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May 13, 2012 10:25 AM

Straining broth through a coffee filter

How does one do this? I've tried several times, this morning most recently.

Broth not stock, chilled overnight in the fridge, top layer of fat completely removed, broth warmed just to turn jelly to liquid. Wet and squeezed coffee filter (natural, not bleached if that makes a difference), one ladle of broth. Let it sit for a good 5-6 minutes and got maybe 2 teaspoonfuls through. And this is just the clear stuff from the top of the pot, maybe a thyme leaf or two floating about, not even the sediment at the bottom to clog the filter.

Is one supposed to force it through with a spoon?

Thanks for your comments.

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  1. not a paper filter but the gold mesh kind. or better yet, a chinois. paper filter won't work well, as you discovered.

    also, strain before chilling, not afterwards.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Karl S

      Aha! I don't have a gold mesh. Never got to that stage when I quit drinking coffee 15 or so years ago. I have filters for when company is over. I strained out all the bones and vegetables before I chilled and had a pretty clear product so thought it would work.

      Thanks, Karl.

    2. As you've discovered paper coffee filters don't work well for straining stock. I recently read on another site (Andrea Nguyen's Asian Dumpling Tips) about using unbleached muslin instead of cheesecloth. Either cheesecloth or muslin would be preferable. the advantages of muslin are that it is cheaper than cheesecloth, easily washable, won't fray to the same degree that cheesecloth would, works as well because the weave is slightly open, and is reusable. Just pick up a yard or two at a fabric or cloth store, wash and dry it in the washing machine, then cut to desired size. Once used for straining stock, rinse it and toss it in the wash (let it dry first if wet and you won't be washing it right away so it doesn't mildew). And as Karl S. has pointed out, stock or broth should be strained before chilling.

      Edited to add link to source for tip on using muslin:

      7 Replies
      1. re: janniecooks

        Thanks, Jannie

        I have a reusable piece of unbleached muslin that I've never hemmed. I don't want to use it until I do that to avoid fraying when washed. And I've pretty much given up on cheesecloth -- it's so expensive for a one-time use, and you have to use the entire package to get a decent strain.

        As I mentioned to Karl, yes, I strained out the bones and veggies before chilling. I had a pretty clear broth but just wanted to get the last bits of sediment out of the bottom.

        1. re: nemo

          Even fine straining should be done before chilling. Not just bones and vegetables; you need to do it before the gelatin sets, while the liquid is still warm.

          1. re: Karl S

            I skimmed the fat layer and rewarmed just until it turned from jelly to liquid.

            1. re: nemo

              After skimming the fat layer, heat the stock until boiling or almost boiling before you filter it. I use a single layer of dampened and squeezed Bounty paper towel that sits inside a strainer which sits on a bowl. It takes several towels, used one at a time, to filter a whole batch of stock. I ladle the stock into the paper-lined strainer a scant cup at a time. When the liquid doesn't pass through easily, I change to a new dampened and squeezed paper towel. The resulting liquid is quite clear.

              1. re: nemo

                I don't like what happens to the impurities once they've gelatinized once. I find it much better to strain and then strain finely while hot, then chill and defat the next day.

            2. re: nemo

              Nemo, it really isn't necessary to hem the muslin. It will fray a little bit, but not enough to be a problem. Check out Nguyen's post, she has a photo of a well-used unhemmed piece of muslin she uses for straining. Good luck on your next attempt.

            3. A double layer of plain paper towels set inside a strainer works for me.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bitchincook

                Tried that, but even a single dampened paper towel did not work for me. But thanks for your reply.

              2. I put a Bounty brand white paper napkin in a colander and strain my stock while it is still hot.