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Why is a clear stock (vs cloudy) desirable?

Stupid question... why is clear stock so desirable?

What's the big deal if it's cloudy?

Why does it matter?

Yes, I did Google around for this. Although I found a lot of talk about techniques to keep stock clear, and purification/filtering methods, I could find no information about _why_ this is important.

This seems to be one of those things that people in the know just know. Maybe that's just the way that things are, and the way we've always done things.

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  1. it's strictly aesthetics. we eat first with the eyes.

      1. Agreed that it's mostly aesthetics. To me, it also indicates that more time, and more care went into it's preparation.

        2 Replies
        1. re: The Professor

          that's aesthetics affecting perception.

        2. Agree with other Hounds, but the look only matters for a very few dishes. Consomme, and maybe very light sauces for fish are really the only ones I can think of, but how many here have made consomme from scratch recently? Or ever?

          Cloudy stock can make cream sauces look a little muddy perhaps, but for darker hearty dishes I don't think it matters.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robin Joy

            I actually have made consomme from scratch recently. And I do clarify stocks on a routine basis.

            But I'm in agreement - the clarification is all about aesthetics.

          2. The one aesthetics exception is if the stock is cloudy because of emulsified fat. That can make it unpleasantly greasy.

            8 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              It will also go bad sooner. Clear stock can be re-boiled periodically to re-sterilize it (up to a point), but rancid is rancid and there's no remedy for that.

              1. re: Will Owen

                excellent point, burt this goes back to why are you putting something like chicken fat in your stock? it's a flavor carrier, not a provider.

                one must also take care not to boil any animal stock too vigorously cuz that will agitate things unnecessarily.

                i make stock and broth often. i haven't clarified since culinary school and that was only for the grade.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  One would probably not deliberately add extra fat but boiling will mechanically emulsify whatever fat is on the chicken you are using to make the stock. It's hard to degrease after that. And it's cloudy because if it.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    I used a slow cooker to make chicken stock recently and you're right, the just off boiling temp for 12 hours produced a pretty clear liquid. However, it had a rather dank, musty smell and a disappointingly neutral taste, so I'll not be doing that again anytime soon. Maybe 12 hours was too long.

                    1. re: Robin Joy

                      when i make bone broth (consumed for health, not aesthetics), i most often cook the chicken bits on the stove, at a simmer, about 12 hours.

                      what else did you put in there that might have made it smell "dank"? old vegetables?

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        IIRC the carcass of a roasted chicken, a halved onion, a rougly chopped carrot, ditto celery stalk and leek, a few peppercorns, a bay leaf, and water. The exact same combo produced a three hour stove top stock last Sunday morning which was a way superior product, albeit somewhat cloudy!

                        1. re: Robin Joy

                          I make broth, from smoked pork rib tips, in a crockpot (& also from chicken carcasses), I refrigerate them in plastic soup containers, scrape off the excess fat, & freeze-I use most of them to supplement my dogs' food, but I also use them as soup bases. Mine are almost always clear, not cloudy...