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Old 11-30-2004, 03:18 AM   #1
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So what's the proper bone to water ratio for a great broth?

So what's the proper bone to water ratio for a great broth? I want the proper amount of water for full collagen extraction without dilution.

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Old 11-30-2004, 03:45 AM   #2
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I usually see about 1 lb of bone per quart. So if I want to make 20 quarts, do I really need 20 lbs?
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Old 11-30-2004, 07:09 AM   #3
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Dunno. Never thought about it. I usually just add liquid to cover the bones.
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Old 11-30-2004, 10:13 AM   #4
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BASIC RATIOS FOR STOCK

Beef, poultry, veal stocks: For every gallon of stock, use 8 pounds of bones, 6 quarts water, 1 pound mirepoix, and 1 bouquet garni.

Fish stock or fumet: For every gallon of finished stock, use 11 pounds of bones, 5 quarts water, 1 pound mirepoix, and 1 standard bouquet garni.
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:30 AM   #5
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Just a side note - I like to slow roast my bones before using in a stock if I have the time.
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:12 PM   #6
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Me, too, Elf, along with some carrot, onion and celery, and just a dab or two of tomato paste at the end!
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:14 PM   #7
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Siniquezu, there are so many variables in stockmaking that using a set formula doesn't always provide the best results.

Species of animal
Type of bone
Amount of meat on it
Age of the animal
Amount of skin (for poultry)

These all impact collagen output. The species of the animal changes the playing field so drastically that stock related questions should always be qualified from a species perspective. Since collagen is concentrated in the skin, achieving maximum collagen extraction for poultry stocks is about obtaining parts of the bird that have the greatest skin surface area (feet best, wings second best).

With beef stock, the collagen from the skin is not an option. Working with just bones, the collagen output is fairly minimal. Meat stuck to the bones helps. If you encounter a good sale on beef meat, that is ideal. My experience has shown me that bones won't provide the same amount of collagen as connective tissue. Generally speaking, good beef stock ain't cheap.

Veal, on the other hand, is an entirely different scenario. Although I don't add veal to stocks, veal bones are supposed to be extremely collagen rich. The biggest drawback to veal bones, though, is when you brown them you don't get the same intensity of flavor as with beef, which for some applications is a good thing, but not when you're goal is a rich flavorful beefy stock.

Great stock involves the proper balance of three components:

Collagen (body)
Maillard compounds (flavor)
Water

Sufficient time for simmering is essential to extract all the collagen from the components. How long? Well, no two chefs ever agree on that.

I go to great lengths to achieve a good shade of color to my stock ingredients. Because of this, I almost always end up with a greater proportion of flavor than body. If I'm making something where I need the mouthfeel of the additional collagen, I'll add powdered gelatin. At some point, I may end up utilizing a small portion of veal bones for this role (in beef stock).

The final reduction is crucial as well. There is no set ratio for that either. As you make more and more stocks, reducing it to the proper consistency will become second nature.
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:05 PM   #8
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Thanks scott123. You mention that you try to get "good shade of color to my stock." Is that how you can tell that the broth has a very good amount of collogen in it? I know you can tell that you have a good amount of collagen in the broth when you are finished and it cools, it forms a gelatinous mass. Since there is no set amount of time for broth cooking, how can you tell when the broth has reached it maximum potential? Is it the color, the texture, the taste, or all of the above?
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Old 11-30-2004, 01:12 PM   #9
 
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What has been said by other posters are good guidelines but not laws.

What is proper and what is not for a stock is not a code written in stone...it is good judgement and individual preferences.

Experience, and your own taste as to what a good stock should be --determines whether you brown your bones, how many bones to use per quart of water, whether you add vinegar to help leach calcium from the bones, what bones to use, whether you will add meat or not, whether or not you use vegetables and how much of which ones, etc.

There is no best, only what you like.
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Old 11-30-2004, 10:12 PM   #10
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In order to extract the goodies form the bones, they have to be covered with water. Fill a pot with bones and mirepoix, etc. then add cold water to cover the bones by an inch or two.

After you strain the simmered stock, you can reduce it some to concentrate the flavor and the collagen. Never add salt to a stock.
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