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Jan 23, 2014 04:37 PM

Master Stock

Hey 'Hounders.

I have read elsewhere that some famous chefs have a "master stock" that has more than 100 years behind it.
I wonder how this could be possible without the stock going off?

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    1. I don't know about 100 years but it's common enough to keep a stock simmering on a rear burner. As long as it stays above 140F, it won't spoil. And it would be simple enough to freeze some of that stock, then reheat and start adding to it again weeks or months later.

      Some sourdough mothers claim to be very old. But it's also pretty simple to create a starter and after some time has passed, who knows if people can tell whether it's a year old, or decades?

      1. <has more than 100 years behind it.>

        This is stupid -- even if it is partially true. Yes, master stock can be reused over and over, but let's not take things into extreme. People talk about this kind of 30 years old, but it is rather the exception than the norm. Excessive aging is something to be avoided, not praised.

        The reason you can have master stock that can last much longer than typical stock is due to the two factors. (1) Repeat boiling and sometime refrigeration, (2) Constant using and replenishing.

          1. re: cronker

            I assume you were taken by my comments? I wasn't directing at you. I was talking about people who brag about 100+ years old master stock. People who try to do this and brag about this is just wrong. Sorry if you think I was yelling at you.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              It's cool. Internet arguing is like special Olympics.
              It's just that I see chefs bragging about old stock, and I wonder how the keep it fresh.

              1. re: cronker

                <<Internet arguing is like special Olympics>


                <chefs bragging about old stock>

                There is certainly a belief that the stock get better and better, deeper and deeper as it is used. If we are talking about the same type of master stock, then the master stock is used for braising/stewing meat.

                <I wonder how the keep it fresh.>

                Well, "fresh" won't be how they want it. It is intentionally "aged". Did we answer your question?

          2. Mathematically, it's illogical.

            Say you use 10% of your stock each day, and replenish it.

            The first day, you have a stock that's 90% original stock. The second day you have 0.9*90 % original stock. The third day you have 0.9*0.9*0.9% of the original stock. After n days, the amount of the original stock left is 0.9^n.

            If we assume the molar mass of water, and 10L of stock in a batch, you would be down to 1 molecule of the original stock after 580 days, or less than two years.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

              Well said, this is exactly what I wanted to get at by saying "constantly using and replenishing"