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Rubbery texture of homemade frozen chicken stock

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  • Naina Mar 27, 2013 04:32 PM

I baked chicken breasts in the oven last week and froze the juices that were released in a small open plastic container. Yesterday I checked and the frozen chicken stock is not hard like other frozen stuff, but it is of a weird rubbery texture. It also has small rubbery circles on top that kinda come off... that's the fat I guess.
Is this normal? Or should it be hard like ice?

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  1. Mine always freezes hard (but always covered). Did you add any alcohol to the chicken bake? Was the container in a warmer spot in the freezer (door, edge)?

    1. Are you sure you're not confusing rubbery with beautifully gelatinous and delicious?

      1. How cold is your freezer?

        1. My question is why would you freeze the supposed juice from baked chicken in an open container?Then you go on and call it frozen stock when you checked it yesterday.It sounds to me you just froze some fat that came off the chicken while you baked it.

          1. okay -- how much liquid are we talking about? Baked chicken breasts shouldn't give off enough liquid to bother with.

            If you'd covered it, I'd say that yes, it's got lots of collagen in it, which gets rubbery (like jello) when it cools.

            But since it's been sitting exposed to the air in what I'm going to assume is a frost-free freezer for the better part of a week, it might just be rubbery because it's semi-dehydrated and freezer burned.

            I'd just chuck it and remind yourself to cover it the next time around.

            And yes, the little waxy circles are fat.

            1. Can you let us know how you prepared the baked chicken? That will get us a better idea of what kind of liquid we're talking about.

              I agree with sunshine842, baked chicken breasts shouldn't give off much liquid, and what they do give off typically isn't worth saving. And especially if we're talking about boneless skinless breasts (were they?) it's probably more like water. This can hardly be called chicken stock.

              1. The stock was a by-product of baking boneless skinless chicken breasts covered with aluminium foil.
                I left the stock uncovered in the freezer because I read on chowhound that people freeze chicken stock in ice trays.

                No, I did not add nay alcohol to the chicken when I baked it. I placed the container with the stock right next to my ice trays in the freezer, and the ice is well formed so the chicken stock ought to be too... but it's not.

                16 Replies
                1. re: Naina

                  I mean, feel free to try and use your drippings for a gravy or sauce, and by all means share your results. But honestly nothing that dripped off a boneless, skinless chicken breasts is going to have much fat or flavor.

                  Again, what you have here is not stock. It's just kind of flabby "chicken water." Yuck. You will find lots of threads here with great methods for making chicken stock. You need bones, meat, veg, spices, water, heat and many hours to get true chicken stock that's worth saving.

                  1. re: EggyEggoo

                    Thanks for the tip. I was planning to use it in a quick stir fry or fried rice. My original question is still unanswered though - when you freeze your chicken stock does it become hard like ice?

                    1. re: Naina

                      Yes, because actual stock, in the end, is mostly water. When it freezes it becomes rock-solid, but is usually gelatinous when thawed because of the bones used to make it.

                      What you have is not stock, but rather is a liquid protein/fat juice that is being let out of the chicken as it cooks (like blood from red meat.)

                    2. re: EggyEggoo

                      Looks like you yourself were wondering if the drippings from roasting a whole chicken can be used towards stock http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/890012

                      I'm obviously not an advanced chef or anything. In any case "yuck"ing others and especially novices is rude and unnecessary.

                      1. re: Naina

                        Oh my goodness no, my sincerest apologies, I truly didn't mean to be rude or offensive. I just meant, as others pointed out, that what gets rendered from chicken breast typically is just water and isn't usually all that flavorful. I didn't mean to "yuck" your cooking at all, I feel terrible! I'll word my comments more carefully next time.

                        1. re: EggyEggoo

                          ok... np

                    3. re: Naina

                      no, the stock has lots of other things in there *other* than just water.

                      It will never, ever be rock-hard like ice, because of the other components. (ETA after Eggy's comment -- it will get hard -- but not rock-hard like ice-- it will melt *extremely* quickly into slush)

                      When you freeze stock (stock, made by simmering chicken parts and vegetables in water) you freeze it, and as soon as it's frozen, you put the cubes into a plastic bag.

                      Leaving them exposed to the cold dry air for a week is not conducive to good stock.

                      How much liquid did you actually end up with?

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I'd say 1/4th cup

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Hmmm... my stock always freezes pretty rock-solid (I usually do a few increments of sizes from large tupperwares, to ice cubes that I dump into a big freezer bag once they're solid, and they are indeed just like ice. Maybe it's because I skim most of the fat once it's cooled?

                          Anyway, I think we can all agree that chicken breast drippings and real chicken stock are two completely different things, so they shouldn't be expected to behave the same way. (corrected: originally this said "should" when I meant to say "shouldn't")

                          1. re: EggyEggoo

                            I tend to use a lot of bones/carcasses, so mine has a lot of collagen...so it doesn't get rock-hard. And that's okay -- there's really no pressing need for it to be anything other than in a very cold state for preservation.

                            But for 1/4 cup of just juice and fat, I don't think I'd go to the trouble.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              This is my experience as well. The stock, if sufficiently gelatinous, doesn't get quite as hard as water does. To be sure, the difference is small. It's hardly noticeable in a jar; in an ice cube it's noticeable but not enough to describe the cube as rubbery. It's just a softer freeze. I consider that a sign I got enough gelatin in there.

                              1. re: nokitchen

                                Better-stated than mine. Thanks.

                        2. re: Naina

                          I have to agree with Eggy - it's not stock or broth. It's just the excess water that is usually injected into chicken that has cooked/leaked out. I don't think it's worth keeping either. True chicken stock and/or broth *will* freeze up. Like ice.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I'd save it, as I do the juice from the canned chicken I keep on hand for chef's salads when I don't have freshly-cooked chicken. There are two marked plastic containers in the freezer, one for miscellaneous chicken and one for miscellaneoous seafood (shrimp shells, juice from canned tuna, etc.). When it's time to make stock, the contents get added to the pot.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              that's why my stocks are jelled so solidly -- wing tips, pope's noses, picked-over carcasses from roast chicken -- stuff with lots of flavor and lots of collagen that wouldn't otherwise be edible.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                That excess water is partly saline solution. I'd rather season with my own salt. Maybe it's not a lot, but I'd still rather season it myself.

                          2. A lot of people have mentioned they don't keep the pan drippings, etc. I wouldn't necessarily do this after roasting boneless chicken breasts, but I do scoop up the slightly fatty, gelatinous drippings form a roast and add it to things from time to time, such as stirring it through pasta.