Why Cook in Stages?
Most traditional recipes call for cooking at a single temperature for a set amount of time. Although it may be perfectly fine to bake brownies at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes, many foods, especially proteins, benefit from dividing the cooking process into stages with different cooking temperatures and times.
If you’re already familiar with sous vide cooking, this strategy will be familiar. First cook your food using low heat until it reaches a perfect doneness from edge to edge, then sear the outside of the food using high heat. This prevents the inevitable risk of single-stage cooking: telltale bands of gray on the outside of a steak, dry and stringy poultry, or vegetables that are charred on the outside but still raw on the inside.
Depending on the food you’re cooking, you may want to choose to finish it on the stovetop instead of in the Anova Precision™ Oven. Thinner proteins, such as steaks and chicken thighs, are better finished on the stovetop for quick searing. Other foods, like large roasts, can be cooked start-to-finish in the Precision™ Oven, with a browning stage added after sous vide cooking.
When to Use Multi-Stage Cooking in the Precision™ Oven
Large roasts, such as prime rib.
For large roasts, you’ll want to cook using sous vide mode, low and slow, until the probe reaches its target temperature. Then, once the roast is fully cooked on the inside, transition to a very high searing temperature with no steam to focus on searing the exterior.
Certain vegetable preparations.
Many vegetables, such as asparagus, can be cooked until tender using sous vide mode, followed by a broiling stage to char the exterior.
Many breads, especially artisan-style sourdough loaves, benefit from baking in stages. You’ll first bake with steam to allow for maximum oven spring, and then switch to dry heat to brown and crisp the crust. Many bread recipes also include stages for preheating a baking steel and others include stages for proofing the dough — all in the Precision™ Oven.
Sometimes you don’t even want to heat up the stove to sauté vegetables. Many Precision™ Oven recipes, such as shepherd’s pie, make use of a multi-stage cook to prepare different components of a dish.
When to Use Single-Stage Cooking in the Precision™ Oven
Slim proteins with a high ratio of surface area to interior, such as most steaks, don’t brown efficiently in the Anova Precision™ Oven. For that reason, we recommend cooking in a single stage using sous vide mode and then finishing in a ripping hot skillet or on the grill, just as you would when cooking using traditional sous vide methods.
Baked goods like cakes and cookies usually don’t need more than a single trip into the Precision™ Oven at one consistent temperature. Fluctuations in temperature, fan speed, or steam percentage, can all be detrimental to the final result.
The Anova Precision™ Oven does a great job evenly cooking rice and other grains in a single steam stage. No need to add anything more complicated.
High heat and a blast of steam is an excellent setting for hearty vegetables like broccoli and potatoes. These settings cook vegetables quickly, tenderizing the centers and crisping the exteriors in one single step.