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Old 12-24-2015, 10:31 AM   #1
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Skim the Foam

I'm making ham stock today. It's time to clear out the freezer of all those bit's and pieces a cheap/frugal person like me has saved.

But most stock/broth recipe's advise to skim the foam developed while bringing the pot up to temp.

If I'm feeling energetic then I do. When I'm feeling lazy I don't worry about it.

I haven't noticed a taste difference between the times I do or don't so I began to wonder.

Why???

Anyone of you great folks know the science behind skimming?

Is it for the appearance or texture of the stock?

And while I'm here....

Merry Christmas to each and everyone.

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Old 12-24-2015, 01:32 PM   #2
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Yes, it's for appearance and texture. Skimming the foam removes impurities and some fat from the stock, which makes it less cloudy at the end. I usually skim it a few times during the first 10 minutes or so because I don't like the look of it. It doesn't affect the flavor, though.

Merry Christmas to you, too!
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Old 12-24-2015, 02:07 PM   #3
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Yes, I figured appearance and texture GG.

But what I'd like to know is the why. I'd like to know the reason/science behind it.

How much and how is the texture and appearance changed?

What's removed by skimming and does that make it worth the effort?

From what I've removed when I bother there doesn't seem to be much except a tiny bit of fat.

Impurities don't seem to be many in what I strain.

On a side note. What do you good folks use to skim the foam?

A slotted spoon works for me.
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Old 12-24-2015, 03:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zagut View Post
Yes, I figured appearance and texture GG.

But what I'd like to know is the why. I'd like to know the reason/science behind it.

How much and how is the texture and appearance changed?

What's removed by skimming and does that make it worth the effort?

From what I've removed when I bother there doesn't seem to be much except a tiny bit of fat.

Impurities don't seem to be many in what I strain.

On a side note. What do you good folks use to skim the foam?

A slotted spoon works for me.
The only stock I make as a rule is chicken or a mix of chicken and turkey, and I do skim shortly after the pot comes up to simmering temp. I just use one of my large kitchen spoons. I may get a little of the liquid along with it, but not enough to matter.

I don't use a cheesecloth filter with my stock like some do, just use a fine screen sieve to strain out the chunks and call it good. I actually use a spider to fish out and discard the big pieces of veggies, meat and bones before I pour it through the sieve.
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Old 12-24-2015, 07:44 PM   #5
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When you cook veggies, meats and bones in water, loose bits of fat, protein and collagen that aren't completely dissolved float to the surface. If you don't skim them off, they get suspended in the liquid, from the action of boiling, making it cloudy.

In culinary school, we were taught to skim and then, when the simmering was done, to strain the stock through a strainer and then through a chinois to make it as clear as possible. Whether it's worth the effort is personal preference.

I don't go that far. I skim with a large slotted spoon.
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Old 12-24-2015, 07:52 PM   #6
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I sometimes skim. I strain the cooked and reduced stock through a men's handkerchief lining a strainer. Easier to work with than cheesecloth. Then I just wash it with dish towels and dish cloths and reuse. If clarity is an issue, I can clarify the stock.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:22 PM   #7
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I always skim. Yuk.


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Old 12-25-2015, 01:49 PM   #8
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Yes Yuck Mr. Charlie.

I'm not suggesting not getting out the unwanted particles.

I was just wondering what skimming really accomplishes.

From what I've skimmed off it doesn't amount to much. Seems to be mostly fat. And not very much at that.

Using a strainer gets most if the yuckies.

I usually strain and then put the results into the fridge overnight.
The fat and assorted yuckies float to the top and solidify.
Easy to remove.
The other yuckies and particles settle to the bottom.
I carefully ladle off what's in between.

I haven't gone to the effort of using a cloth to filter my stocks.
But that might be because I don't like doing laundry.
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:27 PM   #9
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Jeff Smith recommended to bring up to boil, allow foam to gather, then pour out all the liquid through a strainer basket, rinse off real good and refill the pot with water.
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:17 PM   #10
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I found that if I only allow the stock to come to a very low simmer, I get no foam and yukkies. It is when I let it come to full boil that the scum comes to the top. Then when I strain it, I use a coffee filter. It does takes longer than using a cheesecloth, but I just never remember to buy one. I NEVER forget to get my coffee filters. With or without scum, I do strain it and I get a clear broth.
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