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What's the best way to strain a reduction?


Recoil Rob
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I've tried to strain reduced stocks with paper towel, coffee filters, Jaques Pepin recommmended a paper napkin. They all bog down and the flow just stops dead. Cheese cloth is not fine enough for small particles.

What do you use?

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

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If you want to get rid of all the fine particles, what you want to do is clarify your stock, not strain it. This is better, I find, if you do it before the reduction stage. To clarify, stir plenty of egg whites into cold stock, stir constantly as you bring it up to temperature, then stop stirring and allow the coagulated "raft" of egg whites to float to the top while you lightly simmer for 10 minutes or so. After that, gently strain through cheesecloth and you will have a crystal-clear stock.

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If you want to get rid of all the fine particles, what you want to do is clarify your stock, not strain it.  This is better, I find, if you do it before the reduction stage.  To clarify, stir plenty of egg whites into cold stock, stir constantly as you bring it up to temperature, then stop stirring and allow the coagulated "raft" of egg whites to float to the top while you lightly simmer for 10 minutes or so.  After that, gently strain through cheesecloth and you will have a crystal-clear stock.

I agree with this - although I find that the clarification process removes a lot of flavor from the broth... one way help avoid that is to add a bunch of finely chopped meat to the egg whites before adding to the cold stock... so if making a beef consomme, for example, you'd take a bunch of fine chopped (or ground) chuck or other flavorful beef and mix it well with a bit of finely chopped mirepoix and the egg whites.... then follow the directions above... that way, while the coagulating egg whites are trapping the fine particles, they won't completely rob your broth of a lot of flavor...

Also, it is a good idea once the raft forms, to poke a hole in the center of it so that the broth can "bubble" through... otherwise, it is possible for it to boil too hard once the raft is formed... the key is a gentle simmer... a hard boil will emulsify some of those particles into the liquid...

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Are you just trying to remove the particulates or clarify? If the former, Chris already hooked you up with the information you need. Sieve, cheesecloth, coffee filter in that order (unless you have progressively finer sieves on hand, then just use those) works great. If you're going for clarification and have the time I personally recommend gelatin syneresis filtration over a raft. I find it easier, more efficient and I just plain like the results better. But that's just my opinion (and it does require a day or two headstart to get through the process).

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Are you just trying to remove the particulates or clarify? If the former, Chris already hooked you up with the information you need. Sieve, cheesecloth, coffee filter in that order (unless you have progressively finer sieves on hand, then just use those) works great. If you're going for clarification and have the time I personally recommend gelatin syneresis filtration over a raft. I find it easier, more efficient and I just plain like the results better. But that's just my opinion (and it does require a day or two headstart to get through the process).

Would one of those bags that you use strain fruit when making a fruit jelly work?

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I actually did clarify it with egg whites first but then I decided I wanted it reduced more, moving towards a demi glace. After the further reduction some more solids precipoitated out of the liquid and i wanted them strained out.

I ended up using a coffee filter and it took about 30 minutes for the cup of liquid to drain through. In the end I had to help along by twisting the filter like a pastry bag.

I got the results I wanted but thought there must be an easier way.

Thanks, Rob

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

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I've tried to strain reduced stocks with paper towel, coffee filters, Jaques Pepin recommmended a paper napkin. They all bog down and the flow just stops dead. Cheese cloth is not fine enough for small particles.

What do you use?

Rob,

I assume that all of the meat and aromatics have been removed from your stock and it is still hot when you strain. If necessary strain pieces of vegetables out with a regular kitchen strainer.

Most professional kitchens use a fine mesh chinois to strain stock. It does not clarify the stock but removes a high percentage of the sediment.

Update Chinois are very inexpensive and fine for home use. I was surprised to see that a fine mesh chinois can be purchased for under $20.

$19 Chinois

Actually, at that price I would be very wary of the retailer.

Tim

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I've tried to strain reduced stocks with paper towel, coffee filters, Jaques Pepin recommmended a paper napkin. They all bog down and the flow just stops dead. Cheese cloth is not fine enough for small particles.

What do you use?

Rob,

I assume that all of the meat and aromatics have been removed from your stock and it is still hot when you strain. If necessary strain pieces of vegetables out with a regular kitchen strainer.

Most professional kitchens use a fine mesh chinois to strain stock. It does not clarify the stock but removes a high percentage of the sediment.

Update Chinois are very inexpensive and fine for home use. I was surprised to see that a fine mesh chinois can be purchased for under $20.

$19 Chinois

Actually, at that price I would be very wary of the retailer.

Tim

I was about to say, that is a very good price for a chinois...every time I see one, the cost around $80-100...

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If you have the time, add 0.5% by weight powdered gelatine to the warm liquid, leave for 15 mins, stir, freeze it, place the frozen chunk in the fridge in a sieve over a beaker. After 12 hours or so, the liquid will contain all the flavourants, but will be perfectly clear:- compliments of a process called synereses.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Quite interesting, I Googled it (actually syneresis) and it's the same process by which whey comes out of yogurt.

I may have to try that some day, thanks.

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

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