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Troubleshooting Pressure Cooker Stock

Having read posts on this site about the success of using a pressure cooker for making stock, I thought this may be a great way to clear out my freezer of the chicken bones I had been saving. I did not get the crystal clear stock which supposedly is derived simply from using a pressure cooker and I am wondering what I did wrong.

I put 3 lbs of backs, necks, and chicken tenders in my 7 litre (approx 7 quart) presssure with leeks, onion, carrot, celery and a tiny head of broccoli. I filled the pot 3/4 with cold water and brought the cooker up to pressure and kept it there for 45 minutes. I then took the pressure cooker of the heat and allowed it to depressurize on its own before opening up the cooker.

The result was a rich broth but not the clear stock everyone raved about. I strained the liquid twice. Once with a fine sieve and the second time through two layer of cheeseclothe. If I was making this the traditional way, there would be skimming of liquid and the vegetables would not be added until a later stage.

Any tips?

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  1. What level of clarity are you expecting? Pressure cooker stocks are more clear than traditionally cooked stocks, but they arent the level of clarity of a consomme. For that you are either going to have to go the old school rout and make a raft, or do the freezer/cheesecloth method. Was your stock extremely cloudy or just not the level of clarity you were expecting?.

    1. I agree with Twyst - a pressure cooker stock isn't any clearer than a well made traditional stock. You can still make it into a consomne if you want, and that would involve either the traditional egg raft method or ice filtration.

      That said, there are a few things you can do for clearer stock in a pressure cooker. Right off the bat, refrigerate the stock overnight to let the fat settle on top, and then skim that layer. The remaining stock will probably be a bit clearer. Since you don't skim while cooking, more fat is incorporated into the PC stock than would be in a tradional stock. The upside is that if you made it right, it hasn't fully emulsified and will settle on top of the stock if you refrigerate it overnight.

      A couple more passes through cheesecloth or even a slow pass through a coffee filter might help.

      Next time you make stock if you're concerned about clarity, consider bringing the chicken to a boil briefly and then throwing out that water before starting with cold water again - that should help a bit with clarity as well, maybe give a cleaner taste.

      Next time, also make sure that extra fat and skin are trimmed away before cooking.

      1. The replies already here are probably best--I don't think the PC method is about getting the stock "crystal clear." The main advantage of the PC is speed.

        But one further possibility is that there was some organ meat attached to the backs, like shreds of kidney or even bits of liver or gizzard from the giblets bagging. That can color a stock and even add some off flavors sometimes. But you are probably already aware of that.

        1. Thanks for the tips. The stock was quite cloudy. I guess given false expectations of my pressure all technique went out the door.

          I started with frozen bits so going forward I am going to trim the items before they go in my stock scraps bagss so I don't need to thaw and trim the scraps.I will also start with the first boil and dump method next time I try making it again.

          Since I used mostly necks and backs with some chicken tenders could my bone ratio be too high?

          1. You held it at pressure way too long and that is why it came out cloudy. Bring the pot to pressure and reduce heat so that the weight is rocking very slowly. After 15min. turn off heat and allow pressure to reduce on its own. Just strain and you are done. Clear and strong stock.

            4 Replies
            1. re: chefj

              I've never gotten cloudy stock and hold mine at pressure for an hour plus a natural cool down. I also do no skimming. I do stain through paper towels but mostly it catches the big stuff and holds back a lot of the fat. But the stock is not what I would call cloudy prior to straining. Just has bones, fat and large particles floating

              PIc of stock being reduced after straining

              1. re: scubadoo97

                I imagine with the addition of the chick meat and the blood and protein there in, you end up with it dissolved into the broth.
                I also end with a clear stock though much darker than yours and needs only a regular mesh strainer.
                The biggest difference I see with my method and the O.P.'s if the meat and the cooking time (oh and Broccoli?). Do have another though on why his/hers came out cloudy? May be they cook at too high heat after pressure is reached?

                1. re: chefj

                  This batch was turkey and had nothing but bones and trimmings. No veggies which would color the stock some

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    Yep, I put quite a bit of carrot in mine so the color is especially golden. But I use it all for soup rather than a base stock.

            2. Just chiming in here to point out that probably the extra chicken tenders are what's making your broth cloudy. I've been making my own in the pressure cooker with the leftover bones from roasted chicken, and I only add the gizzards as extra meat - in other words, not much. Mine comes out beautifully clear and golden from the carrots and gels up beautifully in the fridge. You can always add the chicken tenders later. Hope your broth was delicious, even if it was a little cloudy!

              1 Reply
              1. re: makinitgreen

                Like you I use mostly bones. Some raw and some roasted. I use abit of trimmings and ginlets minus the liver from chicken prep Not a lot of veggies. Some times I use a basic mirepoix and some times just bones and trimmings.

              2. This is an old thread but what kind of pressure cooker do you have? I have a Kuhn Rikon and the stocks I get are always cloudy. I can sometimes hear the stock boiling inside which makes me think that it's venting too much, so the release of pressure is allowing the stock to boil

                9 Replies
                1. re: takadi

                  I have Kuhn Rikon, too. If you want a clearer stock, then you need to consider what you're cooking. For beef, especially, it makes sense to bring it to boil without cover and then skim the "scum" from the top (harmless protein precipitates) or maybe even to drain the whole and then start over (standard procedure for pho stock). Unless you get some proteins and fats out of the mix early on, you can end up with some emulsified stock, which is cloudy but tasty. The latter is in fact required for Bouillabaisse with fish stock.

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    Yea the parboiling procedure is usually what I do, coincidentally I was making Pho too. I just had the idea that you could skip that step with a pressure cooker. I remember seeing a picture of a pressure cooked stock somewhere and all the "scum" and bits that would usually float to the top was found stuck at the bottom of the pot while the stock was crystal clear. That picture is what prompted me to buy a pressure cooker. I wish I could find it

                    1. re: takadi

                      I don't parboil and all the scum is stuck to the bottom and a bit on the sides. It's a bear to scrub off but worth the ease of dump and cook

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        What pressure cooker brand do you use for making stock? Are you still having problems getting a clear stock with it?

                        1. re: takadi

                          I don't have a problem getting relatively clear stock. The only time it gets cloudy is when I boil the heck out of it to reduce it

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            Err my bad I thought you were the original poster. Do you have a spring loaded pressure cooker or a weighted regulator one?

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                Do you cook your stocks on low pressure or high pressure?

                                1. re: takadi

                                  On high since my Fagor only has one setting

                2. The photo I posted was from PC stock that was filtered through a sieve lined with paper towels. Yeah I know that will put some people off but the stock was clear and tasty and I'm not worried about the rest

                  I've had stock that was less than clear after boiling down to reduce it. In the end I don't really care about how clear it is. I don't make and serve consume. I make soups and stews and use stock as a building block for other dishes. Clarity is not a concern. I'm about flavor and turning out deep flavored stock in an hour trumps clarity for me

                  You may want to filter through a finer filter or make a raft to collect any particulate matter

                  1. Yes to refrigerator after the stock is placed in a container.

                    However, my broth or stock is better when I use the least amount of heat I can to keep the pressure up enough to be cookin'. I strive for light colored stock, and that's the way I get it. I bring the liquid up to pressure, then back it down gradually until the pressure just sort of puts puts steadily.

                    1. If you're looking for truly clear stock, you need to fine it with egg whites. And unless you're making consommé, it's not necessary.