allowing vacuum cooking, is to ensure that the cooking temperature is kept constant throughout the cooking process. That is to say: it allows us to control with total precision at what temperature we are going to cook.
How to Choose a Sous Vide Machine?
When it comes to knowing which sous vide to choose, or what sous vide to buy , it is likely that you will find yourself with several doubts, because it is not a product that is massively marketed in Spain nor that is usually found on the shelves of the traditional hypermarkets.
Therefore, if you are going to buy a sous vide online , or you are considering the possibility of doing it soon (you know, consulting information on the Internet, reviewing models, brands, etc.), in this guide to purchase sous vide machines we are going to try to help you as much as possible. Even if you have never heard of this type of aparatejos.
And to start, nothing better than a comparison of Sous Vide machines with five of the most representative models of the current market, so you can get an idea of where the shots are going.
Types of Sous Vide
Now that you know what a sous vide machine is , let’s expand knowledge. Something that not many people know is that there are several types of sous vide. The first ones are the best known, and the ones focused on the use as domestic sous vide … but they are not the only ones. Let’s meet them below.
Circulators by Immersion
Also called immersion thermocirculators . They have the shape of a stick or a long stick, with a screen or control area at the top end.
Its operation is as follows: put your sous vide in the pot with water, you indicate the temperature you want to cook, and the circulator of your sous vide ensures that the water does not stop moving to keep it at the exact temperature that you you said. Most of the thermocirculators that you will see in this guide correspond to this kind of machine sous vide.
Centers or Sous Vide Ovens
They work in a similar way to the previous ones, but let’s say that they already have the container integrated in the device. An all in one. The sous vide by immersion you have to put them in the container with water where you are going to cook, while in the ovens sous vide you put the food and the kitchen inside.
It is a concept similar to the original roner sous vide. The roner is the original name of the cooking thermostat that Joan Roca and Narcís Caner designed and invented in the first decade of the 21st century. An apparatus that allowed to have a water bath “to the beast”, controlled and prolonged in time.
Today, these primitive roner sous vide have evolved and have given rise to the concept of sous vide domestic (smaller and manageable) that are attached to the edge of the pot. But its use is still essential in large kitchens, among professionals and those who prepare meals for many diners frequently.
How much does a Sous Vide machine cost? Prices
Well, they are not cheap, if we stick to reality. If we talk about immersion thermocirculators, normal domestic sous vide, we can find them around 100 euros in price (some may be cheaper, but not much). Between 100 and 200 euros is an adjusted price for these devices, depending on their quality or the manufacturer behind them.
Sous vide ovens are already larger and more complex instruments … therefore also more expensive. From 250 or 300 euros we can find several models.
Sous Vide vs Slow Cookers: Differences
The differences between the sous vide and the slow pots are obvious, but since both devices serve to cook at a low and controlled temperature for a long time, some users get confused.
Let’s try to make it clear here:
The slow cookers or slow cookers serve to cook at low temperature for a long time, and do not worry about the process. The detail that the temperature will always be “low” is important.
On the other hand, sous vide, really what they allow is to control with total accuracy the temperature at which we want to cook. This may be low, or not so low, but the point is that with sous vide we make sure that we do not pass a degree above or below the ideal temperature of our food.
In addition to this difference in concept, there is the most important functional difference: with the sous vide machine the food is cooked under vacuum. With the slow pot, no. Cooking is more traditional.
The best brands of Sous Vide 2019 machines
When we go to buy a machine to cook sous vide on Amazon , we can hesitate between several models, or maybe we prefer to take a look at the manufacturer first. Once chosen a manufacturer of our confidence, we can choose the cooker at low temperature that suits us best within its catalog.
It is not easy to talk about the best brand of sous vide machines , since there are hardly any specialized firms in this type of products. Most of them are habitual manufacturers of the kitchenware sector, which include in their line of business one (1) unique sous vide thermoscirculator model.
We are going to highlight three brands that stand out in the field of vacuum cooking, because they have several appliances for cooking sous vide in their catalog. These are:
Sous Vide Lacor machines
Lacor and Steba , a brand that we talk about later, have in common the touch of all the kitchen sticks to vacuum. A circulator by immersion, a more advanced thermostat, and a sous vide oven complete the varied range of products for vacuum cooking from this manufacturer.
All Lacor’s sous vide cooking machines are in the mid-range of their product branch. Ideal to obtain a good product, or to start in the world of vacuum cooking, without spending much more than necessary.
If you are going to buy a sous vide machine from Lacor , you know that you have up to three different models to choose from. It stands out among all of them, for its popularity, the Lacor Gourmet thermocirculator , of which we talk more in depth in a later review.
Sous Vide Klarstein machines
The German manufacturer Klarstein has a range of machines for sous vide somewhat wider than the other firms in the market. Especially abundant is its line of sous vide pots , a kind of ovens or sous vide roners of small size. The pots cooking vacuum Klarstein are a great solution ” all in one ” for those who wish to start in this art kitchen.
Nor can we ignore the thermoscirculator Klarstein Quickstick , one of the best sous vide in quality-price that can be purchased today in our country.
Sous Vide Steba Machines
Steba is a brand more demanding and higher-ranking than the previous two. Many of their products are oriented towards the professional and are used in hospitality businesses, although they can also be used for home.
In any case, we recommend buying a machine for cooking sous vide from Steba if you are already started in this technique (maybe if you want to improve your current vacuum cooking machine).
How is a Sous Vide used?
To begin with: you need to have plastic bags (from vacuum packing, or those that are closed at the moment with a cord at the top). In it you put the food you want to cook at low temperature , like a fish with its dressing, meat with spices … whatever you can think of or what you see in the recipe book.
Then you introduce the bag with the food in a pot or large saucepan with water, and you set up your sous vide machine with the exact temperature at which you want to cook everything, and the time. You put it in the pot (the part where you see the data must be out of the water, obviously), and put it in motion.
The sous vide will do its job, and the result will be a spectacular texture, worthy of any restaurant with three Michelin stars. It’s almost like cooking the food in a bain-marie (for this you need a lot of time, patience, and to control the temperature very well, which is just what allows you to make a sous vide vacuum cooking machine .
How a Sous Vide works
We have already told you throughout our guide how a Sous Vide machine works , and how you should use it. However, everything is much clearer if instead of reading it you see it live.
What is vacuum cooking?
Vacuum cooking is booming in recent times, and it is no coincidence. However, many consumers still do not know the concept well, and for that we will explain it here.
The vacuum cooking consists primarily in packaging food vacuum, then immersion in water or cooking them at low temperature (usually between 65 and 85 ° C), always below 100 ° C in the boiling point is reached.
The treatment of food in this way produces better results than normal cooking, and in fact has been used for a long time in restaurants and professional kitchens. It was not until well into the 21st century when this method of cooking has become popular among domestic consumers, especially with the appearance of the sous vide cooking machines discussed in this guide.
Accessories for Sous Vide
If you are going to buy a sous vide machine online , or you already have one at home, you will know that some accessories are needed. The vacuum cooker can be perfected or expanded using accessories such as the grid for placing several food in the cooking, spare buckets for sous vide roners, or cases to transport your sous vide machine.
Of course, there are other essential elements such as bags for vacuum cooking, which you will also need to replenish as you spend.