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Old 11-09-2008, 09:47 PM   #1
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Stocks - make your own or powder?

To me the best food items are made with stocks. You need a good stock to make the best sauces, side dishes w/ potatoes and rice, soups, even a lot of veg recipes. So just wondering what most home cooks do for their stocks at home, do you guys make them yourself or buy the powder stocks to use?

I learned how to cook away from home and when I was living on my own I was in a residence and had a meal plan first, and second time I was a broke college student and ate cheap. When I come home though I make my stocks from scratch. Im usually broke at home and I dont wanna make my grandma buy me things every time I wanna cook something so Im often missing an item or 2 I'd usually put in but always make a good stock. There's usually neck bones in my freezer as we buy 1/4 cows at a time. My grandma makes stew with them but not often so I always use em up. Also if we eat a chicken or turkey dinner I'll make stock out of the leftover bones.

I've only used powder stock at this one crappy little family restaurant I worked at when I got stuck at home for 5 months between BC and school, thought it was lacking something and was just the lazy mans way to do it. One of my chefs at school did a demo with powder demi glace and hollandaise sauce just to show us that, they actually tasted pretty **** close to the result you'd get with a real demi or holly, but you dont learn how to cook using powder IMO. I'd never use them if I had the choice, but if I wanted the sauce and am short on cash I'd probably buy em.

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Old 11-09-2008, 09:50 PM   #2
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I make my own for the most part. Mainly chicken and veggie stock. But I do keep some containered stock on hand as well. Chicken stock is to easy to make, specially when you have whole chickens to butcher up.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:52 PM   #3
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Depends on what I'm making and my time committment. I most often use my own stock, but have a huge tub of powder for when I need something FAST!
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:54 PM   #4
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I buy chicken stock at Costco. "All natural, etcetc". Six quarts for $9.73 or so.
Good stuff.
When I have a carcass of chicken, I do stock-ize it however.

Never made a beef broth.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:55 PM   #5
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I have never seen powder, but I have used boxed stock and also bases (paste form). I would choose homemade stock over these any day, but I hardly ever get around to making it anymore. I just do not have the time.
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:42 AM   #6
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A few of my friends and I used to make the time to make stock. We did it twice a year. 3 of the 4 of us who did this each had a 24 quart stockpot. All clad makes a really good, affordable one. Mine was like $140. We used to make 2 chickens and 1 beef.

We would all leave with a few gallons of each and our families ate great for months. I used to pour mine into little freezer containers. My mom has a chest freezer in her garage and that was stocked with the stock. I even poured alot of it in ice cube trays and when I needed a few for a pan sauce, boom. I had it.

It's been like 3 years since we did our stock day. I miss it. It was a long day, but a fun day.

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Old 11-10-2008, 01:22 AM   #7
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for sensitive sauses or soups/stews made from my own garden I would only use my own stock or glace viande , but for take away work dinners such as pot-pie ,tetra pak bricks of stock ( sorry ,I don't know what you name them in the USA--flexible litre containers) work great. I quess that when the impact of quality is high-use your own--- the converse is true -ya ?
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:45 AM   #8
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This is a tough one for me. I usually make my own veggie stock when Im doing a lot of cooking, and have a lot of left over bits and pieces of veggies. The problem I have with veggie stock is that when I make it like this, it is inconsistent in its taste. Not that it tastes bad or couldnt be fixed up. Its just that this inconsistency could affect the final product of whatever Im planning to use the stock for. And to be honest, everytime I make a veggie stock it usually tastes ' empty' as if it is missing something ( and ive followed many different recipes for veggie stocks). In saying this, when Im looking for consistency, I use the powdered crap, which happens to be 'fake' chicken stock, which is too salty and tastes nothing like chicken stock, but I have learned to cook with it over the last 20 years, and adjust my recipes accordingly. It taste the same every time, with no surprises. I am very particular in which brand it is, because many have bitter after tastes, or sometimes they are spiced specifically for one type of cooking ( having a load of sage in it) when Im looking for something totally different ( more Italian based).
It would be nice to have a good veggie stock recipe that was consistent and not " empty tasting". As far as my 'make shift leftover veggie stock' , I do use that as a base for many things and also its a nice way to use up the scraps. And after I separate the stock from the scraps, I feed the scraps to the chickens, so everyone wins ( even the chickens since they dont wind up in the stock!!!)
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:31 AM   #9
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Have you tried reducing your veggie stock? I usually use mire poux and add mushrooms, peppers, extra bayleafs, garlic and what ever else i got laying around.

Usually when I make a veggie stock its a spur of the momement, i dont want to waste anything day. Ill throw all my scraps in a pot from a veggie platter im making or what ever i got. throw it in a pot add some water and sachet and jsut let it go for a while. strain then strain again and then reduce until its super super reduced and fits in the freezer.

I figure you can always dilute the stock which is easier then reducing it and storing a huge container of it.

I make my own stock, beef, veggie and of coarse chicken.

When I make beef i usually plan ahead and buy the bones and etc.... and plan it for the day sicnei t takes so long.

If i end up knowing im going to be in the kitchen for a long time for what ever reason ill make my chicken stock. I freeze my chicken bones and scraps for when I need them.

Ill also save lobster shells and shrimp shells for when I want to add them to my chicken stock to make a shrimp stock or lobster stock or a shrimp lobster stock.

BTW those are great in using a chicken stock as a base. gives it a lot of depth.
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:32 AM   #10
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Thumbs up Kitchen Basics Stocks

I use Kitchen Basics chicken stock, beef stock, and vegetable stock all the time.
"When the kitchen smells spicy and wonderful, it can only mean one thing... it's not my kitchen."--- Maxine
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:46 AM   #11
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Larry, if you are not opposed to MSG, a little bit might help give your veggie stock what it is missing.
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:34 AM   #12
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Larry, I find veggie stocks are bland anyway you go about it usually. Try this, with veggie or any stock. Before you use it in any recipe reheat it and throw in a bay leaf, fresh thyme, and season with salt, pepper, worcestershire and tobasco sauce all to taste. Your stock should taste great after that. For white stocks you don't need the last 2, but dark stocks are always helped by them I find.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:23 AM   #13
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At home, I make my own chicken stock, beef stock, and shrimp stock. I pour the strained, reduced stock into ice cube trays and freeze.

At work, I started making shrimp stock on a regular basis several months ago, as I needed it for some sauces, and my Sous Chef would always use it for whatever he needs. I've now taken to making veggie stock, a couple gallons at a time. I've been using it as a "universal" flavor base for all sorts of soups and sauces. If I need au jus in a hurry, I bring some of this veggie stock up to a boil, add some some beef base, and a little minced fresh rosemary. Chicken-flavored soups and sauces will get veggie stock, chicken base, and maybe some sage.

Larry, I find that caramelizing the veggies before adding the liquids helps with the flavor immensely. Since I'm using about 10 - 15 lbs of veggies, and I'm not using the tilt skillet to do this, I start by caramelizing just a fraction of the veggies. I cook them until they are deeply caramelized, and there is a LOT of fond in the pan. Dump in the remainder of the veggies, hit it with some white wine (about a cup), then water to cover, and maybe enough to go 3 - 4" over the veggies. I use classic mirepoix, some whole garlic cloves, and if I have them, a leek, roughly chopped. If I'm making the veggie stock, I'm not adverse to adding tomato scraps, asparagus scraps, broccoli scraps, squash scraps, etc. I usually do not use bell peppers in stock, as they add a bitter taste.

I find that just by caramelizing, the resulting stock tastes great, once it's seasoned with some salt. The smell is intoxicating.

I've also noticed that in the past 6 months, I've become the de facto Saucier at work. My Chef is alway coming up to me and asking me to make sauces for parties, as well as the sauces I need on my line.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:14 AM   #14
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I only use chicken & vegetable stock in my cooking. If I have the time &/or am in the mood, I make my own. However, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever using commercial brands. In fact, I ALWAYS have several cartons of Swanson's Chicken Broth (regular - the organic is too bland) in my pantry to use in recipes & even for a quick microwaved pick-me-up on a chilly day. I find it very tasty, & with just the very lightest touch of salt - unlike other brands that are either overly salty or totally bland.

I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all. If you don't like to or feel like making your own stocks there are perfectly reputable commercial brands out there, with new ones appearing all the time. Just find one you like ingredient-wise & taste-wise.
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:57 PM   #15
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I've never seen powdered stock eitehr.

When I don't have my own in the freezer I use Minor's base or Swansons broth.
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