Stock Making Debate

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Joined Oct 3, 2006
Our Exec and our Sous are in a rather heated debate over how to make stock. Our Exec makes his stocks the way I learned in school, roasting the bones in the oven. He claims our Sous Chef's way merely "sears" the bones and does not really extract as much flavor from them as roasting them in an oven does. Its pretty obvious whose way reigns supreme, but I was wondering if anyone else has heard of the style of stock our Sous makes.

Our Sous roasts the bones (chicken or veal) in the big tilt griddle that we have with a little oil. He adds mirepoix and tomato paste and continues to roast everything together. After deglazing with a little burgandy and water, he scrapes the bottom of the skillet clean with a giant metal spatula, adds his sachets, and then fills the entire tilt griddle with ice (close to 5 standard size ice pails).

His reasoning for the ice is that supposedly colder water extracts gelatinous material from the bones better, and you can't get much colder than ice. His reasoning for roasting the bones in the pan is that you don't lose any precious fond when transferring bones from a roasting pan to the kettle since everything done within the skillet.

Opinions? I'm not looking to prove either boss wrong, I was just curious to see if anyone else has heard of methods like this.
 
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Joined Sep 2, 2009
I don't know it sounds like he just wants to do every thing in one skillet. Sounds to me like thats a pretty tiddy way to do it, and if you went about it the right way you would end up with a good stock. But I'll bet the chefs stock is better. I think the sous being lazy. Maybe he's burned a few batches bones....
 
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Joined Sep 18, 2008
Most kitchens have two ironclad rules:

1. The Chef may not always be right, but the Chef is NEVER wrong!

2. If you think the Chef is wrong, see Rule 1!
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
If I had th luxury of a tilt skillet, I'd use it over the stock pot.

The roasting is only to develop flavour, doesn't matter if you do it in an oven or a skillet.

"Lazy" is a cruel word. "Practical" or "Smart" sounds better. Heaving all those bones in and out of the oven, pouring off fat, balancing the pan on arack in order to stir around th mire-poix, putting the pans back in again--it does get dangerous and quite time consuming.

(I unceremoniously "Dump" the whole pan of bones from the oven on to the flat-top. Then with tongs I pick up all the bones and toss them back in pan. The fat stays on the flat-top where I scrape it down the glory-hole. This method trumps any other method that involves dumping the pan over a collander to drain off fat--It's very hard to control especially if you're alone. It is VERY important to pour off fat, if it accumulates t stinks up the whole oven (and kitchen) and can taint the stock. The fond that develops either stays in the roasting pan or on the bones)
 
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My chef once told a reporter "Oh no, you've got it wrong. "Chef" is spelled g, o, d."
 
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(I unceremoniously "Dump" the whole pan of bones from the oven on to the flat-top. Then with tongs I pick up all the bones and toss them back in pan. The fat stays on the flat-top where I scrape it down the glory-hole. This method trumps any other method that involves dumping the pan over a collander to drain off fat--It's very hard to control especially if you're alone. It is VERY important to pour off fat, if it accumulates t stinks up the whole oven (and kitchen) and can taint the stock. The fond that develops either stays in the roasting pan or on the bones)[/QUOTE]


does'nt sound like a very safe pratice to me.......just sayin'.....fire hazard :smokin
 
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Joined Mar 16, 2005
I've said it before and I'll say it again, there are many ways to getting a right result and both methods have merit in my opinion. I normally prefer to sear and "roast" bones in the same vessel as the stock pot too, so as not to lose any fond. However, the veal bones we use at the restaurant are shaped strangely so it's ard to get a good browning on them on a flat surface; the oven gets all parts of the surface brown.

As for the merits of starting in warm vs. cold water and the merits of extracting more flavour and gelatin from certain methods of cooking... well, that is for the scientists to help us discover. Personally I think it has roots in the 'searing seals in the juices' fable as well. However, it has been shown that certain things such as starting in cold vs. hot water has had no noticable effect on flavour and the extracting of bulk matter from the meat/bones, especially with the cooking time of a veal stock being so long. I like to use cold water because I don't trust what sort of crap that is in the hot water at home and that goes through the pipes at work.
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2009
When you use ice to start a stock instead of hot water, the fat that raises to the top of the stock for skimming tends to be easier to skim (larger pools of fat versus many small pools).
I make jus with veal bones and calves feet, we place the bones in cold water and bring to the simmer, then drain the bones in a colander, wash with cold water and return to a clean pan, this gets rid of the scum from the bones. We then simmer 6 hours with veg and tomato paste, no wine or alcohol. We pass the stock and retain the bones. We cover the cooked bones in water and simmer for another six hours (water and bones only). We pass the second "stock", marry with the first and reduce. This stock is versatile because it does not contain pork (pig trotters) or alcohol making it easier when dealing with various dietary requirements. We DO NOT roast the veal bones; lamb and chicken bones etc yes, veal no.
The finished product is easily adaptable by adding wine, brandy, Madeira etc. (we all know how to suck eggs:)). We adopted this recipe from the French Laundry cookbook.
 
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The answer here seems to lie in the final outcome. Is there a difference in tast or quality of either or which tast better. As far as procedure, both will work. I think adding 100 ice is going a bit overboard as he is not making consomme here. Cold water will suffice in a stock be it poultry or meat or fish. I am sure both gentlemen have been doing this with success for years so I say ""If it aint broke, don't fix it""
 
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Just teach him the simple phrase, "How would you like that prepared, Chef?" and his life will be so much easier. :smokin
 
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Joined Mar 16, 2005
You're allowed to debate things in the kitchen, as long as you ultimately do it the way the chef wants it.
 
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i have only made stock by roasting bones, i have never attempted or even thought of making stock with seared bones or anything similar. classic is best and just to reiterate what everyone else said... chef rules. once youre up there you can make your own decisions, but do as the chef says and youll be chef one day, try to go your own route and youll find yourself working in many kitchens but never getting further than that.
 
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I've heard of making it both ways and I prefer roast the bones when I make stock but that is just my choice. As it's been said here... the Chef is the Chef and ultimately it is his kitchen so things will be done his way and the sous needs to follow his lead even if he doesn't agree with it.
 
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Quite right chef- hence the mistaken understanding! :lol:

...I'm sorry, I don't make jokes very often for this reason alone!
 
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Joined Mar 22, 2008
I think the sous is trying to be a bit more organized and clean, however his method wastes time and perhaps does not get enough colour on the bones. Roasting is always going to more consistent and at the end of the day you don't need some one constantly watching them in the oven, just checking periodically. More importantly, searing them makes you liable to add some burnt bits of miropoix or paste which wouldn't do much for your flavor or clarity.

I think the sous has good intentions but he's trying to be too creative.
 
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I have a tilt braiser and it never occurred to me to use it like this. It seems like more work than roasting bones. When I run into a situation like this I let my guys show me their way. In this case we would do a blind taste test. If they can show me they can produce a better stock with out a lot more work then I'm good with that. The last thing I want to do is dissuade my guys from thinking. If the results are the same and it takes more work then it's back to the oven and the steam kettle.
 
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Joined Oct 3, 2006
Thanks for the input guys. I was just curious of what feedback I would get on this one.

For the record, we do it the Chef's way, there is obiously no other way in his kitchen. We are allowed to debate things as previously mentioned here, we just better be certain we know what were talking about.

We made 1/2 a batch of bones Chef's way yesterday. I'm gonna see if we can make the other 1/2 the Sous' way and compare the two. I agree that this is probably the only way to settle the debate.
 
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