• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

eGCI Team

Q&A for Stocks and Sauces Class - Unit 1 Day1

105 posts in this topic

Thanks for the great intro, I'm looking forward to brushing up on technique with you next week. Question, though: is there a point when we might be able to add a shrimp or fish stock to the syllabus?


"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for a great introduction to stockmaking.

Will you be covering clarification of stocks?

Here in the UK -- I don't know whether this can be done elsewhere -- an inexpensive way to get chickens for stock is to go to a Halal butcher and buy "boiling chickens". They cost, on average, £1 apiece; I have had them for as little as 50p apiece by buying 5 at a time. They come with head and feet (the feet add a lot of gelatin to the stock) and are mostly skin, bone and beak. Perfect for stock.

What a fine start to the eGCI!


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the great intro, I'm looking forward to brushing up on technique with you next week.  Question, though: is there a point when we might be able to add a shrimp or fish stock to the syllabus?

Johnny, given the number of stockpots people are likely to have and the need to cover approximately 60 units of coursework in the next two months, we deprioritized fish and shellfish stocks for the time being. They were in the original lesson plan but I rapidly realized it would be impractical to have people in typically equipped home kitchens create and process four different stocks in two days. I'd be happy to do two things, however:

1 - At the end of the stock and stock-based-sauce units (next Wednesday), after all the immediate questions have been answered and we're moving on to the next area of coursework, if you'd like to reintroduce this subject I'll talk a bit about how to repurpose the techniques we've covered so as to create fish and shellfish stocks. (You'll find that, for example, creating a shellfish stock is procedurally almost exactly the same as creating a brown beef or veal stock, with just a few ingredients changes, and creating a fish stock isn't far from creating a white poultry stock except again the ingredients are different and it happens much more quickly).

2 - When the whole eGCI curriculum is done, if there is interest in an advanced unit on fish and shellfish stocks and their derivative sauces, we can put something together subject to popular demand and the approval of the eGCI project coordinators.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are your thoughts on using chicken necks for stock?


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will you be covering clarification of stocks?

Not in these coursework units. It's possible that in a later sauce or technique unit, another instructor will be covering clarification, consommes, royales, etc., but the course outlines where that might be included are still under development so I won't make any promises on anyone else's behalf.

Of course, the eGCI can never be comprehensive, and we have to prioritize, but throughout the eGCI the instructors will provide outside references for those who want to pursue various offshoots of the coursework. So now might be a good time to comment that there is really one book that overshadows all others I know of on the subject of saucemaking, and that is Sauces : Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, by James Peterson. I highly recommend this readable, intelligent, comprehensive tome to anyone who wants to branch out beyond what we're going to have time to offer here.

Here in the UK -- I don't know whether this can be done elsewhere -- an inexpensive way to get chickens for stock is to go to a Halal butcher and buy "boiling chickens".  They cost, on average, £1 apiece; I have had them for as little as 50p apiece by buying 5 at a time. They come with head and feet (the feet add a lot of gelatin to the stock) and are mostly skin, bone and beak.  Perfect for stock.

Excellent tip and much appreciated. We have mostly US-based instructors and would very much appreciate it if our international users would contribute local equivalents and variants when we post our ingredients lists.

1 person likes this

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What are your thoughts on using chicken necks for stock?

I've often thrown necks, feet, backs, and frames into the stockpot. Pretty much any part of the chicken save for strongly flavored offal (e.g., the liver) will be a useful addition to the stock (you also should avoid too much unnecessary skin and fat, as they contribute mostly . . . fat). I can't say how a stock will work out if you use necks exclusively, though!


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does stock freeze well? Any particular things to be aware of when freezing stock?


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does stock freeze well?  Any particular things to be aware of when freezing stock?

It freezes superbly and efficiently. After we go through the basic stockmaking, straining, defatting, and reducing procedures, I'll be presenting a few tips on storage.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great introduction. Will you be discussing the salt issue at all? The reason I ask is that I've noticed that with chicken stock, at least, the addition of a little bit of salt seems to make for a deeper, more complex flavor that can't be duplicated by adding salt later.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salt definitely makes for a more complex flavor, but I have not personally found the addition of salt during the endgame to be problematic. Certainly, if you make a salt-free dish and salt it at the table -- say, a soup -- the salt will not properly integrate and will simply provide a salty flavor rather than perform the flavor-enhancing function of salt. However, though I'm not totally up on the chemistry of how salt combines with liquid over time, I don't believe this flavor-enhancing function depends on hours and hours of simmering. A few minutes seem to do the trick, at least that has been my casual observation. There may be additional functions of salt as well, however. For example, there may be chemical processes that occur during the cooking-and-extraction phase of stockmaking that are aided or accelerated by salt. I couldn't say for sure.

But for me the bigger issue is that if you put salt in your stock, it can become problematic when you later reduce it to the level of a demi-glace or glace. Since our goal here is to create multi-purpose "blank slate" stocks, the recommendation is to make them effectively salt-free. Of course there is some sodium in them anyway, from the naturally occurring sodium in the raw ingredients and in the case of the brown stock from the tomato paste. Those levels of natural sodium -- unless the molecules are somehow bound up and unavailable -- may very well permit whatever chemical processes, if any, might add a unique flavor due to the operation of salt during the cooking process. But I would advise against the addition of any salt beyond that during the stockmaking phase.

It's my belief -- and this runs counter to the stockmaking instructions in some books -- that an exceptional and complex stock requires a lot of simmering time. I simmer my stocks for around 12 hours, usually overnight. At that point, after 12 hours of reaction, it's hard for me to imagine that there's anything left to extract or react with that salt would have affected. Perhaps the effect of salt would be more pronounced in a stock simmered for less time; perhaps it speeds extraction or something along those lines. Another time, I will do some taste tests and report back. If we have any food chemist types in the house, perhaps they can comment as well.

Carolyn will talk more about salt than I, because she's handling the actual saucemaking part of the lesson. But I will be presenting three recipes at the end, and one thing I encourage people to notice is that in two of them I advise adding salt at several points during the recipe instead of at any one point. I find this to be an issue on which so many cookbooks are inadequate. One of the most frequent recipe instructions in cookbooks is "salt to taste." But what does that mean? In a simple recipe for sauteed onions, for example, does one add the salt at the beginning, during cooking, or at the end? In the opinion of many professional chefs, and in my opinion, the answer is all three: Add the salt bit by bit throughout cooking and, thanks to the magic of the chemistry of salt, the results will be definitely more flavorful yet possibly less overtly salty than if you had dumped in all the salt at once.

By the way, just so I'm sure we're on the same page, when you say "the addition of a little bit of salt," how much are you talking about adding to, say, a 16-quart stockpot? I doubt there would be any harm to adding, say, a teaspoon or a tablespoon to that much stock. But if you're talking about more than that, I would strongly advise against it because it will potentially limit the versatility of the stock in high-ratio reductions later on.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recall Craig Camp making a big distinction between broth and stock with respect to making risotto. Is this a distinction without a difference?


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FG, in my experience at school and at work there are two diametrically opposed schools of thought on the use of vs the NON-use of tomato paste when making a brown stock. Will you be addressing this issue in the lesson?


Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure from earlier in the thread if you're covering non-stock-based sauces, but my question concerns cream sauces (to which I often add stock, if that makes me more relevant).

Why do cream sauces break soemtimes and sometimes not? I'll make the same sauce exactly the same way, so it seems -- for example, sweating shallots and garlic, cooking the alcohol out of wine and reducing it, letting the pan cool, adding cream and bringing it to a boil, to be finished with stock, herbs or whatever. One time it wil break into a grainy mess, the next time it will be sublime. What am I missing? Or is that just the nature of the beast?


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I shall be reading through the whole course as I make a huge batch of demiglace, enough to fill a freezer shelf, every three months or so. Recently I have been wondering whether the difference in flavor between a traditional demiglace and one made from duck and chicken is great enough to require having both on hand. Another point concerns how much meat, as opposed to mere bones, one should use. I have started using a lot of meat in my stocks, generally using a whole veal breast in addition to the bones for my veal stock. This sounds extravagant but I think the complexity and richness of the final product make it worth while. Finally, how much should we strain? I know that classically a stock had to be strained to the clarity of a consommé and obviously one has to strain. But don't you feel that flavor is lost every time one strains? I no longer strain through a cheese cloth. Does this make me a sinner?

All that said I know I am going to enjoy these courses.


Ruth Friedman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I make chicken stock far more often than beef stock. When I want a cut up chicken (for another purpose), I always cut them up myself, and put the back, neck, etc. into the freezer. Likewise, on the occasion that I want a boneless chicken breast, I bone my own and freeze the bones.

So, when I am ready to make stock, I am less likely to use a whole chicken than I am to get thighs and/or thigh leg quarters (often only $.29/lb here). Is there a reason to use chicken breast in the stock? I often also add a few chicken feet since they are readily available.

And, can you please address chopping bones? Should one whack those legs in half to release what is in the bones?


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I recall Craig Camp making a big distinction between broth and stock with respect to making risotto.  Is this a distinction without a difference?

I did a search for the comment and only found Craig Camp's discussion about Italian broth cubes and his lament for not having canned broths.

I believe a general distinction is that "broth" tends to be flavored with potential aromatics (herbs, salt, etc). One can drink or have a bowl of broth.

Stocks tend to be the basis from which broth is made -- entirely salt- and herb-free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FG, in my experience at school and at work there are two diametrically opposed schools of thought on the use of vs the NON-use of tomato paste when making a brown stock.  Will you be addressing this issue in the lesson?

FG is travelling today so I am fielding comments today on this... He will probably weigh-in (no pun intended) and possibly have different thoughts than mine but...

Yes, we both have commented on the use of tomato paste in brown sauces and, coincidentally, WE BOTH USE IT!

Fat Guy had a different method than mine (he puts it in directly, I use the paste to paint the bones during their browning).

I am very curious why there would be such opposition to tomato paste and would be curious for further discussion as to why not to use it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FG, I was interested to read in your article that you enjoy eating the chicken and beef meat left over after making your stocks -- especially since you favor such long simmering (a practice with which I concur). Don't you find that the meat has given up just about all of its flavor to the stock and is insipid and flavorless?

Also, I am curious as to your thoughts on using the carcasses of roasted poultry for stock making (i.e., using the bones from the Thanksgiving turkey to make turkey stock, etc.). I have found that I prefer the result from starting with raw bones -- even if I do end up roasting them to make a brown stock -- rather than already cooked bones.

Thinking of stocks... it might be fun to pick up a cotechino, zampone, tongue, capon, etc. and do an eGullet bollito misto in the fall.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not sure from earlier in the thread if you're covering non-stock-based sauces, but my question concerns cream sauces (to which I often add stock, if that makes me more relevant). 

Why do cream sauces break soemtimes and sometimes not?  I'll make the same sauce exactly the same way, so it seems -- for example, sweating shallots and garlic, cooking the alcohol out of wine and reducing it, letting the pan cool, adding cream and bringing it to a boil, to be finished with stock, herbs or whatever.  One time it wil break into a grainy mess, the next time it will be sublime.  What am I missing?  Or is that just the nature of the beast?

All those questions -- and more -- will be covered in the sauce-making section. I would ask that you re-post those questions in that section when it gets started on Monday.

Quickly, however, that "breaking" of a sauce is the butter going out of emulsion and can often happen by having too little or too much heat. The general fix is to add more liquid and bring them all to the same temperature. You mentioned it exactly, "letting the pan cool." It is a differentiation in temperature and as you become increasingly more aware of when a sauce DOES break versus when it does not, you will notice the heat at which you are working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I shall be reading through the whole course as I make a huge batch of demiglace, enough to fill a freezer shelf, every three months or so. Recently I have been wondering whether the difference in flavor between a traditional demiglace and one made from duck and chicken is great enough to require having both on hand. Another point concerns how much meat, as opposed to mere bones, one should use. I have started using a lot of meat in my stocks, generally using a whole veal breast in addition to the bones for my veal stock. This sounds extravagant but I think the complexity and richness of the final product make it worth while. Finally, how much should we strain? I know that classically a stock had to be strained to the clarity of a consommé and obviously one has to strain. But don't you feel that flavor is lost every time one strains? I no longer strain through a cheese cloth. Does this make me a sinner?

All that said I know I am going to enjoy these courses.

I am a firm believer in a difference between chicken and duck stocks (and demi-glace) and still make both myself.

I do not believe that meat adds much flavor at all in stocks. In the book Ruhlman's book Making of a Chef (I believe), it is Thomas Keller who discusses boiling the bones several times to remove meat and blood to get a clearer stock. There is considerable fat in that meat and I believe the "complexity and richness" you are perceiving is in the fat (remember, a well-marbled steak is more flavorful than a lean one). I do not believe that flavor is lost in the strain at all -- much of what remains in the strained 'muck' is now flavorless. With proper stock-making, the flavor should be in the broth, not in the remnants. The next time you make stock, take a piece of your mirepoix (a carrot, for example), and take a bite out of it. It should be quite flavorless.

I don't think that not straining through cheesecloth make you a sinner, per se, but I would reconsider it. Do an experiment! Take a cup of cheesecloth-strained stock and non-cheesecloth strained stock. Reduce it to a demi-glace and taste it. I might be wrong...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I make chicken stock far more often than beef stock.  When I want a cut up chicken (for another purpose), I always cut them up myself, and put the back, neck, etc. into the freezer.  Likewise, on the occasion that I want a boneless chicken breast, I bone my own and freeze the bones.

So, when I am ready to make stock, I am less likely to use a whole chicken than I am to get thighs and/or thigh leg quarters (often only $.29/lb here).  Is there a reason to use chicken breast in the stock?  I often also add a few chicken feet since they are readily available.

And, can you please address chopping bones?  Should one whack those legs in half to release what is in the bones?

I think your procedure is just fine. In Fat Guy's course, he shows the stock-making procedure with full chickens but as I just mentioned, I don't believe that the added meat really adds that much flavor (there might be quite a discussion on this one). Like you, I save bones and rarely use meat in my stock-making. Also, I do hack the bones in half to get out the gelatine within the bones. Maybe something in my genetics makes me do that...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not sure from earlier in the thread if you're covering non-stock-based sauces, but my question concerns cream sauces (to which I often add stock, if that makes me more relevant). 

Why do cream sauces break soemtimes and sometimes not?  I'll make the same sauce exactly the same way, so it seems -- for example, sweating shallots and garlic, cooking the alcohol out of wine and reducing it, letting the pan cool, adding cream and bringing it to a boil, to be finished with stock, herbs or whatever.  One time it wil break into a grainy mess, the next time it will be sublime.  What am I missing?  Or is that just the nature of the beast?

All those questions -- and more -- will be covered in the sauce-making section. I would ask that you re-post those questions in that section when it gets started on Monday.

Quickly, however, that "breaking" of a sauce is the butter going out of emulsion and can often happen by having too little or too much heat. The general fix is to add more liquid and bring them all to the same temperature. You mentioned it exactly, "letting the pan cool." It is a differentiation in temperature and as you become increasingly more aware of when a sauce DOES break versus when it does not, you will notice the heat at which you are working.

Carolyn is right -- it is possible to learn the signs, and to gauge the temperature of your mixture; this is simply a matter of sufficient experience and careful observation.

But to be specific, if you keep your emulsion between 100 F and 130 F, you'll be able to whisk in all the butter you want. Literally.

edit: sorry if I stepped on any toes, Carolyn. I promise to sit in the back of the room and be quiet from now on.


Edited by Dave the Cook (log)

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FG, I was interested to read in your article that you enjoy eating the chicken and beef meat left over after making your stocks -- especially since you favor such long simmering (a practice with which I concur).  Don't you find that the meat has given up just about all of its flavor to the stock and is insipid and flavorless?

Also, I am curious as to your thoughts on using the carcasses of roasted poultry for stock making (i.e., using the bones from the Thanksgiving turkey to make turkey stock, etc.).  I have found that I prefer the result from starting with raw bones -- even if I do end up roasting them to make a brown stock -- rather than already cooked bones.

Thinking of stocks... it might be fun to pick up a cotechino, zampone, tongue, capon, etc. and do an eGullet bollito misto in the fall.

As I indicated before, FG is travelling today so I'll be anxious to await his response to this. It surprised me as well... There have been occasions when I boil a chicken to get the chicken meat, but I have rarely found the subsequent meat flavorful enough to warrant eating (I will use it to make cat food).

Regarding the use of carcasses, I have been scouring my books for the French term of this procedure. It has something to do with "twice cooked" but I can't recall the exact term. I also enjoy making stock from a cooked bird and will, in fact, sometimes put the carcass back into the oven to roast the bones even further for a deeper, richer, roasted poultry stock. In fact, I will ALWAYS save my bones from any duck I buy and cook as there is nothing better than ROASTED duck stock.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not sure from earlier in the thread if you're covering non-stock-based sauces, but my question concerns cream sauces (to which I often add stock, if that makes me more relevant). 

Why do cream sauces break soemtimes and sometimes not?  I'll make the same sauce exactly the same way, so it seems -- for example, sweating shallots and garlic, cooking the alcohol out of wine and reducing it, letting the pan cool, adding cream and bringing it to a boil, to be finished with stock, herbs or whatever.  One time it wil break into a grainy mess, the next time it will be sublime.  What am I missing?  Or is that just the nature of the beast?

All those questions -- and more -- will be covered in the sauce-making section. I would ask that you re-post those questions in that section when it gets started on Monday.

Quickly, however, that "breaking" of a sauce is the butter going out of emulsion and can often happen by having too little or too much heat. The general fix is to add more liquid and bring them all to the same temperature. You mentioned it exactly, "letting the pan cool." It is a differentiation in temperature and as you become increasingly more aware of when a sauce DOES break versus when it does not, you will notice the heat at which you are working.

Carolyn is right -- it is possible to learn the signs, and to gauge the temperature of your mixture; this is simply a matter of sufficient experience and careful observation.

But to be specific, if you keep your emulsion between 100 F and 130 F, you'll be able to whisk in all the butter you want. Literally.

edit: sorry if I stepped on any toes, Carolyn. I promise to sit in the back of the room and be quiet from now on.

Gads, No! I appreciate it, especially since I never remember specific like temperature! It is all about feel for me and any comments you care to make will be most welcome...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.