Dried Mushrooms

Joined Jul 3, 2009
Would the water you use to soak dried mushrooms in make a big difference in a soup? I usually use water instead of broth when making soups and just bump up all the herbs. I would think it would make a big difference but I wouldn't want this mushroom flavor to be so overpowering. I have never cooked with dried mushrooms, always go towards the baby bellas or button ones. Any advice??
Joined May 26, 2001
Yes, it makes a difference -- it definitely adds more mushroom flavor. But I'm not sure that it would be "overpowering." That would depend on a lot of factors, including your palate first of all; how much flavor you expect versus how much you get; and what the other ingredients and flavors in the soup are.

To me, it's not overpowering. But I usually only have a cup or two of mushroom soaking liquid in a several-quarts pot of soup. And if I'm using mushrooms in the first place, I do want more mushroom flavor anyway.

I find dried mushrooms a great thing to have in my pantry, to add taste and texture when I don't have fresh mushrooms around. And especially dried "wild" mushrooms such as porcini (now, those have a really strong flavor!) and chanterelles. Those seem very expensive, but a little dried goes a looooooong way. But even dried white mushrooms add a good amount of flavor. If you do use dried "wild" mushrooms, be sure to strain the liquid before you use it; the mushrooms may have dirt clinging to them, and you don't want that grit to get into the finished dish.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Yes, the water you used to hydrate dried mushrooms is a valuable commodity for sauces and soups.

Interesting that you prefer not to use stocks.

Interesting also that the mushroom growers' marketing campaign ahs been successful enough to push the idea of "baby bellas."

Without any sort of correction intended -- just saying is all:

There's no such thing as a "baby 'bella" or baby portobello. If you want to get all curmodgeonly and proper English languagey about it, there's really no such thing as a "portobello" either. A "portobello" is not a separate species or type, but just a very large "crimini," aka "brown mushroom," which is. So, a "small portobello" is actually a plain jane crimini. "Portobello" as a name is just marketing hype. It's a way of selling mushrooms which otherwise could not be sold; not only because of their size, but because the gill structure has opened up.

On the other hand, you could argue (and correctly so), that English is a living language, and what begins as a term coined for marketing purposes becames legitimate through use. If enough people say it, it's a word.

Plus, as it turns out, their size makes portobellas amenable to a few techniques and uses to which smaller mushrooms are not.

It's probably a function of age, but "baby bella" draws a reaction out of me.

Cranky old BDL
Joined Aug 11, 2000
if your shrooms are gritty, a coffee filter works to filter the liquid.

I stopped rehydrating prior to using. Most dried mushrooms added to a liquid sauce/soup/stew etc will absorb that liquid. Most dried mushrooms have a chewy texture, so I use them chopped or crumbled....sometimes ground into a powder....then add fresh button or crimini for a shroom texture.

Suzanne is so right......a small amount of wild shrooms goes a very very long way. Don't let a $120+ a pound sticker turn you off, a pound of dried morels will fill a gallon jar and be good to use for YEARS.....
Porcini, black trumpets, shiitakes, wood fire dried Chilean boletes all have huge flavor.
Morels, chicken of the woods, hen of the woods.....more mild but drying Umphs up (that would be Julisms:roll:) the flavor. Much like a sun dried tomato is so much stronger than a fresh tomato.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I do the dried mushroom powder thing for many long cooking dishes.

But as I like Chinese food so much, I do lots of rehydrated mushrooms too. Granted, they get the fine slicing before final use.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I often use 1-2 cups of mushroom stock from rehydrated mushrooms to flavor beef broth and less commonly chicken stock. In fact, whenever I'm running out of broth for a risotto or for a pan gravy I quickly rehydrate some porcinis and instantly have flavorful broth.

You lost me on the words "button mushrooms." I don't recognize these as edible mushrooms because they taste like band-aids. Even criminis make me feel like I'm slummin it sometimes.
Joined Jul 3, 2009
Thank you for all the responses. Lately I've noticed more and more dried mushrooms at the markets I go to and they are very reasonablly priced. I always associated them as more of a high end ingredient. I go with the "baby bellas" or "button" mushrooms (didn't realized these terms would cause such an uprise (wink)) because they are inexpensive. I'm guessing you boil the cremini or porcini mushrooms for ten or so minutes? Is there a big difference between the two? These are the ones I see most of the time. I think I'm going to give this a go.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
It's what I imagine band-aids would taste like - kind of rubbery without a food-like flavor.:smiles:

You don't need to boil them, just pour a cup of boiling water in a cup with the mushrooms and let them steep for 10- 20 minutes like tea. Then remove the mushrooms and discard or chop them up if you want to add them to your dish. I don't strain my mushroom broth because I don't have a strainer fine enough to hold the bits of dirt that are naturally on the mushroom. Just pour the broth into your recipe carefully and don't use the last little bit at the bottom that contains the dirt.
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