Great question! The short answer is: It depends on what you’re cooking. If you’re using one of our guided cooks in the Joule app, you’ll be given a recommendation of how long you can leave your food in the heating/circulating water after the timer is finished. If you’re doing a manual cook, you may need to do a bit of research or speak to other sous vide enthusiasts for the recommended maximum time you can leave your food in the water. Check out some amazing online sous vide communities here!
Sous vide is wonderful in that time is less important than with other cooking methods. This is because the temperature at which you’re cooking is also the intended temperature of your final product. Since your food will not go over this temperature, it doesn’t end up overcooked. No matter how long you leave your food in the water, there will be no change to the internal temperature. However, waiting too long will eventually start to break down your food and it may end up softer/mushier than intended.
For more information and a deeper explanation, check out Douglas Baldwin’s site on sous vide cooking: http://www.douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vide.html.