Sous Vide Chicken Texture

In the General Sous Vide Questions Forum
I've been trying out chicken breasts for the last few weeks having been a bit preoccupied doing steak. I've settled on 58.5C as my preferred temp but am having some variability in textures. Some come out so that when cut, there's no visible muscle fibres and others are still tender but a little stringy. This is from the same batch, at the same temp and the same times. The bath, as far as I can tell, is uniform in temperature. Not a massive problem but I prefer the 'smooth' breasts, anyone got any suggestions why this is happening?

5 Replies So Far

I suspect it is to do with the thickness of the breasts, and therefore the time. You didn't mention how long you are cooking them for?

I do my chicken breasts @62C for an hour (which is enough for the fattest of chickens), then take them out of the bag and sear in a hot pan with some oil and butter for colour. At 58.5C I think I'd do them for about 1.5h.
Like Matthew, I cook mine at a higher temperature - 64C

Here's a chart (hope it comes out ok) relating time to temperature and thickness.

Thickness 136°F 141°F 146°F 151°F
mm 57.5°C 60.5°C 63.5°C 66°C
5 1:40 31 10 5
10 1:45 36 15 10
15 1:53 44 23 17
20 2:04 55 34 26
25 2:18 1:09 46 38
30 2:35 1:25 1:01 51
35 2:55 1:44 1:17 1:05
40 3:18 2:05 1:36 1:22
45 3:44 2:28 1:56 1:40
50 4:12 2:54 2:17 1:59
55 4:43 3:20 2:41 2:20
60 5:16 3:49 3:06 2:43
65 5:52 4:20 3:32 3:07
70 6:29 4:52 4:01 3:33
Oh dear, I hoped that the code /code tags would work.

1st column is thickness in millimetres
2nd time at 136F and so on to 151F

My chicken breasts are typically 30 mm so at the 64C at which I like them, they take 1 hour and a minute.

At your 58.5C, you would want roughly half way between the 1st and second columns or - for a 30 mm thick breast - 2h 35 down to 1h 25. Call it 2 hours and 5 minutes. This would pasteurise the meat, so that if cooled rapidly and kept at below 4C it would keep at least a fortnight.

Hope that helps
Thanks for all the suggestions.

The breasts are between 25 and 30mm thick and I do them for 2.5 hours. Perhaps the thickness is an issue as on reflection it seemed to be the thicker ones that were the problem. Will have a play and see what happens.
And a surprisingly simple answer. I was cubing the cuts where I noticed this. Turns out, cutting along the grain caused them to fall apart into stringy-type bits of meat. Against was fine. Bit odd.

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