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Old 07-20-2009, 11:44 PM   #1
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Boiling Chicken Broth why does it explode?

My mother does a chicken and rice dish. She boils chicken broth (and eventually puts the rice in it), today the broth made a small explosion, and the broth went all over the kitchen.I asked her how can chicken broth explode?? She said it occasionally will do this, andbody know why and or what can be done to prevent this?
Thanks.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:03 AM   #2
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How did you cook the chicken broth? And when it exploded, was the rice in it? Or only the chicken? How long did you cook it before it exploded? Was the chicken completely thawed out before cooking?

I cooked chicken broth before many many times and never had it explode.

What I do normally is to thaw out the chicken completely first and put the chicken (and whatever vegetables I want to cook with) in a pot with water (just covering the chicken). Then put it to boil (and eventually simmer) for about 1 and half hours. Then I can use the broth for anything afterwards (like you did to cook rice) or just add in mushrooms etc and serve it as soup or consomme...
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:27 AM   #3
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Hi, Don. Welcome to DC.

Sometimes, the broth gets super hot, over the boiling point, without bubbling completely. When you add the rice, that gives the bubbles a place to form and all of a sudden they bubble up all at once and spill over.

Simple solution: Stick a spoon on the broth and stir it for a few seconds before adding any other ingredients,

Also, turn off the heat and let the broth cool for 15 seconds before adding the rice.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:41 AM   #4
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It has something to do with the surface tension. The spoon will do it. This happens a lot with microwaving. That is to say, the liquid coming to beyond boiling temps without actually boiling, then exploding on contact. Another solution is to bring it slowly to a boil, stirring as you go. The exploding chicken stock is a mess to clean up, AND very, and I do mean very, dangerous. If that hits your face you won't be happy.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Hi, Don. Welcome to DC.

Sometimes, the broth gets super hot, over the boiling point, without bubbling completely. When you add the rice, that gives the bubbles a place to form and all of a sudden they bubble up all at once and spill over.

Simple solution: Stick a spoon on the broth and stir it for a few seconds before adding any other ingredients,

Also, turn off the heat and let the broth cool for 15 seconds before adding the rice.
If it is exploding because of this (super heating) then sticking the spoon in and stirring before adding the other ingredients is not a good idea. If it is super heating then when you stick the spoon in that will give the bubbles a place to form and it will then explode all over your arm.

A better suggestion is to put something in the broth before you start to heat it. It can even be something as small as a single grain of rice. I know of people who put a toothpick in or a straw. This super heating only happens with microwave heating though as far as I know. Is this how you are heating your broth?
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:58 AM   #6
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If it is exploding because of this (super heating) then sticking the spoon in and stirring before adding the other ingredients is not a good idea. If it is super heating then when you stick the spoon in that will give the bubbles a place to form and it will then explode all over your arm.

A better suggestion is to put something in the broth before you start to heat it. It can even be something as small as a single grain of rice. I know of people who put a toothpick in or a straw. This super heating only happens with microwave heating though as far as I know. Is this how you are heating your broth?

This happens to me frequently when I'm boiling water or broth for rice. The spoon triggers a much milder reaction. A couple of stirs and you're all set.

With the rice, you have a lot of little pieces going in at once so you get a more violent and immediate reaction.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:58 AM   #7
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Wow, never had chicken broth explode. I have had it boil over when adding rice. MAybe it is because I stir it as Andy suggests.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:08 AM   #8
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Yikes! I've been making chicken stock/soup for years and have never experienced that. Thank goodness!
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:46 PM   #9
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I have never had this happen with broth but I have had it happen when I make beer.

Sometimes, when I add the malt sugar, the air that is mixed in with the malt powder will become super heated and expand rapidly causing it to "erupt". This is not the same effect as the microwave superheating effect. this is almost the same effect as throwing water into hot fat (water sinks, turns to steam, rapidly expands, sends hot oil everywhere) just not quite as violent. Still pretty dangerous though.

I get around it by easing my ingredients in rather than dumping in a big lump.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:09 PM   #10
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I hear you! Have had similar experiences with malt erupting all over the stove. What a sticky mess that can be. Making wort is definitely something that needs to be closely watched.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:09 PM   #11
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I never bring chicken stock to a full boil anyway, since it reduces the amount of collagen you will extract. Better to bring it to a simmer and leave it there if you want to get all the flavor out of the chicken.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:16 PM   #12
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I never bring chicken stock to a full boil anyway, since it reduces the amount of collagen you will extract. Better to bring it to a simmer and leave it there if you want to get all the flavor out of the chicken.

Agreed, Erik. This is about adding rice to completed stock make soup.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:32 PM   #13
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Exploding Chicken Broth

Thanks to all that have replied!

Just to clarify:
My mother Boils the chicken in the broth, when the chicken is done, she removes it.The broth sits a bit (cools), she then strains it,and lets it sit some more, when shes ready to do the rice she reheats the broth (gas stove, NO microwave), and at some point before she adds the rice into the broth, the broth explodes (not the correct term, but it flies all over the kitchen several feet...what a mess to clean up).She says she needs to "watch" the broth when reheating it, because at some point if it starts to actually boil, this is when it explodes, mom says if she can catch it before it boils, then everything is ok, she gets distracted fixing the rest of dinner, so sometimes she's to late in catching the broth before it starts to boil.I don't know if putting a "Spoon" or something else in the broth would prevent this...we'll have to give it a try.
Again thanks to all!!!
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Old 07-23-2009, 02:00 PM   #14
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There's a HUGE difference in "exploding" and boiling over! Yes, it will boil over quickly and it makes quite a mess. By "all over the kitchen" I assume you meant all over the stove and some of the surrounding area. Yes, rice boils over if left on boil. Cooking pasta will also boil over.
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:31 PM   #15
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Kitchenelf..."Exploding" is not the correct wording....but please note the broth erupts over 7-8 feet away from the stove....it dosent boil over the pot, it literally flies a good 8 feet in all directions. There's NO rice in the broth..its just the broth!This happens before adding the rice.This is NOT soup she's making by the way.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:00 PM   #16
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I hear you! Have had similar experiences with malt erupting all over the stove. What a sticky mess that can be. Making wort is definitely something that needs to be closely watched.
I have had some spectacular messes that have turned out to be the best beer ever. The problem with them is you can never duplicate it as it truely was an uncontroled accident.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:03 PM   #17
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Kitchenelf..."Exploding" is not the correct wording....but please note the broth erupts over 7-8 feet away from the stove....it dosent boil over the pot, it literally flies a good 8 feet in all directions. There's NO rice in the broth..its just the broth!This happens before adding the rice.This is NOT soup she's making by the way.
Hmmm what have the chickens been eating? Have you seen any animated coyotes around?
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:04 AM   #18
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I have had several explosions in the past couple of months, with the pot on low simmer. No rice. With or without a lid. Most often after I've removed the chicken and added the bones and skin back in to simmer, with a teaspoon or so of cider vinegar to leach the calcium out of the bones. I've been doing this for many years, but don't recall this happening until lately. These explosions require at least a 2-hour clean up, plus losing half of the broth. It's been very fortunate that I was not near the stove when it's happened. I can't figure it out. One thing I can think of that is different is that with age and shoulder problems, I'm now cooking smaller amounts in a smaller pot. There is no microwave involved here, just an electric stove. I hope someone can figure this out.
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:09 AM   #19
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It's happened to me with a pan of water with some oil in it. The oil, or in the case of chicken broth, the chicken fat covers the surface suppressing the bubbles until pressure builds up and there is a violent boil over/explosion.

If you defat the stock before boiling it or keep stirring it, there will not be an issue.
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:29 AM   #20
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It's happened to me with a pan of water with some oil in it. The oil, or in the case of chicken broth, the chicken fat covers the surface suppressing the bubbles until pressure builds up and there is a violent boil over/explosion.

If you defat the stock before boiling it or keep stirring it, there will not be an issue.
This was my thought, that it had something to do with the fat content of the broth. Fat will take on heat beyond the boiling point of water, and that seems like a possible issue. Just putting out my thoughts - I'm not a chemist or a physicist.
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