Reducing stock and then 'rehydrating'?
There's a current thread about using ice trays for storing small amounts of liquid. As as jumpoff from that someone posted that s/he reduces stocks to a syrup and then freezes as it takes up less space. I see the point of that but am wondering will it effect the flavor and the "stockiness" when it's rehydrated. Somehow it doesn't seem just right to me. And opinions?
Its fine when diluted to the strength you need and it saves a ton of freezer space to reduce it. I've never taken it to a "syrup" but it do make it quite concentrated.
No change at all. Think about it: glace de viande, bases like Better than Bouillon, and bouillon cubes are all variations on stock reduction.
I think it does affect the flavor. It makes the stock taste that much more "cooked" and the flavor will stay with it when you reconstitute. It won't affect the gelatin content/setting power, though.
What I've found does work fine is using reduced stock - from syrupy to rubbery - as an amendment in sauce and soupmaking for body as well as flavor, and it works well/tastes in that use. I just don't think it tastes good if you reconstitute it back to "normal" strength.
I do it all the time. You have to be careful not to burn the edges of the stock as it reduces (I'm thinking about the sides of the pot as it boils down, particularly on a gas burner).
I usually reduce it to about 25% - so 1 cup of reduced stock + 3 cups water makes 4 cups of regular stock.
I don't think I'd do it for something really delicate like a consume, as I find it makes a slightly more robust tasting stock, but for normal use it's perfectly fine.
One thing I do instead of the icecube trays is to freeze the reduced stock flat in a ziplock bag. When I need some, I can just break off a piece of the size I need. The same thing works for tomato paste and pesto.