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Old 03-25-2010, 07:17 PM   #1
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"Base," what does it mean?

What does it mean when a chef/cook says ITEM is the base?


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Old 03-25-2010, 08:26 PM   #2
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If you were to make a vegetable beef soup and used beef stock as the primary flavor and liquid, the beef stock would be considered the "base" of the soup.

In chicken curry, the curry is the primary flavor, thus it's the base.

In using a roux as the thickening/flavor agent in making gravy, the roux is considered to be the base.

The predominant flavor upon which all of the other flavors are layered, is considered to be the "base".

I hope I made this clear enough, and apologize if I didn't.

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Old 03-26-2010, 09:23 PM   #3
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Base can have another meaning as well, though you don't see it as much. Still, it's good to know. You have to look at the context of the sentence in which it's used. Base can refer to the PH of an ingredient. In this form, base means alkali. Baking soda is a base, while cream of tartar is an acid.

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Old 03-26-2010, 11:13 PM   #4
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Base can also be the concentrated salted soup or stock starter that some kitchens use. It is not generally good eats.
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Old 03-27-2010, 08:07 AM   #5
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Base is a highly reduced meat or vegetable stock that is either a concentrated paste or dehydrated into a powder. Either way, it's very concentrated and the commercial bases almost always have a ton of MSG, salt, additives, preservatives and sometimes artificial colors and flavors. There is a base called "Better than Bouillon" that has some nasty additives like disodium guanylate that combined with the others mask MSG in their ingredient list. Nasty stuff. I'd avoid base if you can.

Usually a recipe will call for something like "2 t. chicken base and 2 c. water". Anywhere you see such a thing, IMO, you are better off making your own stock with wholesome ingredients and using that in its place. The above example would just be 2 c. chicken stock. Good luck!
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Old 03-27-2010, 08:14 AM   #6
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Based on the context that the OP used it in I would have to agree with Selkie's definition. When I just read the title of the thread my first thought was Robo and velochic described, but once I saw the chef said "the base" i concluded that he did not mean the concentrated stock.
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Robo410 View Post
Base can also be the concentrated salted soup or stock starter that some kitchens use. It is not generally good eats.

well, many really great restaurants use bases even after a stock is made for enhancment. they're generally gonna season thier stock using a salt; base is usually plain salt/fat. fat is flavor. so is sodium.

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