Another potential sous vide tool

In the Sous Vide Equipment Forum
Even before getting into sous vide cooking, I was working with "low-temperature" cooking. I moved a few years ago and was disappointed to find the new house had an electric range. Never liked electric stovetops, but that's what I had. Over time, what I found was that there were benefits to electric ovens. The ovens I have can bake as low as 170 degrees and have a "warming" mode that goes down to 150.

I've made lots of stews that cooked at 170 or 175 for a day. Even that approach enabled me to make some very tender cuts of meat.

While I'm now playing with an immersion heater and chamber vacuum bagger, I've found that my old stove is still very useful. I've found that I can take a heavy cast iron covered pot, fill it with water, set the temperature to the low end of the stove's range and I now have a second sous vide water oven.

So far I've played primarily with vegetables setting the oven for 185 degrees. Vacuum bag some baking potatoes and throw them in before leaving for work and they are wonderful when I get home about nine hours later.

You might find that some sous vide cookbooks suggest cooking at 160 degrees for a "traditionally" cooked meat cuts. I haven't played with that yet... I'm currently obsessed with medium-rare cuts, but I might find more uses for the old stove.

It's not perfect but I've found there is sous vide cooking I can do with my standard stove and I love any useful tool I can get my hands on.

3 Replies So Far

That's a pretty cool setup!
I would advise anyone considering the purchase of sous vide equipment to first check out the capability of their oven. I have a Jenn-Air electric stove that I discovered several years ago worked great as a plate warmer when set to 135 degrees. When I first heard of sous vide cooking about six months ago, I did a series of experiments to see what temperatures my oven would hold and what the variation was. I discovered that I can easily hold whatever temperature I want down to 131 degrees (as low as I've tried)with a plus or minus of about 1.5 degrees, i.e. 130-133). I remove my lowest rack and use my largest stockpot as my cooking chamber. The probe from my Taylor digital thermometer threads into the oven and under the lid. Result: almost free sous vide cooking.
BTW, when necessary to free up the oven for other purposes, I find I can hold cooked food on my stovetop by putting the stockpot on one of my small burners and using the alarm function on my Taylor thermometer. I turn the burner on to the lowest setting and the alarm goes off when it hits the temperature I've set. Then I turn the burner off and allow the temperature in my pot to slowly drift down four or five degrees. I turn the burner back on and slowly heat it back up. The cycle typically takes about half an hour. If I am in the kitchen occupied with other tasks there is no problem keeping an eye on the digital readout from time to time.
I'm continuing to find new uses for the low-temperature capability of my Jenn-Air electric oven. As I mentioned elsewhere here, I use it to pasteurize whole eggs (135 degrees for 75 minutes) to use for making mayonnaise.

Recently I've used it to make foolproof rice. I used my Taylor 1470N digital thermometer to monitor the temperature of my rice and water on the stovetop. When it reached 208, the alarm setpoint, I turned off the burner, waited a few seconds for it to come to a complete boil and then put the pot in my oven at 160 degrees for 20 minutes. The result was a perfect pot of rice, evenly cooked, with no overdone rice at the bottom.

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