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Do you improvise your own "cooling paddles"?

I've seen cooling paddles in the restaurant supply store. It seems like a really good idea for quickly cooling hot stock, but most of the ones I've seen are too large for my pots. So I'm wondering if anyone has improvised their own cooling paddles. I suppose small water bottles could be filled with water, frozen and plopped into the hot stock. Or a wide-mouth bottle could hold ice cubes, eliminating the need to freeze water.

I'm looking for inspiration -- any ideas? Thanks!

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  1. Hi, Cindy:

    I've used frozen gallon plastic jugs in my wine fermentation bins, so yes, you can do that on a more micro scale. The problems with this method are mess and displacement of the liquid.

    Is there some reason a regular or brined icebath won't cool fast enough?

    Here's another idea, if an icebath isn't in the cards: http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Super-Eff... A copper one would be better, but I can't suffer another thread about toxicity, etc.


    2 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Hi Kaleo!

      I don't have a convenient place to set up an icebath. I've tried it in my kitchen sink, but it's not efficient because of the height of the stock pot.

      That wort chiller is impressive, but overkill for my purposes. Maybe frozen half-gallon milk containers is the best solution.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Hi, Cindy:

        I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much faster your stock cools in your new copper. Most of the time I just set it out on the back porch.


    2. I usually will transfer my hot liquid to a shallow metal bowl, and will sometimes just put ice in a baggie and put in the hot liquid.

      2 Replies
      1. re: wyogal

        I don't think the shallow bowl idea would work for me if I have 10-12 quarts of stock. That said, I like the idea of ice in ziploc bags!

        1. re: CindyJ

          Can you pick up a rectangular hotel pan? Those work great for larger amounts. But I hear ya, that can be downright dangerous to pour from the hot pot to cool.
          I have also used those blue frozen things, in a sealed bag.

      2. I have seen dollar stores sell a variant of cooling paddles for jugs of iced tea (so they are much smaller and narrower than the ones you find in the restaurant supply store. The one I saw was about 2 inches by 12 inches by 1 inch).

        You still will have to freeze them prior to use.

        I live in Canada and in the winter, I just plop my pot into the snowbank on my deck for rapid cooling.

        1. The easiest improvisation for me is to freeze plastic water bottles but I am wary of putting plastic into my hot stock. So I put ice water in a stainless steel mixing bowl and drop that into my stock. The bowl stays afloat and the metal conducts the heat quickly. I just replace the ice water as needed. Sometimes globules of fat stick to the outside of the bowl and help with the fat skimming.

          3 Replies
            1. re: seamunky

              I keep a few Rubbermaid servin-saver containers of different sizes, filled with water, in the freezer for quick-cooling of soups and stews. Since they are suitable for microwave reheating, and made of food-safe plastic, they are good for this purpose. When finished, I just wash the exterior and return them to the freezer.

              1. re: greygarious

                A naive question -- are ziploc freezer bags made of food-safe plastic?

            2. Not all metals respond well to going from the stove to an ice bath so rapid cool paddles really are nice to have. You can buy 1/2 gallon rapi-cool which is quite nice and they hold up well to freezing/thawing. A lot easier than milk jugs for sure.
              Cooling is critical if you are making cream soups or any thing with much of a starch content as it can hold heat in the center of the pot for a very long time. If you are still looking for an alternative Nalgene plastic canteens are nice and there's no cleaning the wrappers or glue off like water bottles.


              1 Reply
              1. re: TraderJoe

                Aren't we supposed to stop using Nalgene because it contains BPH or some other dangerous chemical?

              2. I make homemade soups quite often. I always put the hot soup pot in the kitchen sink, and run very cold water around the outside of the pot. I stir the soup every so often to help disperse the heat. At first, I was quite surprised at how hot the water in the sink became as the soup cooled. I lift the pot out of the water 2 or 3 times during the cooling process, and I empty and refill the sink with fresh cold water. When the pot and contents are as cold as possible, I put the entire pot and contents in the bottom of the fridge. First I put down a large cutting board that rests on the plastic "shelf frame" at the front and back of the bottom shelf of the fridge. I THINK/HOPE that the cutting board transfers some of the weight of the full pot on to the frame and therefor avoids having that great weight directly on the glass shelf. This is the only way that I have ever known and used to make my soups, and I've never had a problem in 35+ years.
                I LOVE my homemade chicken or turkey and rice soup. When I don't have any in the freezer, I start to get nervous! It makes such a quick, easy and delicious supper when I don't feel like cooking. Thank heaven for soup!!
                P.S. My biggest soup pot is 16 quarts and it fits fine in my sink and fridge!

                8 Replies
                1. re: kakryn

                  Silly question, but I started wondering about this as folks talked about the 'quick cool-down' method for pressure cookers -- doesn't putting a filled scalding hot pot in the sink under cold water eventually put too much stress on the metal, with the instant/extreme temperature change? Or is this just something we should worry about with glass and similar materials?

                  1. re: iyc_nyc

                    Pressure cookers have thick walls. Early models had no slow-release buttons. They were intended to be cooled under running water. Mom did this to the same aluminum pressure cooker for 40 yrs without damaging it.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      This is helpful - thank! Stock pots tend to have thin walls, so I wonder if any of them are more vulnerable to damage from the rapid temp change.

                    2. re: iyc_nyc

                      Could you be more specific about what you mean by "put too much stress on the pot"? What do you think would happen to it?

                      1. re: kakryn

                        I thought sudden/drastic temperature changes were bad for materials in general - glass of course, but I thought for other materials as well.. Of course, this could just be my imagination!

                        1. re: iyc_nyc

                          Hi, iyc_nyc:

                          You are correct, but in this case a change from 200F to 40F (moderated as it is by the volume of hot stock) isn't "drastic" for metals used in cookware. Modern cheapo (non-borosilicate) glass, I'm not so sure.


                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Super helpful, as always -- thanks! Makes total sense.

                      2. re: iyc_nyc

                        While boiling (100C) to freezing (0 C) may seem extreme, in terms of stainless steel those temps are quite pedestrian. To anneal stainless steel, you must heat it to at least 1000 C! Also, for concerns about the quenching, stainless won't warp or spall for a 100-0 C temp change