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Traditional Stock-vs-Base

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I can remember when I began cooking. Just like yesterday. Ha ha. But really, I have had a few conversations on this particular hot topic of using the older method of roasting the veal bones and making stock for the sauces as opposed to the new cost saving buy the base.

Both products are very good. Meaning the base as well as the white bucket of demi sold by the major distributors. I just thought back to when I was learning how to cook in a professional kitchen how it was somewhat of a honor to be the one selected to make stock. Stock duty when I first started was for the Sous Chef and then he was coached along by the chef.

Lately, in most kitchens I have visited and have worked in we have not made stock by the veal bone method.
post #2 of 19
I'm guessing the owners have no intention on letting people spend sometimes hours making a stock from scratch, when comparatively, they can spend just a few bucks to get a very decent base pre-packaged.

Even at home I prefer the bases anymore. In todays world, everything is go go go, and you don't suffer much, by not doing it the "right" way. That's not to say I don't sometimes make a stock from scratch, be it Chicken, Beef, etc.
Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
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Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
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post #3 of 19

I just had to chime in

You really cannot compare the quality of a "CORRECTLY" made stock to that of a base. Most are loaded with sodium and many with MSG.

Foods that are based on stocks are only as good as the stock.

A cook can make mise a white stock in 15 minutes and have it on the fire,and a brown stock in 45-50 minutes, then you let nature take it's course.

I do understand many type of operations do not have the space or the time to produce scratch stocks, (Schools, hospitals and the like).

Bases are not inexpensive,but the type of places that use them usually carry a lower labor cost that they justify the cost of bases.

I do want to stress that stocks are the foundation of many classical cuisines.

Folks, don't ever forget how to "cook"
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #4 of 19
right on cape chef!
(not a chef, but fanatical about stock.)
post #5 of 19
Double right on, CC. Bases don't even come close to real stock and the only demi I'd buy is made by a company in Green Bay, WI called Bonewerkz. I've tried the Karlsberger and Minor's demi and both were nowhere near the real thing.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #6 of 19
I was just learning about glace de viande in class. and i think if places could take one day a month and make a bunch they could use it at their disposal. that stuff lasts for months... even at room temp. then you just reconstitute and go. you can buy it to but ive never used it so i dont know but if anyone wants to try it let me know.

Coffeekit :bounce:
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection" - Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection" - Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #7 of 19
I have to jump on CC's back. Although I haven't been on the savory side for decades, I do homemade soups and such everyday. It is clearly apparent that the only way to extract and consentrate flavor from bulk or sub par ingredients for bases is to use some sort of salt. Decades ago the daily stock pots were a cost cutting factor. I'm having a hard time trying to figure how labor figures into the equation. These are not items that have to be babysat.
Like CC says, let nature take its course.
I would love to see someone analyze the $'s, bases vs real. I have to believe by having a prep person be responsible for trimmings, cuts, reworks etc. getting stocks ready, under supervision of course, it has to be more efficient then buying in cleaned and prepared produce, meats and bases.. I may be wrong though. I understand that prep costs vary from place to place.
This way of thinking is contributing to the negetives of our industry. Why not bring in prepared cold items, then we can get rid of the Garde Manger and call this person salad chef. How many threads are there here about the low payscales in the industry. sorry for the rant
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #8 of 19
i've had cooks in the past grab the base even though there's 15gals of chix stock sitting right next to it for soups. It's pure laziness. they don't have to season using base-never mind the fact that it looks and tastes like cr*p.
post #9 of 19
And that is the reason why I continue to spend almost an entire weekend making veal stock, espagnole sauce and demi-glace (and sometimes glace-de-veau-viande) and canning it (or freezing the demi-glace and gdvv), so that it is ready when I need it.

I've tried a couple of different prepared bases/demi-glaces and find the homemade variety much more palatable.

Actually tried something different this time around too. Instead of using veal neck bones, I tried using veal bones that came in a 50-lb box from Venison America that were from New Zealand. Even though the bones were not cut into pieces and lacking a bone saw, I roasted them as they were, I got the most aromatic and gelatinous veal stock I've made yet.

To me the effort and/or expense is worth it.

doc
post #10 of 19
As many of you know I work for one of the big broad line distributors. I spend a lot of my time working with customers on ways to use value added products to help controle costs and consistancy. There are many excellent products on the market that are very acceptable and have many applications. That being said there is no replacement for the real thing, and I hope there never is. As some have already stated making a good stock and all of the wonderful things that come after is the back bone of being a real cook. It is criticle to understanding food and flavour.

Long live the saucier!
Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
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Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
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post #11 of 19
Chef Bob,
I politely disagree. These products are not acceptable. They rely on the customers ignorance and guide the uneducated or partially educated palate to mediocracy. An educated palate can usually pick up the use of these products.
"It's criticle to understand food and flavor" I agree, but, it's not just chefs or cooks. These short cuts, short cut the customer.
With that said, there are some bases in my cooler :eek:
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #12 of 19
LOL, the nature of the beast
"Isn't it a pity, Isn't it a shame, How we break each others hearts and cause each other pain" George Harrison
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"Isn't it a pity, Isn't it a shame, How we break each others hearts and cause each other pain" George Harrison
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post #13 of 19

Msg

I happen to be one of the unfortunates who react to MSG (thank you for mentioning that cape chef). Its not fun -- many think its a bunch of fooey, but respiratory distress teasing consciousness with heart palpitations, followed by a migraine is pretty scary.

eh oui Chef Bob! Cuisinier des sauces -- vivre pour toujours! ;)
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #14 of 19

Are You Flipping Crazy ! ! ! ! ! ! !

There is NO way, I repeat NO WAY that you can replace the love of a well made stock with a base product. As one of the replies before me said, It all begins with the stock if you start with S*** then you end with S***! If you start with a good product it not hard to finish with a stellar plate if it's the sauce or the risotto or even the savory parmesean grits.
Make your stock and you will taste the difference!
post #15 of 19
I think what we all need to remember is that more gravy is served with fries every day than glace de veau. That is why these products will always have a place in the market weather we like it or not.

Botanique – les sauciers sont les fonds de cuisines. Sans saucier sans cuisine classique! Sans cuisine classique sans raison d’être!
Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
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Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
Reply
post #16 of 19
What is the debate? That fresh, small batch handmade stocks are better than bases? Of course they are.

The issue at hand is BUSINESS. Obviously if it was financially feasible we'd all prefer to use fresh made stock. It would be lovely to be able to eat professionally prepared gourmet meals made with only the finest and freshest ingredients every meal of the day.

(Un)fortunately most people aren't Paris Hilton nor can they afford such meals. Most people need food that is healthy, tasty and affordable. With so much food being purchased to-go, for delivery and for off-site consumption, it is impossible to make the volume of stock needed on site to meet the needs of many restaurants.
post #17 of 19
hum???
What I'm getting here is that chef talk chefs have to do a controlled study and cost analysis on stock vs base. Yes there are many variables (labor, food cost)and some grey area, but I think it can be done. I for one will help fund it. just because I'm curious, plus it shouldn't cost that much.
I'm a firm believer that this did not come about for $$ reasons, but convience. I am also willing to wager one whole dollar that the stock will be cheaper. :D
btw Thank goodness most people aren't like P.H. :eek:
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #18 of 19
I've tried to do a cost analysis a few times and it's tough to control for all the variables. For the most part, where I've worked at least, is that if stuff needs to get done then it gets done. It doesn't matter whether you did 50 or 250 covers. As long as there's someone there to start the stock or strain the stock that's all it takes.

Accountants like to see predictable costs, that's the only reason to use purchased veal stock. You can gauge right down to the penny what it costs to per plate... uh, in theory of course. :)
post #19 of 19
kuan,
That makes a lot of sense. But like you say, if it needs to get done it will. When I left the hot side, this job was incorperated into the Saucier/Banquet chefs duties. As far as the accounting, savings on rabbit food and meat/fowl scraps, seems to be a no brainer in the cost factor. I'm not saying you have to have a butcher on property, but there should be plenty of scraps and Chix bones and thing that used to be pennies. I assume the bones from butchering are now going to the base makers.
We have encountered the same types of items on the sweet side, pastry cream bases, bavoise mix, etc. There is no comparison in cost and quality.
I'm passionate about this for many reasons, but I think the most important is that this these types of products have cut sooo many jobs out of our industry ie: pastry chefs, pastry cooks, sauciers,etc. This evolution into prepared foods does nothing to enforce that the culinary profession will ever get the accredidation or respect as Chefs in other countries. This all has lead to a mediocre product and low wages and a primitive atmosphere, barring the upscale or gormet venues who pass along the cost.
I can't count the number of posts reguarding the miserable hours and low pay!
When I mention a mediocre product, I'm not only referring to items, but also people. If I were to spend time teaching someone how to boil milk and stir in this pastrycream base, or measure 5 gallons of water and 1 pound of base, it short changes the pupil. What does this person have to take with them when they leave. I don't know, I can go on and on. It does make it tough to hear these horror stories in the industry with no way to improve it, there are ways.
jeff
I just had to add, what the bean counters know about food is usually a joke. :D
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