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Q&A for Simmering the Basic Stocks - Unit 2 Day 2


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#31 Stone

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 01:57 PM

1) I notice that you trimmed the leaves off the celery. I've always thought they were the most aromatic part. Is there a reason you took them off?

2) Regarding the browning of the bones, is there any benefit to browning them in a non-stick pan and deglazing? Or is this not worth the effort/clean up?

#32 Fat Guy

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 02:09 PM

1) I've never actually tested the instructions, but I've read in several places that the leaves make the stock bitter. So I remove them. I don't have any of my reference books with me on the road right now, so perhaps someone will pull some quotes on this point and post them. A quick online search reveals plenty of language like:

Celery leaves, especially those on the outside of the bunch, are extremely bitter and should not be added to the stock. Remove and discard these leaves from the celery stalks.

http://www.allrecipe...ock/default.asp

2) I don't bother to do it, but deglazing and adding that product to your stock certainly a way to give your stock additional color and nutty flavor quickly -- provided you don't acually burn the stuff. (You can also deglaze and make a sauce for something else.) Just be sure to remove as much fat as possible from the pan before you do it. And if you're going to deglaze, don't use a non-stick pan. It doesn't develop crusty pan grech as nicely as stainless.

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#33 FoodMan

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 03:02 PM

Why is it you never see pork stock?? Is it because it is too fatty?? Not much flavor in the bones?? Or maybe too much over powering flavor??


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#34 badthings

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 03:07 PM

Just be sure to remove as much fat as possible from the pan before you do it.

Inquiry, not temerity:
Why bother to defat in advance if you're just going to defat the whole thing later? I've even found it easier to remove the fat really thoroughly if there's a nice thick layer on top.

I seem to recall Sally Schneider (New Way to Cook) suggesting that cooking liquids with lots of fat, then defatting them adds to the mouthfeel and even taste.

Unrelated question: I thought browning reactions required temperatures higher than 200 F. If we are cooking at ~180, are we foregoing the browning reactions entirely? Or is our low simmer hotter than than that?

#35 Fat Guy

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 03:24 PM

Why bother to defat in advance if you're just going to defat the whole thing later? I've even found it easier to remove the fat really thoroughly if there's a nice thick layer on top.

Primarily because the fat left over after oven-roasting beef/veal bones is rather unpleasant. Take a good whiff next time and tell me if you want that in your stock! As for raw fat, sure, if you keep the simmer slow, it mostly won't emulsify into the mixture and can be removed later. But on occasion I don't have time to refrigerate my stock for several hours before defatting it, in which case I like to have as little fat as possible in there because I know I'm going to miss some when I defat with a pitcher. In terms of improved mouthfeel from simmering with fat and then removing it, I don't know why that would be unless some of the fat is staying behind, but maybe it is so -- I don't have that information. The thing is, if some of that additional fat is left behind (and I suspect despite best efforts some of it usually will be), your stock will still be great as a soup base but it may not be as effective and clean-tasting when heavily reduced and used as a sauce base.

Unrelated question: I thought browning reactions required temperatures higher than 200 F. If we are cooking at ~180, are we foregoing the browning reactions entirely? Or is our low simmer hotter than than that?


I believe a proper stockmaking simmer (which is probably, technically, closer to a slow boil than a real simmer like you'd do with a braised dish) is roughly 200-205 degrees average, more or a little less depending if you measure at the top or bottom of the pot. The trick when getting your simmering speed set is to make sure you're getting some slow-boil-type behavior in places on the surface of the liquid, but that other areas are calm. This allows the fat to collect in the calm areas. If the whole surface is turbulent, the fat will emulsify into the liquid (I think I'm using the term emulsify correctly here, but maybe not) and won't be removable later without the aid of a plasma physicist and six billion dollars worth of special equipment.

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#36 Fat Guy

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 03:28 PM

Why is it you never see pork stock?? Is it because it is too fatty?? Not much flavor in the bones?? Or maybe too much over powering flavor??

Pork stock is very common in Asian cooking, and it's also used in Western cooking -- it's just not as prevalent as beef/veal and poultry stocks. I think if you eat in fine-dining restaurants you're eating more pork stock than you might think. Restaurants don't typically list their sauce bases and braising liquids on the menu, but once you hit a certain level of restaurant it's a safe bet that they're using pork stock in their pork dishes -- and maybe other dishes too -- either as a braising liquid, marinade, or sauce base. You'll also note, in the Escoffier recipes for stock that Jackal10 posted in the Unit 1 thread, there's plenty of pork in the classic recipes.

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#37 jackal10

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 03:53 PM

Unrelated question: I thought browning reactions required temperatures higher than 200 F. If we are cooking at ~180, are we foregoing the browning reactions entirely? Or is our low simmer hotter than than that?

Maillard reactions are complex and depend on temperature and ph (acidity) . Its not either/or. Below 200F they go much slower, but they do occur. There is experimental data showing it occuring as low as 60C/140F, especailly in an alkaline environment like stock


Also if the stock is at a slow simmer parts of it (near the heat source) will be, by definition, at at about boiling - 212F or slightly greater because of the pressure, or you won't get the bubbles an surface movement.

#38 SethG

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 07:10 PM

It's too late to do anything about it now, but:

I am currently simmering chicken stock. Here's a picture from about 20 minutes ago (my first picture post to eGullet):

Posted Image

I am using an 8 Qt. pot.

My question is this: my stock is a mixture of a couple chicken backs and wings from my freezer, and a (not frozen) pack of four whole drumstick/thighs. Last night, I forgot to take the backs out of the freezer. And tonight, when I started the stock, I figured, what the hell, they'll thaw out fast enough in the simmering pot. And I went ahead and threw them in. I'm planning to simmer as long as I can stay awake tonight, probably for a total of 6 or 7 hours. I figure the frozen stuff will have no effect.

Am I right? Or have I done something bad? It all looks good. And I pulled out a bunch, but not all, of the meat from the legs and made some nice dark meat chicken salad for dinner. It was mighty tasty. And all thanks to the miracle that is the eGCI.

Edited by Fat Guy, 04 August 2003 - 07:31 PM.

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#39 Fat Guy

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 07:33 PM

You're good, not bad. And your stock looks great!

Thanks for posting that photo.

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#40 SethG

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 08:40 PM

The smell filling the kitchen is also highly evocative for any Jew... and I'm sure for people of many different cultures, but from my Jewish perspective, I'm tempted to just strain the sucker now, throw in some matzo balls and call it a night!
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#41 Fat Guy

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 11:12 PM

Go all the way to the end of the stockmaking process, then add about a quart of that stuff to your next batch of matzoh ball soup. You'll be ready to convert to whatever religion French people are.

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#42 badthings

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 10:33 AM

I seem to recall Sally Schneider (New Way to Cook) suggesting that cooking liquids with lots of fat, then defatting them adds to the mouthfeel and even taste.

OK, terrible mistake: it was not Sally Schneider, but Paula Wolfert in Cooking of SW France who wrote:

If you remove absolutely all the fat from a dish, there will indeed be a loss of flavor. To compensate, I often degrease, then add more fat for more flavor, cook the dish some more, then degrease again. I call this technique "double degreasing"

She is talking about braises, in which these fats are added to (already defatted) stock, but I don't see why it wouldn't also apply to stock itself. She also says:

According to our latest scientific knowledge, the ingredients that give flavor to fat are in fact water soluble -- they can be separated from the fat itself.

Presumably she means that the hydrophilic heads of lipid molecules a) provide the flavor, and b) can be severed from the hydrocarbon chains, which is where the calories are. Does anyone know of more recent "latest scientific knowledge" about this? Maybe we should cook up some light sweet crude as an experiment?

By the way, this class is fascinating. I have been making stock for years but I am learning a lot from this. Thank you FG, Carolyn, and commentators.
And I vote for a food science class, or at least a Maillard reaction thread.

#43 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 02:25 PM

Great info Badthings -- you and Jackal should be contacting Dave the Cook about food-science stuff, since you're obviously in a position to be helpful in building that lesson.

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#44 zephyrus

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 02:57 PM

maybe a bit of a foolish question but when the stock is simmering over night should i cover the pot?

thanks so much...

casey

#45 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 05:35 PM

maybe a bit of a foolish question but when the stock is simmering over night should i cover the pot?

thanks so much...

casey

Nope! It won't reduce as much if you cover it because the condensation will keep getting re-absorbed back into the liquid. Uncovered is the way to go.

#46 cdh

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 03:33 PM

With a roasted-bone meat stock, is the bone-washing procedure recommended, or are you stuck with lots of skimming? I just picked up some beef marrow bones and roasted them (my supermarket wanted $5.79/lb for veal shanks... frozen, even... the $1.29/lb marrow bones seemed the way to go.) I've got them covered w/ H2O in the pot, but no veg... am going to observe and see how voluminous the scum becomes, and chuck in the veg after the majority subsides, I think.
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#47 enthusiast

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 03:53 AM

Carolyn Tillie Posted on Aug 5 2003, 05:35 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
QUOTE (zephyrus @ Aug 5 2003, 02:57 PM)
maybe a bit of a foolish question but when the stock is simmering over night should i cover the pot?

thanks so much...

casey 

Nope! It won't reduce as much if you cover it because the condensation will keep getting re-absorbed back into the liquid. Uncovered is the way to go.


i left mine mostly covered but with a small gap. by morning it had half boiled away even with the stock just bubbling (c92 C). had i left the lid off i would have been checking my insurance policy

#48 Fat Guy

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 09:10 AM

With a roasted-bone meat stock, is the bone-washing procedure recommended, or are you stuck with lots of skimming?  I just picked up some beef marrow bones and roasted them (my supermarket wanted $5.79/lb for veal shanks... frozen, even... the $1.29/lb marrow bones seemed the way to go.)  I've got them covered w/ H2O in the pot, but no veg... am going to observe and see how voluminous the scum becomes, and chuck in the veg after the majority subsides, I think.

I don't bother to wash bones if they've been roasted already. It seems most of the nasty stuff gets left behind in the roasting pan, provided you do a long roast, and I fear washing would remove too much of the desirable flavor of the roasted bones.

We're going to close this thread for now so as to keep the current eGCI course the only active one. There are a few questions I still need to answer and I will append those when I get back to New York next week. Thanks everybody.

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#49 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 08 September 2003 - 05:34 PM

Rachel said in the Day 1 Q&A thread:

I'm finally doing this class. Well, at least half of it. I'm making the chicken stock.

I am starting with 10 lbs of chicken legs and 5 lbs of chicken backs. $0.29 and .20 per pound respectively at Foodmart International in Ridgefield, NJ. One and a half pounds each of peeled & trimmed carrots and celery (not-peeled). Three pounds onion. (Total Food Cost = $6.14) These were divided between my 16, 6.5 & 4.5 quart pots.


I originally planned on just using my 16 quart pot, but there was way too many veggies & chicken parts to fit. So, like I said, I divided between my three pots. I started the heat under the pots around 6:30. I skimmed dutifully and now there's very little scum on top. In fact, as long as I was skimming, I used a ladle & strainer and a fat straining measuring cup and have removed about 1 quart of fat (I didn't trim off the fat from the chickies before starting). Actually, since it's been simmering for almost 2 hours, I know it has reduced by 4.5 quarts - I've redistributed contents and no longer need the third pot. By the time I go to bed, I hope to have added the contents of the medium sized pot to the big one.

I must say, I feel weird about this stock. I wanted to brown the chicken parts & veggies the way I usually do (actually, I usually just use already cooked carcases & brown them and the veggies some more) I like the roasted taste. I also really want to add salt. And peppercorns. I can live without the parsley, but I missed adding parsley stems as well.

We keep weird hours, so I don't think it will be an issue to deal with the straining of the stock in the middle of the night. See you then.

#50 bloviatrix

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 08:25 AM

I finally got around to making the stock. I used about 7 pounds of chicken carcasses with lots of meat still stuck to the bones and the necks attached.

I put it up at about 10:30 pm and continued to strain off scum, in the beginning and then the congealed fat until about 2:30 am (we keep late hours). Woke up this morning and strained the stock trough a cheese cloth lined strainer. It's now chilling in the fridge. I think I got the bulk of the fat off last night, but this afternoon I'll skim off whatever accumulated and reduce.

My plan is to use some of the stock to make chicken soup for the pre-Yom Kippur meal. The rest will come in handy now that the weather has turned cool.
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#51 bleachboy

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 07:52 PM

Well, I tried to make the chicken stock yesterday. Heck, I even somehow managed to buy the same 16-qt stock pot that Fat Guy has (from BB&B). Anyway, it was taking an eternity on my electric stove to even start to simmer, so I left the room for a few minutes, came back, and it was boiling like crazy with a caramel-colored scum on top of the soapy bubbles. I plowed ahead anyway (what do I have to lose?) and today (after chilling in the fridge overnight in an 8-qt pot) there is absolutely no fat on top. I know there should be, I know that fat. The stock is crazy chickeny, but leaves an unpleasant greasy feel in the mouth. Is there anything I can do to correct, or did I ruin it?

p.s. I had thrown two duck backs, necks, and wings in there too, in case that might have screwed something up.
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#52 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 06:36 AM

Is the stock a creamy color? If so, the fat has emulsified into the stock. I don't think it can be separated out again. You can use it for soup where you don't mind the color and the fat -- perhaps a roux based "cream of" something soup -- just a make the roux higher in flour than fat to balance out the fat that is part of the liquid.

#53 hedoness

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 02:21 PM

I am making my stock, and aside from a few small moments of boiling, and leaving covered accidentally a few times, so far so good. But I have a few questions.

I have about 5.2 lbs of back, bones, and a few pieces. I have about 2.5 lbs onions and equal parts carrot and celery- almost typical store bags each. I followed the Joy of Cookings recommendations and added the mirepoix along with a bouqet garni (some whole clove, corriander, and dill sprigs) about 30 minutes into it, after skimming the impurities out.

OK- here are my questions:

1. Is corriander ok to put in the bouquet garni? I just liked the smell and saw it was not dried leaf (which I hear are bad in stocks- true?) so I went for it. Overall, I removed it after it started smelling kinda potpourri-ish. Do you think this step is really all that important- I figure I can add this kind of flavoring later.

2. How much in trouble am I if I left it covered for awile, and what, aside from it not reducing is the problem? Also- can I always reduce later, or are there limits on how much reduction can occur?

4. What happens if you leave your ingredients in too long? I am planning on removing the "stuff" after about 4 hours, straining and simmering again for several more hours.

5. Is there a chance of oversimmering?

I think that's about it. So far its a golden color, kinda bland tasting but very oily.

Thanks!!
C
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#54 hedoness

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:14 PM

One more question (several hours later ;-))...I left my stock simmering, but it was simmering very, very low for about an hour, after reading that if it's too low this could result in bacteria. I have since strained and reduced my stock- how will I know if bacteria has accumulated? I boiled it a bit to reduce more, skimming off foam. Then I put it in a tupperware in the sink with some cold water and ice to bring it's temp down quickly- then into the fridge to defat later.
I am concerned about the bacteria, and about the fact that I have been tasting (ever since the first skimming of the impurities about 45 minutes into the cooking).

Will I be around to hear your response? ;-)
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#55 Jason Perlow

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:18 PM

Bring it to a boil for a few minutes, it will kill the bacteria.
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#56 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:38 PM

Bringing to the boil will kill bacteria, but I'm sure your stock is fine. If heat was on, even very very low, it's fine. You just don't want a huge vat of stock sitting on the stove for hours waiting for it to cool naturally -- that's the bacterial play ground.

Also, I don't think 4 hours is long enough. I usually leave mine on a simmer flame overnight. If it tastes totally bland, it's not done.

Coriander is one of those herbs better added to the final stock when making a soup. If you add it to the stock as part of its flavoring, then it may taste kind of Asian and be good only for Asian soups.

#57 hedoness

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 11:18 AM

Bringing to the boil will kill bacteria, but I'm sure your stock is fine. If heat was on, even very very low, it's fine. You just don't want a huge vat of stock sitting on the stove for hours waiting for it to cool naturally -- that's the bacterial play ground.

Also, I don't think 4 hours is long enough. I usually leave mine on a simmer flame overnight. If it tastes totally bland, it's not done.

Coriander is one of those herbs better added to the final stock when making a soup. If you add it to the stock as part of its flavoring, then it may taste kind of Asian and be good only for Asian soups.

Phew!! I boiled the stock once it was strained and reduced it more which gave it more flavor. Now it's a bit dark, a tad cloudy :-( and a just a bit oily. I refrigerated it overnight and removed some fat off the top this morning. And you're right- the corriander was strong so I had removed it (along with clove and the rest of the bouquet garni) early in the process. I don't get why the bouquet garni is important since we will be flavoring it later, and think I will skip it completely next time.
This probably isn't good enough to throw a matzo ball into, but it might be a good base for a sauce or something. I'll freeze it anyway.

Thank you!!
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#58 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 07:11 PM

I'm wondering if perhaps you didn't read the class material before doing this stock? The lesson does not include herbs or spices in the basic stocks. During the Q&A, Fat Guy explained:

Here again is where FG and I somewhat disagree. While I do not tend to add aromatics to my chicken broths (leaving them a black slate), I do add aromatics to my brown stock.

I don't disagree with that at all. It's a question of intended use. If you're going to use 100% of your meat stock for making French dishes, by all means add peppercorns and a bouquet garni (aka a bunch of herbs usually tied together in cheesecloth, with the classic set being parsley, thyme, and bay leaf). If you make the stock the way I'm teaching it, and you want to make French-style sauces out of it, you may wish to add peppercorns and a bouquet garni to a quart of it and simmer that while you're making your roux for Carolyn's part of the coursework -- I actually find that last-minute addition of extra aromatics gives a "brighter" taste than simmering them for hours in the stock and then boiling the stock for hours to reduce it (a process that tends to mute their flavor contributions). But later, if we get to a unit on, say, making Vietnamese beef soup, you may want to take some of the basic stock and add star anise, ginger, and cinnamon, and you may find the flavor of thyme out-of-place in that application. I think of it the way I think about cooking steak: I always err towards undercooking, because you can always cook it more but you can never cook it less. With stock, you can always add flavors but you can never remove them.



#59 Pumpkin Lover

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 08:46 AM

Okie, I have a stupid question or two about the washing/pre-boiling of the bones for beef stock...

1) I only wash and pre-boil beef bones if I'm making a white beef stock? I don't have to do this if I'm making a brown beef stock (where I'd be roasting the bones)?

What I'm getting at is, if I roast the bones, do I have to purge the fat and blood out of them through boiling first?

2) If I wanted to make a white veal stock, say, do I go through the boiling purge of veal bones? Do they have as much blood and fat in them as beef bones?

#60 Matonski

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Posted 16 January 2005 - 12:31 AM

For the brown stock, do you try and roast all the meat/bones you are going to use, or just some of it? It doesn't look like there are 8 lbs of meat in that non-stick pot.