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What is the best proportion of water to chicken pounds for a stock?

I want to make and freeze a lot of stock at once, will probably be using 2 pots to do this. Is it simply 2 inches over the total capacity of chicken parts? Or, is there a more scientific approach? And does anyone know what the typical stock yield is for a X-pound bird? I'm trying to compare costs of buying organic chicken vs. buying ready made organic stock.

asked by NakedBeet about 3 years ago

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HalfPint
HalfPint

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added about 3 years ago

Alton Brown suggests 2:1 (wt/wt) water to chicken bones, though the CIA says 4:1. Alton likes a richer flavor apparently. More bones means more collagen means more flavor and body to the stock. A stock made from more meat than bones is going to be more delicate in flavor. Some say that using more meat means you are making broth, but then there's something called bone broth which is made with a mix of different bones. So l'll leave the semantics out of this. It depends on your recipe. I'm hazarding a guess that you are making a broth if you are using whole chickens. Can't imagine simmering chicken meat for hours just to make stock; the meat would overcook and dry out (yes, even in water). That seems like wasting a good and expensive organic chicken. Can you get access to bones from organic chickens. Bones are always cheap(er).

To your other question about yield, since none of the ingredients in stock is likely to absorb water (e.g. chicken, aromatics, vegetables) I think it's fair to say that if you are using a 2 gallons of water, you'll end up with at least 90% (due to evaporation during the simmer). A brief simmer of 45 mins to 1 hour is going to evaporate less than a stock that simmers (very gently) for 4-6 hours.

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames

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added about 3 years ago

Actually, Ruhlman says to take out the vegetables after 45 minutes, because at that point they do start absorbing the stock. Not sure if he's right. Just mentioning it. ;o)

Michelle
added about 3 years ago

I think 2 inches would be a good idea. I usually start with the bones and scraps of chicken and then, when it is simmering, add the onion, carrot and celery. I don't think you should waste a whole organic chicken though, especially not the breast meat. Often I make stock from legs or wings and, if it is legs, I put them in the bottom of the pot, cover the pot and slow simmer until the meat is cooked. No water. Then I cool and bone the chicken to use in recipes that call for cooked chicken. I throw the bones back in the pot with the broth that has accumulated during cooking, add water and vegs and slow simmer for a few hours. Works great. Legs are often on sale and have lots of water soluble fats and collagen. If I've used wings I pull off what meat I can and use it for dog food. HalfPint is right, the meat is dried out but the dogs don't mind.

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Susan W
Susan W

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added about 3 years ago

Your calculations will be a bit off because you only use the bones for stock. Even so, the point of making your own is for flavor and/or health benefits, not cost.

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Sam1148
Sam1148

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added about 3 years ago

I disagree about cost. It depends on where you live but my local "food depot", which is a costplus 10 percent chain. Sells chicken thighs with bones for 3 dollars for 3 pounds. That in a pressure cooker with a onion, carrot and celery make about 1-2 quarts of stock. Good stock.

A pressure cooker makes the best stock ever for cheep chicken bits.

Susan W
Susan W

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added about 3 years ago

Sam, the chicken thighs I buy are $2.79 lb. I would never use them for stock. I buy whole chickens for $1.99 lb and set aside wings, necks and backs in zip lock bags until I have enough for stock. My favorite thing to use are wings. They seem to make a more gelatinous stock which is what I shoot for. I drink mugs of the stuff all winter.

cv
cv
added about 3 years ago

Remember: the original poster was trying to compare homemade ORGANIC chicken stock versus commercial ORGANIC chicken stock.

This is not a race to the bottom of how to make the cheapest chicken stock in your kitchen.

If you are buying ORGANIC chickens (whole or parts) at one or two dollars per pound, I'm sure many of us would like to know where you are sourcing your birds.

Susan W
Susan W

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added about 3 years ago

Yes cv, I buy organic whole chickens that have been raised in a pasture in the warmer months directly from a farmer a short drive from where I live. They are always $1.99 lb. I get my eggs and organic vegetables from the same farmer.

cv
cv
added about 3 years ago

Excellent, Susan W, you are fortunate to have a great source of reasonably priced organic chicken from a local source.

That said, based on my earlier back-of-the-envelope calculation, a stock made from your organic chicken would be over $1.22/cup, well over the 50 cents/cup at Trader Joe's. And that's only a chicken ingredient calculation, it doesn't cover other ingredients nor energy.

I'd love to hear from Sam1148 whether or not he is sourcing ORGANIC chicken at a dollar per pound.

Again, the original poster is trying to figure out if she can make homemade ORGANIC chicken stock cheaper than commercial ORGANIC chicken stock.

So far, no one has come remotely close.

Susan W
Susan W

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added about 3 years ago

I realize the OP was regarding water bone ratio and cost comparison. Conversation wandered off track as conversations do. There is a lot of good information on this thread above and beyond what was originally asked. I wouldn't consider buying already made stock because the health benefits and flavor outweigh the increase in cost, but that's my perspective and not necessarily someone else's perspective or priority. I also consider my stock bones to be freebies since I wouldn't gnaw on the necks, backs and I happily donate the wings. My vegetables are all from scraps. Onion ends, carrot trimmings and thyme stems from my garden.