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Cooling stocks quickly

When I was in hotel school, the kitchens had these big (anywhere from 12 - 30" long) hard plastic molds that got filled with water, frozen, then plunged into hot stocks and soups to rapidly cool them down without diluting with melted ice. Has anyone else seen these and if so, what are they called, who makes them, and most importantly, where might I buy one?

Thank you for any help!

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  1. I've never seen those, but do you think you could use freezer packs? The ones made of gel that you stick in the freezer? I'd probably seal them in a Ziploc to make sure it didn't leak.

    Along those lines, you could also double bag ice cubes and plunge those in.

    I usually stick my pot in the sink and surround it with ice. Very quickly, it becomes ice water, which is a better conductor than just ice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: leanneabe

      I use the second idea here which has two benefits: one, the cooling; two, if there's fat in the stock, it adheres to the bag when you pull it out.

      The third idea is excellent as well.

    2. I've seen the hint of using liter soda bottles. Fill with water, freeze, and you have your molds.

      1. Use an ice water bath. It's going to be as or more effective than anything you throw into that stock. It has the exact same effect. Just in your case the cold is coming from an object suspended in the liquid rather than from the outside of the bowl.

        Frankly, I think the ice water bath would likely be more effective, since you get a really big surface area of the stock/bowl touching the very cold object.

        When I do stock - and it's usually ends up being about 1.5 gallons after straining. I immediately put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with lots of ice and just enough water to give it movement. With periodic stirring, it's plenty cold for the fridge within about 15-20 minutes.

        Plus, the major benefit is you don't put anything in your stock, which has the potential to break or transfer some plastic-y scent depending on what you end up using.

        1. they're usually called "san jamars" after the manufacturer, san jamar, the same way we call cambros. . . cambros. you can order them or buy them from a restaurant supply.
          here ya go


          incidentally while the bag/bottle ideas are good in a pinch, the grade of plastic is not made for hot-food contact, & you could end up with nasty, invisible chem leaching if the soup is too hot-- that's why restaurants can't use these items to cool food.

          1. Alton Brown suggested freezing bottles of water and using those. I'm not sure about plastics in hot broth (melting, possibly) but if it were a little cooler maybe.

            1. I am reminded of my grandmother using a stainless steel "vase" that was filled with ice to cool stock in her kitchen long ago. My mother walks in the kitchen and agast looks at grandma: "MOM, why is there a urinal in your soup!?!"...


              1. For what it's worth, if I have no freezer packs, I just put the stockpot into a stoppered sink and fill the sink with enough cold tap water to just NOT float the pot - every couple of minutes move the pot a little to keep cool water next to it - drain and refill if needed - does a decent cool-down in a reasonable time (certainly faster than doing nothing).

                1 Reply
                1. re: wayne keyser

                  I do something very similar to this--put the whole pot in the sink with the stopper in, fill the sink with cold water and ice, then stir the contents of the pot with a wooden spoon. As the water warms outside the pot, I add more cold water from the tap and let the excess spill over to the other compartment of the sink (this obviously won't work if you have a 1 compartment sink). My whole pot of stock (about 12 quarts) can be cooled to room temp by this method in about 15 minutes.

                2. In culinary school, we were taught that one of the techniques to cool a stock/soup quickly
                  was to "break the mass." Transfer the stock into several smaller containers. A small mass,
                  obviously, is easier to cool down than a large one.

                  At the least, pour the stock into a different container than the hot one it was cooked in.
                  The ice bath works well, even faster with smaller containers.

                  Or are you looking for the san jamars for another, more creative reason?