Clarificaition: Raft vs Gelatin Filtration

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Joined Mar 31, 2011
Hi everyone. I have a question on clarification methods for consomme and any thoughts would be much appreciated.

From my understanding, there are 2 primary methods of clarification. One is the raft method using egg whites and the other uses gelatin (or no gelatin if the stock is gelatin rich) and freezing then thawing to filter impurities.

Please correct me if I'm wrong .... The gelatin filtration method naturally filters out the gelatin from the stock. But the raft method doesn't do so, leaving the gelatin in the stock. Therefore, consomme made using the traditional raft method will have more body due to the gelatin that is not picked up by the raft. Is this correct?

If so, is there any other method aside from the two mentioned that clarifies while also retaining the gelatin in the stock? While the gelatin filtration technique is extremely easy, the loss of the natural gelatin is, at least to me, a major flaw. The raft's major flaw meanwhile is that it tends to lessen flavor. But if the stock is very strong to begin with, then a loss of flavor from using egg whites may not be so bad.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Joined Feb 27, 2008
Can't tell you for sure.

Since nobody else is responding I will tell you what I think I know. The CIA teaches the raft method. I believe that the acid in your tomatoes also effects the quality of your raft and thereby your finished consomme.

I have a question for you. How would the raft method lessen the flavor?

Also, if that is the case, you can always reduce the stock further.
 
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Joined Sep 18, 2008
If the raft is created correctly, it will restore any flavor that the egg whites might remove, that is the purpose of the minced protein and aromatics.

For me gelatin works, but it is a shortcut and the result is evident, I'll stick with the raft.
 
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Joined Oct 2, 2010
Why would the presence of gelatine make a difference in a consommé? You serve consommé mostly very hot, so it doesn't make a difference since it melts and contributes no extra taste. There are occasions where consommé is served cold, but I guess it wouldn't please anyone to have to drink a gelatinous cold consommé.

I saw Heston Blumenthal a few weeks ago -for the second time- in a cooking program use the freezing and thawing method and his comments on the taste were excellent. I'll take his word for gospel. The liquid that came out was slightly colored but 100% transparent.

To be sure we're talking about the same "gelatine method" as you call it; Blumenthal freezes his consommé in a flat block and let it thaw at roomtemperature in a mousseline cloth hanging over a recipient that catches the thawing liquid. The liquid comes out completely filtered. Genious!
 
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Joined Mar 16, 2005
Personally I find it's easier to screw up gelatin filtration and requires a heck of a lot more time to do it... I don't think it's cutting corners at all.  Also the gelatin method is more versatile, you can't clarify clam chowder with a raft.

I've never really had a mouthfeel problem with gelatin filtered consommes, but if you do simply add flavourless gelatin back into it...  a ratio of 4 leaves/liter should be more than enough.
 
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Joined Mar 31, 2011
It's an interesting discussion. I've heard and read from some folks that the raft method creates a consomme with better mouthfeel than the gelatin-ice filtration method. Also, if the natural gelatin extracted from the meat is retained, does it create a better result than simply adding in flavorless gelatin? I'm wondering if there's someone out there who did tests.
 
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
The real clarification of consomme is  chopped meat(for additional flavor and depth)   egg whites as well as the shells. a mirepoix  and mix all with ice. The colder the better mix all in bowl add to a stock and simmer gently  till everything floats (RAFT) . DO NOT STIR after it starts to simmer. Draw out stock carefully with ladle or draw from bottom if it is a spouted consomme pot. I never worked in a classical kitchen that used gelatin other then to add later as an Aspic or base for Chaudfroid Sauce.

Has anyone seen or heard from    Boar D Laise  Hope he is OK
 
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Right now we are clarifying straight up Sacramento tomato juice, seasoned, and with a traditional raft(minus the shells). The resulting perfectly clear consomme has all the rich tomato flavor but that beautiful silky broth quality. We actually use it cold as well and the texture and taste are great. Great way to add tomato flavor and not alter the look of a dish. Just my .02

I've never tried the gelatin method, sounds interesting but time consuming. I don't have all day to wait for something to freeze most of the time.
 
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
Right now we are clarifying straight up Sacramento tomato juice, seasoned, and with a traditional raft(minus the shells). The resulting perfectly clear consomme has all the rich tomato flavor but that beautiful silky broth quality. We actually use it cold as well and the texture and taste are great. Great way to add tomato flavor and not alter the look of a dish. Just my .02

I've never tried the gelatin method, sounds interesting but time consuming. I don't have all day to wait for something to freeze most of the time.
This is really not classified as a consomme , It is almost like a quick Madreline which is normally servd cold . I am not saying it is not good, but it is not a consomme. 
 
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
Madrilene (how i spell it) is a chicken consomme with tomato pulp added i thought?...i am clarifying tomato pulp only. The result is a tomato consomme in my opinion sorry. But then again my French culinary terms are not always perfect.
 
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Joined Sep 18, 2008
Hm, all my sources indicate a consommé begins with a high quality stock, I'm not real sure what the correct term for a clarified juice product would be, but I'm fairly certain it is not consommé
 
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Joined May 24, 2009
Gelatin is the chosen way to clarify stock in the kitchens where I've worked.  its foolproof, its cheaper, the results are better.  Gelatin can always be added back to stock.  For consomme, the gelatin won't often be missed anyways.  In fact I'd rather have it out for control of the soup texture at the desired temperature.
 
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