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I am a fan of bone broths, but always have a problem with the overnight cooking part.

For the overnight cooking part I have the following options:

  • Interrupt cook, let the pot hot on the stove, continue in the morning (this is what I am doing now)
  • Cook overnight on the stove (this seems to be a bad idea)
  • Cook in an oven overnight. Some people say, that this is a lot safer, than the stove, but I am not willing to do it.
  • Stand-alone stove on the balcony. I actually believe, that this should be pretty safe.
  • My latest idea: Put the bone broth pot in a big container full of water and heat the water with a sous-vide circulator.

Since sous-vide circulators can not reach as high temperatures as an oven and since they are, after all, in a container full of water, is it safe to assume, that overnight sous-vide is safer than overnight oven cooking? I could make it even safer, by putting the whole thing on the balcony, however this would probably increase energy consumption dramatically.

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    What are you worried about safety from? – FuzzyChef Apr 28 at 5:57
  • I would consider putting electrical appliances outdoors to be the least safe of all possible conditions. – Tetsujin Apr 28 at 9:29
  • @Tetsujin living in the UK I'm inclined to agree but in countries where the climate is more suited to outdoor living there are often covered areas outside that are very suitable. – Chris H Apr 28 at 12:41
  • I am worried about fires / smoke. I don't want to kill myself and my family over slightly deeper flavour in soup. – user1721135 Apr 28 at 20:10
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On top of the stove the issue is boiling dry. At that point the temperature can rise almost unchecked. This will result in unpleasant fumes at best, flames at worst. Even in the latter case, because you should be using a fairly tight fitting lid, everything should be contained, but I wouldn't rely on that.

The oven is different. Once the pot is up to boiling point you can set an oven temperature of just over 100°C. In the unlikely event of boiling dry, the contents still won't exceed that temperature - no burning. Like you I assume an electric oven.

Using a sous vide circulator you'll actually struggle to get the inner pot hot enough - you generally want a gentle simmer for broth/stock. The outer pot will loose a lot to evaporation even if it never boils.

I'd have more confidence in the oven, but if you're shopping there's one more option - a slow cooker. Making stock is trivial: put in bones (and any veg etc.); pour over boiling water; leave on high for a few hours or low for up to a couple of days; strain. I normally use low overnight for chicken stock with onion, celery, & herbs. These are specifically designed to run for long periods unattended without boiling dry (as the power input is low and the lid fits tightly).

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    Joule can achieve about 94°C, which I think should be enough for a gentile simmer? The evaporation can be managed quite effectively by putting a lid on the whole thing. – user1721135 Apr 28 at 20:14
  • The sous vide setups (stick in bath type) I've seen aren't designed to be covered that well, so evaporation from the outer pot would be an issue. You'd also want to start with the inner pot boiling otherwise it would take a very long time to get up to temperature. But it could be done if you deal with both of these – Chris H Apr 30 at 11:36

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