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Sep 24, 2012 04:09 PM

Bone broth mystery

After an adverse reaction to a medication that caused moderate tendinitis, I was recommened to consume a bone broth. I recently switched slow cookers and never thought that one change would cause such a big difference in the end product. I'm hoping someone here could offer advice as to what I should tweak with the new slow cooker to get that delicious broth I was getting with the old slow cooker. Here's my story.........

For the last eight months, I have been making a broth that consisted of bones (including marrow), carrots, celery and some apple cider vinegar. I would cook it in this slow cooker for the first 2 hours on high and the remaining 22 hours on low.

There wouldn't be much to skim off the top at any point. And towards the end of cooking, the broth would be slightly bubbling. I would strain it through a cheese cloth and leave it in the fridge overnight. Next morning, I'd remove the fat and store in various containers in the freezer.

I've recently made a batch in a new slow cooker - All other variables remain the same, i.e. food, process, etc. and yet there were some differing aspects that have me perplexed. The broth formed a film on top that I had noticed around 15 hours in. I scraped it off and it formed again several hours later. It also never bubbled up. Once cooking was done, the appearnce of the broth was different. It appeared to contain A LOT more sediment. Even after straining and cooling, there was a layer of sediment at the bottom of the broth, which had not been the case previously. I scrubbed the bones, just as I always do, so I really think it's the new slow cooker. Should it cook longer? Less? Are there any other tweaks you would recommened?

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  1. Do you still have the old slow cooker? I'd try a batch in that first, to eliminate a variable. It's possible something about your raw ingredients has changed without your knowing it (different diet for the chickens? Different ph of your water?)

    1. You "scrubbed the bones"? I don't understand.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sandylc

        Cleaned the bones of any excess material, esp the bone marrow bones.

      2. I assuming you are making a beef broth (not a chicken broth) since you're talking about marrow bones .. . . . .

        But that said, the film on top could be the result of different rates of evaporation off the surface of the broth (essentially). There are a lot of proteins in broth and if the surface is getting cooler in the new crock pot, or if the crock pot isn't holding the steam in quite the same, I would think it is possible for some of these proteins to start forming a film on top. I get that film (or at least the film I think you are talking about) on my stocks when I have a large batch that I am reducing significantly.

        On the other hand, the new crock pot could be getting hotter faster causing the proteins to extract differently. This could also explain some of the sediment in your stock as a quick boil stock can often "hold" more sediments (i.e. be cloudy).

        Do you notice a difference during the first 2 hours when you have the cooker on high? Does it boil more quickly? Does it boil?

        1 Reply
        1. re: thimes

          Thanks thimes. You brought up some really interesting points!

          There's def a difference with the seal. In the old pot, the smell from the cooking permeated the house, but with the new pot, you could hardly tell I was cooking anything. I bet you're right with it getting hotter faster and that causing the excess sediment. I wasn't really paying attention during the first few hours of using the new pot, but I did notice towards the end of the 24 hours that it was not boiling like my old pot did. Nonetheless, I still think the "getting hotter faster" theory is worth looking into!!!

          For my next batch, instead of starting off on High for 2 hours, I'll try the following scenarios of 1 hour on High, and 23 hours on Low as well as just cooking on Low the entire time and see what that brings.

          Thanks for your insight!!! Very helpful!

        2. I think you should just read about classic French beef stock making. This is what you are doing here. If you are looking for more clear stock (this is usually for appearance only), look up "consomme". Interesting to see on the internet that people seeking health from gelatin and minerals have appeared to hijack classic beef stock and then renamed it "bone stock"......Also, don't "clean" the bones....?????

          3 Replies
          1. re: sandylc

            I never said it was a classic beef stock or that I used beef exclusively. I said it was a bone soup, which included bone marrow. I'm not looking for a more clear stock for appearances; this last batch had a lot of sediment in it, which did not appeal to me from a taste/consistency standpoint and which did not occur with the previous crock pot. Bone broth is not a new term, nor was I using it in the context of replacing classic beef stock. My parents spoke of my grandparents having a pot simmer on the stove for several days and just throwing in leftovers throughout the week. My butcher directed me to quickly clean the bones to remove any excess material, as per his training at the prestigious Fleisher's.

            1. re: kjbnyc

              i make bone broth and never clean the bones. just saying.

              to sandy: bone broth is a longer-cooked and more concentrated version of stock. it's consumed specifically to get vital minerals sorely lacking in the western diet. i've been having it several times a week since the beginning of the year and my health has improved dramatically.


              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Really informative link, hotoynoodle! Thanks for posting.