Today's article is dedicated to steaming, the best cooking method to create high-performance boilies without losing an ounce of the precious water-soluble substances we put in the mix.
The topic is covered in a technical way in the chapter "how to make boilie" that you can find on the website, so in this case we will proceed as we usually do in the bait guru pills, with simplicity and summarizing the concepts.
Steaming is done without direct contact with the water, with the boilies placed on baskets stacked one on top of the other, at least 5 cm. away from the water boiling underneath.
The ideal pot is made of aluminium, a material that allows the water to heat up quickly and avoids sudden heat losses when removing the lid. The ideal size is wider rather than taller, as putting in a few baskets is always an advantage, so the wider they are, the more bait we can cook. One of the most critical moments in the cooking process is the moment when I open the lid to insert the baskets.
If there are no more than 4 baskets it will take a short time, whereas if I have to stack 7-8 small baskets there will be a substantial drop in steam temperature. In addition, the more layers there are, the worse the bait will be cooked in the last container towards the top.
a single-flame propane cylinder (which makes even with the cold) is the deale, obviously in accordance with the standard with a reducer of gas pressure
I RECOMMEND THE SAFETY!!! NO DIY WITH GAS!!!
In galvanized mesh or better stainless steel, with small mesh to not mark the boilie or worse make them stick (for this reason in the recipes is always suggested to let rest the bait before cooking). If I assume that I am making 15 cm baits, the mesh should be less than a centimetre across.
the simplest spacer for the first basket is the classic terracotta "bell" to be placed on the bottom of the pot
-thermometer with cable probe
a control instrument costing just a few euros which allows the temperature of the steam to be monitored, but also the inside of a sample boilies
The process then translates into putting a little water on the bottom of the pot, insert the terracotta case (the water must reach 4-5 cm below the top of the pot), close the pot and bring the water to boil on a high flame.
When the water boils, I quickly place the baskets inside (so as not to lose too much temperature) and cover the pot, lowering the heat to maintain a gentle boil. At this stage the thermometer comes into operation because for many mixes the temperature should not exceed 90°, otherwise some ingredients (usually birdfood) swell and trap air that could then lighten the boilies.
Then cook for the necessary minutes and remove the boilies.
It depends on the type of mix. Generally the longest cooking times are used for mixes rich in starch (50/50 birdfood and some birdfish), while protein mixes, perhaps rich in already cooked starches or gels, need less time.
10 mm diameters cook for 2 to 4 minutes.
15 mm diameters: 3 to 6 minutes
20 mm diameters, 5 to 9 minutes
24 mm diameters, 6 to 10 minutes
30 mm diameters, 15 minutes and more, in these cases it is always advisable to cut a boilies in two to check the cooking until the centre.
Let's say that you can steam many kilograms of bait at the same time, far more than you can handle by boiling.
Obviously the mix must be suitable for "mass" production and processing and will therefore be a well-homogenised and micronised mixture, made up of nutritional ingredients which are not too delicate in terms of thermostability.
In short, the birdfish and fish mixes of the "ECO" family, discussed in the chapters of the same name on the website, are well suited to this type of requirement.
In short, a few water-soluble ingredients, a good quantity of fish, meat or yeast proteins and a base rich in starches.
The equipment will change and the pot will be replaced by a much larger steel bin with a lid, in which 7-8 large baskets can be placed.
The single-flame cooker will be of the "country fair" type with a fire capacity capable of boiling and maintaining the litres of water loaded into the pot.
For the rest we will use the usual bell to distance the first basket, keeping it as usual at least 5 cm from the boiling water.
At about 2 thirds of the bin, towards the lid, we will make a small hole to insert a pin thermometer that will allow us to control the internal temperature of the vapour.
The process of cooking multiple layers of bait, however, involves inserting the baits from the beginning with cold water, monitoring the internal temperature of a sample boilie in which we will have inserted a probe with a cable sensor, which can be purchased for a few tens of euros among the models intended to control the temperature of the meat when it cooks in the oven.
This procedure is only possible for diameters from 20 mm upwards (up to a maximum of 40 mm) as it would be very difficult to insert the sensor needle into small diameter balls.
To recap, we put the water at the base of the bin, we place the terracotta pot on the bottom as a spacer and we stack the baskets in the container, inserting the temperature probe in a control boilie, placed towards the lid in the penultimate basket.
We then close the lid and turn on the heat, bringing the water to the boil.
Generally a birdfish bait is cooked when the centre reaches 60°C, but this figure can obviously differ from mixture to mixture, so if I have 40 kg of rolled bait ready. of rolled baits ready to be cooked, it is better to do a test with about ten boilies, placed in the penultimate basket, one of which is monitored with the probe and extracting one at a time starting from 50°C (so one at 50, one at 60 and one at 70) to verify precisely by cutting it, to then be very precise when I will manage the bulk.
By marking the temperatures for each type of mixture that I intend to make, I will have a practical and personal table that will allow me to achieve perfection in each successive firing.
The most common mistake that can happen is to extract the bait too raw, at which point how do you fix it?
No problem, just bring the water back to the boil and put the baskets back in for another 1-2 minutes of cooking time.
With the types of mixes that are ideal for large-scale production and feeding, a few extra moments of cooking can do no particular harm, so don't worry too much.
If, on the other hand, I am dealing with expensive "experiments" rich in milk proteins and hydrolysates, it is better not to take any risks and to cook a few boilie at a time.
In my book Boilies you can learn all the systems for cooking boilies.