FAQs about sous-vide

Do you have any questions about sous-vide cooking method, sous-vide cooking times, the ENFINIGY sous-vide stick or our vacuum storage products? Then you'll find the most frequently asked questions and answers here. Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? Contact ZWILLING customer service and they will be happy to help!

Sous-vide is so simple

General questions

What is meant by "sous-vide"?

Sous-vide means "under vacuum" in French and refers to the vacuum sealing of food in a plastic bag and cooking immersed in a water bath. In this process, the water temperature is defined very precisely, depending on the food and the desired cooking point. The sous-vide device heats the water and maintains the temperature of the water for consistent cooking.

What are the advantages of sous-vide cooking?

  • Extremely even cooking result from the edge to the core.
  • Always the desired cooking point, e.g. a medium steak always stays medium and does not overcook.
  • More intense taste experience: Flavours are enclosed in the bag and do not dissipate in air or within the cooking water. You cook your food in its own juices.
  • Healthier and more enjoyable food. Nutrients, vitamins, and flavours are better preserved because they don’t have direct water contact and are cooked at lower temperatures.
  • Not only do you cook better, but it's also easier.
  • Easier time management: When the cooking time is over, your food does not have to be removed immediately. You can leave it in the water and remove it later. The cooking point does not change. 
  • More relaxation when cooking: The sous-vide stick cooks your food fully automatically. So, you have more time for other tasks and less stress when guests arrive late, or your side dish is not quite ready.
  • Flexible choice of cooking location in your kitchen. The sous-vide saves space on the stovetop and counter.

Is sous-vide cooking safe?

Sous-vide cooking is basically safe if you observe the following points:

  1. Always use fresh and clean food. Make sure that the work surface and kitchen utensils are clean during preparation.
  2. Wash your food thoroughly beforehand and dry it.
  3. Only use completely clean vacuum bags.
  4. Heat food to the target temperature as quickly as possible.
  5. Do not leave poultry in the water bath too long after you have reached the minimum cooking time.

What equipment do I need for sous-vide?

The basic equipment for sous-vide cooking consists of a sous-vide device (e.g. the sous-vide stick), heat-resistant vacuum bags and a vacuum-sealing device or vacuum pump. Optionally, you can add roast aromas to your food after sous-vide cooking. For this you will need a heat-resistant pan or grill.

Questions about cooking with sous-vide

How do I determine the right temperature for sous-vide?

You can find the correct temperature in our cooking tables. The cooking time depends on the type of food. For example, fish has a much lower cooking temperature than vegetables. The desired cooking point can also play a factor. For example, a medium-rare steak has a lower temperature than a medium-done steak.

How do I determine the correct cooking time?

The sous-vide cooking time play a lesser role, as you can still leave your food in the water after the cooking time has been reached without it continuing to cook. Therefore, with sous-vide you have the minimum cooking time is the most important. This is reached when the same temperature is reached throughout the food, which depends on the thickness of the food. A thin portioned steak, for example, cooks faster than a large piece that is to be cut at the table. 

Can you overcook with sous-vide? 

Overcooking isn’t possible with sous-vide because the water only reaches the exact temperature that the food should have. It is important that you set your sous-vide device to the right temperature to avoid anything going wrong.

Which foods should I not cook over the minimum cooking time?

To avoid bacteria formation, especially at low sous-vide temperatures, remove your food as soon as possible. Poultry should be removed as soon as the cooking time is reached. 

How do I get that beautiful brown crust after sous-vide cooking?

You get the beautiful crust, including the fine roasted aromas, if you sear your food very hot, very briefly, directly after the sous-vide bath. You can do this, for example, in an uncoated and heat-resistant pan or on the grill.

Can I sear my sous-vide meat beforehand?

We advise you not to do this, as the crust will become soft again in the bag. Only fry it when your food is fresh from the sous-vide bath.

Should I add salt before or after sous-vide cooking?

There is no clear rule here. We recommend salting the meat before cooking, as salt can also have a positive effect on the tenderness of meat.

Can you also prepare food with sous-vide?

Yes, sous-vide is also suitable for preparing food in advance. You can simply pre-cook dishes and then store them in the bag. After cooking, place the pouches in ice-cold water to cool them down quickly and then place them in the fridge for storage. Afterwards, you only need to reheat your dish briefly.

Questions about the sous-vide stick

What do I need to consider when buying a sous-vide stick?

  • Water protection according to IPX7 certification: without this, there is a risk of electric shock if the appliance falls completely into the water. All sous-vide sticks are IPX7 certified.
  • Sufficient power (watts): The more watts a stick has, the faster it can heat the water bath. 
  • High precision of the device: We recommend a high temperature stability of +/- 0.1 - 0.2 C°. This way you can be sure that the water temperature really corresponds to the temperature displayed.
  • Dimensions: A sous-vide stick is much more space-saving than a sous-vide appliance with a basin. 

Is the sous-vide stick also suitable for keeping soups warm?

No, the appliance is only suitable for heating and keeping water warm and not for direct food contact.

How do I clean the sous-vide stick?

  • Clean surfaces: You can use a damp, lint-free cloth to clean the exterior of the unit. It is best not to use microfibre cloths, as these can cause fine scratches on the surface. Before cleaning, unplug the appliance and let it cool down completely. Never immerse the unit completely in water.
  • Clean the stainless-steel housing: To remove the stainless-steel housing, turn it until the arrow points to the open lock symbol. Then slide the stainless-steel housing over the heating elements, taking care not to damage the circulator. The stainless-steel housing is dishwasher safe. After cleaning, slide the housing back onto the appliance and turn it until the arrow points to the closed lock symbol to lock the appliance. 

EE1 appears in the display and an alarm signal sounds. What do I do?

There is either no water in the pot or the water level is too low. The sous-vide stick has a minimum water level. Add or top up water in the pot to start using your sous-vide stick.

A “slurping” sound can be heard. What do Io do?

The circulator in the unit has created a swirl of water. Add more water or interrupt the turbulence, with a spoon for example, to break the swirl of water.

A gurgling sound is heard. What do I do?

The circulator is drawing in air. More water needs to be added to the pot to stop the stick from drawing in air.

Questions about vacuuming with bags

Which bags are suitable for sous-vide cooking?

Make sure to use bags designed for sous-vide cooking. These are heat-resistant and free from harmful substances, such as BPA. Never use standard kitchen or freezer bags, as these are usually not designed for higher temperatures. Harmful substances, such as softeners, can be transferred to the food when they are used. All ZWILLING FRESH & SAVE vacuum bags are free from harmful substances.

Is cooking in plastic bags harmful to health?

Cooking with ZWILLING FRESH & SAVE vacuum bags is harmless to health. These bags have been specially developed for sous-vide and have undergone numerous tests. 

Can I put olive oil or butter in the vacuum bag?

Yes, you can add butter, olive oil or herbs to the bag depending on the recipe or taste.

How can I prevent bag tears?

Bag tears can be caused by vacuuming sharp objects, such as bones. If necessary, remove pointed ends before vacuum sealing. Bags can also be damaged during storage, for example if they are stored in the cutlery drawer next to other sharp objects. 

How do I prevent liquids from being sucked in during the vacuum sealing? 

Liquids move towards the valve during vacuum sealing. However, they must not escape from the bag valve and get into the vacuum pump, otherwise the pump can be damaged. To prevent this, we have developed the liquid barrier as a marinating aid. The marinating aid delays the suction of liquids and gives you a longer reaction time to stop the pump manually. In this way, the marinating aid prevents liquids from getting into the vacuum pump.

How to use the liquid barrier

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