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Sous Vide stocks, how much water?


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I looked through the Sous Vide section and didn't see this addressed, I hope I didn't miss it. 

 

I just made three batches of chicken stock. I put two chicken carcass, 2 feet, a veal bone, and a measure of onions/carrots with bay leaf and thyme and enough water to fill the bag. I made four bags and set them to cook for four, eight, twelve, and twenty-four hours at 95 degrees Celsius. The four-hour bag had the deepest chicken flavor, but none were strong enough to stand on their own without evaporation. To save time I combined them all into one pot and reduced. The end result is good, but not as good as four to six hours in a large pot on the stove. 

 

My question is when making stock with a sous vide should we reduce the amount of water to account for the evaporation which would naturally take place? And does the chicken flavor break down with heat over time? 

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I make my chicken stock in a pressure cooker so there's no evaporation there.

 

The amount of chicken you are using is actually on the low side. Even with a conventional process I wouldn't expect a lot of chicken flavour. As highlighted in other posts on the site, most of the flavour comes from the meat rather than from the carcass or feet so I'd at least put in more wings, preferably jointed to allow full extraction from the meat content.

 

Not sure why the four hour bag would have the strongest chicken flavour. Longer cooking should extract more flavour.

 

Interestingly this is the obverse of normal sous vide cooking, which tries to keep as much flavour in the meat as possible. It may need a rethink of your procedure.

 

One last point, if you are cooking sous vide at 95C for that long, why use sous vide? I'd be getting a pressure cooker (noting, however, that you are in Yokohama and there may be kitchen limitations driving this). 

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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You have a lot of leeway with the amount of water. No matter what, you want to use less than you would with a conventional stock, because as you said, there won't be any evaporation. But beyond that it's up to you depending on how strong you want the stock to be. As a starting point, I'd suggest the same quantities of ingredients you'd use for a conventional stock, except for the water. Base that quantity on the final yield you expect.

 

In other words, If a recipe normally gives you 2L of stock, start with 2L water. You should end up with roughly 2L stock, depending on how much liquid the ingredients contribute and absorb. And the strength of flavor should be similar, although the flavor profile will be different, and the aromas should be stronger.

 

I find the stock recipes in the MC series to be designed for very strong stocks. I'm making stocks more for everyday use so I use more water. I get amazing flavor, but at conventional concentrations.

 

Nickrey is right that a pressure cooker is the better tool for most stocks. SV is ideal for more delicate flavors, like vegetable and seafood stocks. The sv veggie stock I made last week is amazingly vibrant, and was pretty easy. Next time I may use the slicing blade on the food processor to make shorter work of it. These stocks only need to cook for 3 hours.

Edited by paulraphael (log)
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Notes from the underbelly

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I make my chicken stock in a pressure cooker so there's no evaporation there.

 

One last point, if you are cooking sous vide at 95C for that long, why use sous vide? I'd be getting a pressure cooker (noting, however, that you are in Yokohama and there may be kitchen limitations driving this). 

 

I just like trying new things. I have two pressure cookers. :) Honestly, I'm not a fan for using them to make stock unless I'm trying to quickly extract gelatin from chicken feet, pigs trotters, or hoof. I'm still a fan of the all day, giant pot but I like to clarify by freezing it and melting it through the chinois. A bit of the old and new, I guess. 

 

A foot note to this post is that the remouillage came out really well in the sous vide. 

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Nickrey is right that a pressure cooker is the better tool for most stocks. SV is ideal for more delicate flavors, like vegetable and seafood stocks. The sv veggie stock I made last week is amazingly vibrant, and was pretty easy. Next time I may use the slicing blade on the food processor to make shorter work of it. These stocks only need to cook for 3 hours.

 

Can I ask, what kind of vegetables did you use to make your veggie stock? 

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Water 100%

Carrots 15% 
Leeks, whites and 1” of greens 15% 
Celery 10%
Tomato, seeded 7% 
Parsley 1.5%  
Chives 0.3% 
Garlic 0.2% 
Coriander seeds 0.15%
Black Peppercorns 0.15% 
Star Anise 0.07%
Cloves 0.05% 
Bay Leaf 0.01% 

 

Next time I'm going to put in mushrooms, probably 7%, and a bit of white wine.

 

This could be really freely interpreted and still be delicious.

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Notes from the underbelly

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Could easily be used to create a vegetable nage as well. Recipes abound for this and as it isn't boiled the sous vide method would seem ideally suited. The only difference is that you'd need to boil and cool the wine first.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Guest Caren Palevitz

 

My question is when making stock with a sous vide should we reduce the amount of water to account for the evaporation which would naturally take place? And does the chicken flavor break down with heat over time? 

 

Yes, for example our ratio for a vegetable stock is 500 g water to 780 g of vegetables.

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