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Q&A -- Straining, defatting and reducing Unit 3


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i've taken a load of pictures of my stockmaking but other than to show off my beautiful pentole stockpot and to prove that i've being doing as instructed i'm not sure there's much worth in me posting them here. but i'm willing to be persuaded...

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease...post some

Good enough??

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I'm under the impression that it is dangerous to put hot foods into the fridge

I would not recommend putting a boiling pot full of 8 quarts of stock directly in the refrigerator. Chances are it would do no harm but it could, especially if it's a weak fridge and the pot is near the meat drawer. I believe I recommended, in the lesson, either cooling the pot or using the inverse of the sink-ice trick (putting a Zip-Loc bag full of ice right into the stock). I don't typically have enough ice on hand to fill my sink, but if you do then by all means that will work.

The thing you really want to avoid is warm stock. In food safety talk they refer to the "danger zone" which is roughly from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Those are the fertile temperatures for bacteria. So the goal is to move food through the danger zone temperature range as quickly as possible. Cooling passively until the stock is down to around 150 degrees and then either icing it down or putting in the refrigerator should work. At that point, assuming a normal fridge, chances are the refrigerator won't get pushed up above 40 degrees. Likewise, if you use ice, make sure you get the temperature down very cold -- ice won't be helpful if you only use it to cool the pot to 100 degrees and then let it sit around growing bacteria. I've had that happen to me once, on account of forgetfulness, but will never forget the smell.

We'll be closing this thread soon, so get those last pictures and comments up today. I'll answer the remaining unanswered questions when I get home to New York. Thanks.

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)

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After simmering my beef-bone-based stock all night, this morning's pouring off and straining produced an interesting effect I'd like to share--

I poured the 10 (or so) quarts of stock (overnight evaporation took its toll) from the 20 Qt stockpot into a smaller stockpot after fishing out all the bones and veg and such with a slotted spoon. In a desire to strain better than my collander could do by itself, I lined it with a wet paper towel (run of the mill Bounty). As I poured the stock into the collander and through the towel, it seemed that a disproportionate amount of the fat was remaining in the collander and not pouring through with the stock. As the process continued, it was becoming obvious that a very high percentage of the fat was refusing to pass through the paper towel, while the water-based stock sailed right through. So, after getting it all out of its cooking vessel and into a suitable recepticle, I picked up the towel full of fat and deposited easily a pint of fat into other pot I was using to hold the bones and veg...

I repeated the trick with fresh towels a couple of times, and not only cooled the stock significantly by the pouring action, but also lots more fat refused to pass the towels again. I'm expecting to come home tonight to find little if any fat on top of the stock in the fridge.

A neat effect, and easily understandable given fat's dislike of water and propensity to float above it...

Anybody else use this method for de-fatting a hot stock? I was thinking that if I didn't have to go to work I could have passed it through a couple more times, and set it to reducing then and there...

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I believe I recommended, in the lesson, either cooling the pot or using the inverse of the sink-ice trick (putting a Zip-Loc bag full of ice right into the stock). I don't typically have enough ice on hand to fill my sink, but if you do then by all means that will work.

When I make stock in the summer (in the winter, since it's cold here, I use the back stoop method), I strain it into a wide, huge metal bowl I have. It doesn't fit on the sink, but the lips fit on the edge of the sink, which I fill with a bit of cold water and ice blocks (if I have them), or I'll go to the little store at the end of the block and buy a bag of ice. I think it cools faster in this wide bowl, and I stir the stock. It cools down much faster than in a stock pot in the sink with ice.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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cdh... That is a really interesting technique. I can see how it might work. I will have to try it.

So any of you remember a thread some time back where we admitted to really dumb things we have done in the kitchen? Before this thread closes, I just have to ask... Did anyone strain their stock down the drain?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I bought a 5 pound bag of ice and fit as much as I could into a gallon ziplock bag. That cooled down the stock very quickly, and in a few hours I could skim the hardened fat and begin reducing.

Jim

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since the thread is still open, i'm going to have another go posting my pictures.

the ingredients

fb6b56d9.jpg

the wine is for the chef not the stock

after all night bubbling with the lid mostly on

fb6b56d2.jpg

using the muslin

fb6b56cf.jpg

freeing up the ice trays

fb6b56ca.jpg

Edited by enthusiast (log)
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Fat Guy (in lesson):

(if you're having trouble washing the fat down the drain, remember to run the tap hot not cold)

About discarding the fat down the drain.....

I've been told not to pour fat down the drain because SOME DAY you may wind up with a plumbing bill. Even if you run hot water down, it will coat the pipe for a distance and at some point the pipe gets cold, chills the fat. Fat starts collecting stuff that goes by, over time.... :unsure: 'nuff said.

Living in an older buildings or apartment/condo buildings I think it might be a bigger problem... I usually just seal up the liquid fat I'm not keeping in a can or plastic container and throw in trash. Not to be elitist or snarky or anything, just wanted to bring up the point. :smile:

slkinsey:

In re to the defatting... I'd like to mention that there is no reason whatsoever not to take the skimmed fat, boil it with a little water to clean it up a bit, separate it from the dirty water using a defatting pitcher and store it in the freezer for future use. Those of us who have made it can tell you that nothing compares to matzo balls made with real chicken fat. The beef fat is probably less useful if tomato was used in the brown stock -- but duck stock, pork stock, turkey stock, etc. all yield very useful fats for cooking. It is also very nice to make the roux for starch-thickened sauces and gravies using the fat of the same animal with which the sauce will be served. Using turkey fat, deglazed turkey pan drippings and turkey stock gives a super-strong turkey flavor to your Thanksgiving gravy. .

I've never tried this, but the suggestions are so interesting I want to try it. (Costco just had their 4 for 2 whole chicken sale, so I've got plenty to work with!) :rolleyes:

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Forgot to mention, I am using a 3qt pot, wound up with 1 qt stock (minus spillage :blush: ) from 450 g chicken and turkey bones with some meat on, 260g chopped onion and 140 g chopped celery, 140 g. chopped carrot. Also a bay leaf, 2 peppercorns, 3 parsley stalks. I opted for the 12-hour, stovetop, uncovered, 180-190 degree simmer. In the morning, food was still 99% covered by stock in the pot.

Defatted in fridge (I had gone this far in my youth, with Helen Worth's Cooking without Recipes :blush: ). It is now in the fridge, beautifully congealed in a 4-cup measuring cup, waiting for me to reduce it tonight.

Carrot predominates, hint of celery and chicken in the background. Next time, more meat. More pepper? A bigger bay leaf! :laugh:

As one cooking mostly for one, I can testify, it is entirely possible and worthwhile to do this class on a small scale. :cool:

(MUCH easier to lift the pot! :raz: )

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Nope.

If you must put fat down the drain, emulsify it well with washing up liquid and water.

Flush with lots of hot water and caustic soda, and hope it ends up as someone else's problem...

Much better to trash it, or feed it to the birds in winter. You can make a high calorie bird cake by incorporating as much bird seed as it will take, and cast it into disposable containers, adding a loop or string or wire to hang it from.

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Thanks for the lesson, I'm no longer a stock virgin! it was good for me :cool:

One question: I had a skin that formed over the stock as I reduced it - dealt with it by straining again before storage. Should I have just stirred it back in? (wasn't really scum-ish, just a skin that dissolved easily back into the stock)

...was I there?

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I had a skin that formed over the stock as I reduced it - dealt with it by straining again before storage. Should I have just stirred it back in?

Most likely, it was the result of impurities remaining in the stock, and if you skimmed it off once or twice it would have stopped occurring.

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)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've just made my beef stock this weekend and have about 2 qts of stock reduced down from about 12 quarts.

I have some questions about storage.

Is this well jelled brown stock sufficiently reduced to store in the fridge instead of the freezer? Or must I reduce it further? And need I use the fat on top to protect it from air or is it enough to put a piece of plastic wrap on it? Also, how long will this keep in the fridge?

In the past I've frequently made chicken stock but instead of reducing it have simply stored it in the freezer in zip lock bags. Were I to use the reduction technique would it store without freezing as well as the beef?

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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It's really hard for me to know exactly what you've got without being there to touch it and evaluate it. You probably have something between a demi-glace and a glace on your hands.

James Peterson says you can store a 10x-reduced glace for a month or more in the fridge, and various other sources I've seen have said it can go much longer than that no problem. At the same time, most sources are recommending that regular unreduced stock be stored no longer than 4-5 days in the fridge. I have not noticed any differentiation between beef and poultry stocks in terms of what the literature says about storing them, and I'm not aware of any reason why there would be any. I think we can be sure of two things: 1) you can always store stuff for longer than the guidelines say without significant risk, and 2) it's always better to err on the side of caution anyway.

In terms of fat, are you actually seeing a layer of fat even after the first round of defatting and reduction? I typically will see none or only a very little -- certainly not enough to call it a real layer -- at that point. In any event, my preference would be to store it in a sealed container or Zip-Loc bag rather than using less-reliable plastic wrap (or fat).

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)

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Thanks FG. I think I'll store it in zip locks in 1-2 cup amounts, keeping one in the fridge and the others in the freezer. Could you elaborate a bit on when one might use a glace?

When I finish here, I'm going downstairs and make some egg drop soup. And in the spirit of give back, I'll share a kitchen hint. To infuse the garlic/ginger flavor, I'll use the stainless mesh 3" "tea bag" you can find in some Asian markets. It's easier than straining soup or making cheesecloth bags for stews and cleans up beautifully in the dishwasher.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Cool tip, thanks.

Some of the uses of demi-glace/glace can be found in the next unit of eGCI, on stock-based sauces. In addition, heavily concentrated stock is great for making quick pan deglazing sauces that have excellent body and texture. But mostly, I use the heavy reduction technique as a space-saver. I reduce all my stock, but if I had infinite storage space I'd only reduce a small amount of it, because as it stands 90% of my heavily reduced stock is ultimately mixed back with several parts water for use in soups and other simmered and braised dishes.

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)

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I also do a big reduction in order to save space in the freezer. One thing I find, however, is that this practice inevitably results in a fairly dark stock (due to maillard reactions, caramelization of sugars, etc.) even after it is diluted back to normal strength.

As chance would have it, I helped a friend with a huge backyard cook-out in Queens on Saturday. Among other things, he gave me 8 large chickens on Friday which I completely deboned and marinated in chimichurri to be grilled at the party. As a result, I now have a huge bag of raw chicken bones in my freezer waiting to be made into stock next weekend. :biggrin: Man... Big Apple Meats is such a cool place for this kind of thing. We got an obscene amount of meat for something like a hundred bucks.

--

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FG, sorry to take so long to respond. My attention has been diverted, among other things to making my chicken stock. I'm trying to lose some weight and think that having a ton of demi-glace on hand will help, my theory being that with more intense flavors I can reduce fat in an overall way (5 lbs down so far).

My reduced beef stock is a very dense jelly, about 2-3 qts from an original brew of 12-14 qts including the ingredients. It has NO fat on it as I was very careful about that. I've frozen up 2/3 of it in baggies and have the rest in the fridge in a ziplock. (Thanks for the advice.) I'm very happy with the result and have already used it in making sauteed mushrooms with a madiera sauce enriched to accompany small filet deglazed with some demi-glace, too.

My question came from reading somewhere that to store the reduced stock in the fridge, it might be desirable to place a layer of fat over the demi/glace much as one covers confit with a layer of fat.

I've also read somewhere about restaurants doing a second stock from the ingredients - it has some French name I've forgotten as well as where I read it. Wouldn't that result in an attenuated stock? Wouldn't it be better to simply simmer the stock for a longer time one time?

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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