Homemade stock is a topic I've wanted to research for a while now, just to clear up a few questions of my own. I've made enough stocks through work alone to generally know what works and what doesn't, but there's always been a few gray areas. While I definitely have a better understanding of them after reading countless different sources, I've learned that this is an area in the culinary field that everyone seems to be an expert on, yet the guidelines given on how to make stocks are all over the board. So understand that the guidelines below, although fairly solid, have some wiggle-room due to differences between respected sources.
- Stocks are made from simmering vegetables with bones (although meat is sometimes added as well for added flavor) and are more concerned with the final texture rather than the taste. To properly allow the bones to form gelatin from their collagen, the process takes roughly 4 to 6 hours for a small batch, or up to overnight for larger batches. The final product, once cooled, has a gelatinous consistency if done correctly, and is not seasoned.
- Broths are made from simmering vegetables with meat (although bones are sometimes added to give the broth a smooth finish) and are more concerned with the final taste rather than texture. The process usually takes only a few hours, although the end-product is often reduced even further for a more concentrated flavor. In addition, the final product, once cooled, has a similar viscosity to water and is seasoned to taste.
- Vegetable and Fish - 45 minutes
- Poultry - 3 to 4 hours
- Beef and Veal - 6 to 8 hours
As the stock is simmering, occasionally use a fine mesh strainer to skim off and discard of any impurities floating at the top.