Sous vide grains

Conventional web wisdom says sous vide doesn’t improve grains, pasta or cereals. That seams reasonable to me, but doesn’t take into account the convenience factor of being able to text a teenager to put a bag of brown rice in a pot to either cook or re-therm when I’m running late at work.

And, if I’m really being honest… I’ve, eh, scorched a pot of rice or two or 50, while I’ve been tending to something else.

Anyone played with sous vide grains? I’m guessing standard plant material temp of 183 would apply? Time compared to simmering on stove?. Margin of error on timing? Any thoughts?

I’ve been considering this as well. I know that rice typically absorbs 2x its weight in water. I want to get a more precise ratio by weighing one portion of rice, cook it per the bag’s instructions trying to get it as perfectly cooked as possible, then weighing the portion after cooking. This should illustrate exactly how much water the rice absorbed. Then I plan on putting a portion of rice inside a foodsaver bag with the exact amount of water needed and cook until absorbed. If this works well, I then plan on trading the water out for a more flavorful liquid, like a stock of some sort.

@dtelf‌ Ah, took me a minute to understand your experiment. Let me make sure I follow correctly here. We are accounting for liquid lost to steam/evaporation so you don’t end up w juicy rice. Good thought. I hadn’t considered that it would require less liquid, but of course that’s the case.

The very few discussions I’ve seen of it online have suggest cooking times much longer than stove top. Like in the 2-3 hour range at 183F for white rice. While not scorching it sounds good to me, from the time I get home from work till dinner time, 2-3 hours isn’t really gonna work. My thought was to batch cook several bags and freeze then retherm when I want them. I’ve never frozen rice, but I know that a lot of people do. The other option is to freeze the liquid in the bag with the uncooked rice then seal, then drop a frozen bag in the morning, but that precludes doing any other all day cook because of the high temp.

Another thing that I’ve noticed is that a lot of the SV rice recipes that I have found are for risotto. I’m guessing this has something to do with starches… The extra liquid… Long cooking times making stuff mushy… Idk. Any thoughts?

Providing my anova shows up today, I will do some rice this weekend a couple of ways and I’ll let you know what I find out.

The grain that I’ve been curious about doing sous vide with is actually oats and more specifically steel cut oats. What I’d like to be able to do is put my ingredients in a bag before going to bed and then having a nice hot bowl of steel cut oatmeal ready to go when I wake up in the morning. I haven’t really gotten any further in the research than just thinking about it though.

I never even really thought about doing rice with the anova because my rice cooker is effective at both cooking and keeping it warm afterwards until dinner is ready.

@elangomatt‌ I’ve read where people do exactly that, but in jars that you can then eat out of.

I have a recipe for Risotto with Ham and Mushrooms that I’ve been meaning to try.

It calls for 1 cup Arborio, 1/2 Tbl butter, 3 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup cubed pancetta and 8 sliced crimini mushrooms. Sous vide at 183°F for 45 min, rest for five min in bag. Then mix in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, salt, pepper and 1/8 cup cream.

Ok, first trial of brown rice was a bust. Most of my grains exploded before they were all the way cooked through. I’m wondering if rice needs to hit the boiling water before simmering to quickly cook the outer starch to hold it’s shape. Have to say, I don’t dislike rice, but I’ve never found it that interesting, so I haven’t cooked it very much and obviously I have some things to learn about it. I’ve not given up on this idea… But so far, not so good.

I’ve never owned a rice cooker, but I think the next step would be to take a look at how they work and see if I can emulate that.

Oh, and @dtelf I used a package of brown rice that called for 1 cup of rice to 2 1/2 cups of water on the stove. I decided to start off with 1/2 cup rice to 1 cup of water at 183. After an hour or so, it looked like most, but not all of the water was absorbed. Then, at some point after I reached my spoon in to test the doneness, I didn’t thoroughly reseal the bag and it flooded, so, I’ve got nothing to contribute to ratios at this point.

On the steel cut oats front, I tried it out last night for an overnight cook. I used 2 cups of water with 1/2 cup of oats as instructed by the anova recipe ( and they turned out quite watery. I don’t think I had a breach in the bag at all and the oats were fully cooked, just too much liquid. They were still fine to eat though and were a good breakfast. My guess is that I probably should have followed the 3:1 water to oats ratio on the package from Bob’s Red Mill instead of the 4:1 ratio that Anova suggested.

The way I see it is your precision cooker is another tool in your bag. It is not a replacement for all of your cooking appliances. Use the proper tool for the job. Tonight was the 1st night since getting it that I had a chance to use it. Fantastic Salmon. Love it.