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Home Cooking

Cold water for stock?

ar1338 | Nov 12, 202107:58 PM     15

I believe I've heard it said that it's best to start your stock with cold water (maybe I heard this on an episode of one of Alton Brown's shows, or read it somewhere online). I think the theory is that you allow the pores in the bones to open more gradually, where if you put them into boiling water it may cook/seal the surface. Boiling your water while your bones roast (or while you're deboning your chickens) would of course, save time. Anyone have any experience with this or know about these theories? I would think that even if one starts with cold water that once it boils the same alleged effect would happen to the bones. If not, it could be b/c of a gradual temperature change, or maybe it is just because they are hydrated. Maybe soaking bones first and then cooking in boiling water would avoid the issue. Most importantly though, is this even a real issue in the first place? Do bones have pores that open/close with boiling, or which can be sealed by too quickly cooking the proteins/fats on the surface? Does roasting them change the equation? How about if we hack them (cut them across the grain and break them open)? I believe I remember Escoffier suggesting this, but I don't like the idea of it for some reason with fowl. In that case, even if the surface seals, the marrow can come out. I guess this question (of cross-cutting) applies mainly to chicken and other poultry, as with beef/veal the bones are large and often cross-cut, as with shanks.

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