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Sep 12, 2005 04:02 PM

Salt in stock: yes or no?

  • c

I regularly make stocks and broths and I have always made them without salt. I always belived I could just add it later in whatever amout was appropriate for where it was being used. Especially since I occasionally boil a stock down to double strength to give a dish a jolt of flavour, no salt seemed to be the right way to go. Lately, however, I've read a couple of recipes for stocks that claim that salt is necessary for full extraction of the flavours. What do you think? If you think salt is essential, what is the least amount you can use for the salt to do its job?

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    1. I add for a large stock pot (12 quart) about 2-3 teaspoons of kosher salt (just a teaspoon of crystal salt) when it comes to the first boil. I think it helps the extraction and makes for better judging of the stock while it is brewing since the salt enhances the flavor of the broth and all the flavor components.
      You ultimately finish with a mildly seasoned broth that will not suffer when concentrated. I also think you will add less salt at the end say, when you make a soup or sauce, because the salt will be thoroughly integrated into all the stock flavors.
      I've been doing this for about 5 years now, after 10 years of not adding any salt (in both a personal and professional capacity) and my mother telling me that I should (she makes the best beef and chicken stocks).

      1. I salt(lightly) chix stock only. All others no salt. This is for chix stock to be used as is, not taken down to glace. Almost all other stocks i make/use are brought down.

        Try both ways and use what you like. Many will claim salt in any stock is heresy-whatever. Works for me.

        1. If this is a genuine stock that may eventually be used to make sauces or be reduced in any way (which is what stock is presumed to be for in the mind of professional chefs and many cookbook writers), then no.

          Otherwise, salt lightly. Celery, often used to make stocks, has a considerable amount of sodium (if not sodium chloride or other salts as such) anyway.

          1. Nah, no salt.

            If you're simmering a chicken (or any) stock for 4+ hours, you'll be extracting every last molecule of flavor from those veggies anyway.

            Save the seasoning for when it counts- when you're actually making a finished dish.