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Jan 22, 2012 11:12 AM

Trouble shooting clarifying a stock

I have done this several times before but for some reason it is not working for me now. I am making a raft of egg whites, egg shells and diced celery. Is there something I am doing wrong? I pour the beaten egg white raft over the hot stock and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. It is even more cloudy after.

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  1. You need acid and protein as well. You should also start with a cold stock. Don't use eggshells either, theres no need. I think the biggest problem you are having is not starting with a cold stock.

    you need to stir egg whites, a cut up tomato (for acid) and some raw meat into your cold stock, then slowly bring it right below a light simmer. Once it hite temperature let it go for about 30 minutes then ladle it through a coffee filter.

    Alternatively if you have the time, freeze the stock, then let it defrost in a cheesecloth lined strainer in the fridge. Its called gelatin filtration and its a superior method, although it takes considerably more time.

    7 Replies
    1. re: twyst

      "Its called gelatin filtration and its a superior method,"

      +1 on this method,I've tried it with mushroom stock and it works perfectly, crystal clear stock with no other flavours imparted(thanks Heston Blumenthal)

      1. re: petek

        I am refreezing my stock to see if I can make it work again. I have frozen stock that I am putting in the fridge tonight. Sounds easier than the egg raft method. I swear that the egg shells were causing the cloudiness.

      2. re: twyst

        This is interesting. I have my stock frozen and it was actually clearer upon defrosting than after my process with the egg white raft. Thank you.

        1. re: PrairiePie

          "This is interesting. I have my stock frozen and it was actually clearer upon defrosting than after my process with the egg white raft. Thank you."
          Did you srain it through cheesecloth?

          1. re: petek

            Strained it, yes. Just put frozen stock in cheesecloth lined strainer and it is crystal clear. I will always do it this way now. So much easier and cheaper.

            1. re: PrairiePie

              So by freezing the stock, placing it in the cheesecloth, and then allowing the stock to defrost in the strainer...doesn't this create issues should you have to refreeze your stock?

              I never thought it was a good practice to freeze, defrost, then freeze again.

              1. re: Novelli

                You dont want to freeze thaw and then refreeze meat etc because it does so much damage on a cellular level. Doing it to liquids is fine.

      3. The only time we get a cloudy meat stock is when we cook it in a pressure cooker. I've done chicken, turkey and pork stocks this way. I don't use the pressure cooker any longer because of the cloudiness. Also, our pressure cooker is only 6 quarts and I like to do a larger quantity than that if I'm going to the effort to make stock, especially beef stock. It's nice to know how to clarify the cloudy stocks however. The key to a clear stock without going through any procedure is to not boil the stock but only bring it up to a light simmer for a long time.

        4 Replies
        1. re: John E.

          Even with the "light simmer method" you arent going to get crystal clear stock suitable for consomme IMHO. By crystal clear stock, I mean able to read the date on a dime at the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket of clarified stock.

          1. re: twyst

            I should have read the NYT's article before I commented.I didn't add any gelatin to the stock before freezing.. apologies..

            1. re: petek

              "I should have read the NYT's article before I commented.I didn't add any gelatin to the stock before freezing.. apologies.."

              If you are using animal stocks you dont need to add gelatin for this method, there is already gelatin in the stock ;)

            2. re: twyst

              We made beef stock this weekend that you could not read a date on a dime in a five gallon bucket, but not because of a lack of clarity but because my eyesight is not good enough and the stock is quite dark.

          2. I know Thomas Keller has a method where the meat/bones are added first and brought up to the simmer and the fat is removed from the surface just prior to dropping in the veg. (because skimming with veg floating around is difficult).

            He also has a method where the stock pot is only partially on the burner, which creates a convection, and pulls the impurities to one side of the pot. Making it easier to skim out.

            1. On a side note with all the talk of freezing, thawing, refreezing etc. I thought I would mention you can use a pressure canner to can your stock in quart jars (or whatever size you want) and they keep on the shelf forever... well, years anyways although they tend to last months or even weeks :)

              We started doing this when we started getting whole lambs and 12 chickens, 12 ducks etc at a time, breaking them down and freezing them. With the amount of stock from the 12 duck/chicken carcasses there just wasn't room in the freezer anymore, so one pressure canner later and we have tons of room in the freezer and 3 shelves in the pantry full of stock :)