Any good cook’s arsenal must include a good stock or broth because it gives foods an unmatched depth of flavor. Based on how much you create and opt to freeze, you can enjoy the outcome for months or weeks after you make it. Making it is not a very difficult process.
Clarity and lightness of flavor, two essential characteristics of a superb soup, especially consommes, are ensured by skimming the fat from stock or broth. Below, we offer some advice on how to make stocks and how to remove the fat to get a beautiful, clear soup or broth.
There are many reasons to consume bone broth (and to make our own! ), including the amount of gut-healing amino acids, the advantages for joints and skin, the amazing flavor, and the potential to warm us up on a chilly winter day. See Chicken Bone Broth and Why Broth is Awesome. What about the drawbacks, though? At Bone Broth, we have a large selection of the best chicken bone broth.
The majority of the numerous, demonstrably erroneous beliefs regarding broth’s potentially harmful health effects are spreading online. For instance, we’ve already debunked the notion that broth contains too much free glutamate or is contaminated with heavy metals (see Broth: Hidden Dangers in a Healing Food?). However, oxidation, a potential issue with this healthful diet, should not be overlooked. My functional medicine doctor reported noticing a pattern of rising LDL and triglyceride levels in clients who routinely consume homemade broth, which is when I first started considering this possibility. This, in my opinion, may be caused by the lovely coating of fat that floats to the top of our broth rather than the broth itself. Although it may be tempting to keep it for later use in cooking (or even to consume it along with the broth itself), could some of it oxidize and become hazardous due to the lengthy exposure to heat and oxygen during the customary 24- to 4-day simmering?
Sadly, no research has been done to determine how much oxidation takes place in the fat generated from bone broth. But we can use what we understand about oxidative rancidity, the makeup of various animal fats, and the manufacturing of broth to gain a sense of what’s most likely happening!
The number of double bonds in the carbon chains of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats makes them distinct from one another (saturated fatty acids do not contain any double bonds, whereas monounsaturated fats contain just one double bond and unsaturated fats include a number of double bonds.). These double bonds are molecularly unstable because they essentially lack hydrogen atoms. In the presence of heat, light, and air, they are quickly oxidized, through a sequence of events that result in the generation of free radicals and rancidity.
The more double bonds a fatty acid contains, the faster it will oxidize. In light of this, saturated fats tend to be quite stable, whereas monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats both have varying degrees of susceptibility to oxidation. Furthermore, polyunsaturated fats are particularly reactive to oxidation under some conditions (such as when they are being cooked!).
Oxidation Potential of Animal Fats
How does this relate to the components of bone broth, then? Although “saturated fat” is commonly used to describe animal fat, this is a huge oversimplification! All healthy fats, including a little amount of linoleic acid, contain a variety of fatty acids, some of which are saturated and others of which are unsaturated (same as the polyunsaturated fat found in high quantities in vegetable oils). When an animal is cooked for a long time at a high temperature or while exposed to oxygen, the unsaturated fat content of the animal is at risk of oxidation. For instance:
- Fat from chicken or turkey is 29% saturated fatty acids and 65% unsaturated fatty acids (with 20% linoleic acid).
- Cattle fat: 37% saturated, 61% unsaturated (2% linoleic acid)
- Pork fat: 40% saturated, 59% unsaturated (11% linoleic acid)
We cook bones at a temperature just below boiling to create broth (typically 94𝇈C, or 200𝇈F). Despite the fact that fats won’t oxidize as quickly at this temperature as they would in high-temperature cooking methods like frying, damage still happens—especially given how long soup simmers for (the cooking process can run anywhere from a few hours to 48 hrs and beyond!). According to studies, highly unsaturated oils like maize oil, olive oil, and mixed seed oil (sunflower, canola, and safflower) start to oxidize after just 40 minutes of cooking at 80𝇈C. Oxidation increases at higher cooking temperatures and longer cooking times. So, we would anticipate experiencing a similar process in long-cooked bone broth, particularly when using bones from animals with a greater polyunsaturated fat content (such as chicken and other poultry). This is especially true because the fat rises to the surface of the broth and might be exposed to heat and air for hours or even days on end (hello, oxidation!). In search of chicken bone broth? Look nowhere else! Bone broth can take care of you.
What is scum?
The froth or foam that forms on a liquid’s surface is known as scum. not only broth but also other liquids. I won’t worry about the “other liquids” any longer, though, because this is about the scum that develops when cooking bone broth.
Scum is referred to by various names, including “impurities,” “harmless protein,” and “lipoprotein.” Anyhow, you don’t want it in your broth, regardless of its precise description. If you want to include solid or semi-solid pieces in your soup, they should have fallen into the pot rather than been forgotten to be removed.
How is scum removed?
Scum would accumulate and rise to the surface if nothing was done to reduce or stop it. At first in little pieces, the foam eventually covers the majority of the liquid’s surface.
The scum needs to be eliminated before the liquid reaches boiling point, which is the first thing to keep in mind. By then, the scum will have begun to boil into the liquid. The scum cannot be entirely eliminated, even after straining the soup with two layers of cheesecloth.
So, scoop up the scum while the liquid is just beginning to boil and up until it reaches a simmering stage. As carefully as you can, put a bowl on the counter close to the pot. Scoop the scum out and place it in the bowl using a large spoon or a strainer (there is a shallow strainer designed exclusively for skimming off scum).
Repeat the spoon-and-dump method. Depending on the number of bones in the pot, it can take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. Cover the pan and boil the bones to create bone broth till the liquid’s surface is clear of froth.
Fat is not scum
So, this is what a cooking liquid that has no scum looks like before the pan is covered. I prepare bone broth in a big pot. When it’s ready, I separate the liquid into half-gallon containers after cooling it. I store the boxes in the freezer and only remove what I use for a specific recipe.
You could find that when you freeze or chill the soup, a layer appears on top that doesn’t actually look like frozen broth. Those are fat. You can choose to either scrape it off or leave it in place.
Is it possible to stop scum from forming?
Yes, based on my experiences. There are 3 ways to entirely stop scum from growing, and one technique to just partially stop it.
Reverse the process and begin with reducing scum formation.
Most chefs agree that we should start with ice water while making broth. Put the vegetables and bones in a pot, cover them with tap water, and heat them. I carried on doing it that way for many years before realizing it was the greatest way to guarantee the production of slime—lots of scum. As a result of my experiments, I learned that adding bones to water that was rapidly boiling significantly reduced the amount of scum that floated to the surface.
Is that information useful? But since the production of scum can be completely avoided, why bother to reduce it? How do you do that?
These three methods are:
- Remove any and all bones from the meat. The meat, not the bone, is where the scum is produced.
If you plan to use bones that still have some attached meat and you do not wish to extract the meat:
- Before adding the bones to the water in the saucepan, you should first roast them in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until they are browned and no “bloody” juices seep out of them. The black soup that results from roasting the bones is a drawback.
- Put the bones in a pot, cover them with water, and bring them to a boil. Do not let the water simmer during this time. After straining the bones, discard the water, and then run each individual bone fragment under running water until no further contaminants emerge. After cleaning out the pot or obtaining a new one, place the bones in it, cover them with water, add the aromatics, and continue to cook the mixture.
Why does your bone broth have such a low percentage of fat in it? Does this change the health benefits in any way?
As a result of the preferences of certain of our patrons, we remove the fat from the broth before serving it. There is no reduction in the beneficial effects on one’s health as a result of eliminating the fat from the broth. There is a compelling post on The Paleo Mom’s website that is crammed full of scientific justifications behind the recommendation that you remove the fat from your bone broth.
As a result of the fact that our broth gels when it is chilled, the vast majority of individuals are taken aback when they learn that it contains only trace amounts of fat. They incorrectly ascribe this to the fat content, although the explanation is actually due to the presence of gelatin in our broth. Bone Broth in Melbourne is home to a diverse selection of the city’s top chicken bone broth.
Creating your own beef or chicken bone broth? The fat that has accumulated on top of your homemade soup is simple to remove. When the stock is at the desired temperature, strain it through cheesecloth. The broth will pass through without any difficulty, but the fat will remain behind. Alternatively, once the broth has been cooled down to room temperature, you can store it in the refrigerator. After some time has passed, the fat will begin to solidify on top of the broth, at which point the broth should begin to change into a gel, and it will be simple to scrape the fat off the surface of the gel using a spoon or a spatula. If you don’t like a lot of fat, it might be a good idea to remove the fat from your homemade bone broth. This will also result in a decrease in the number of calories in the broth.
Skimming Fat from Broth
By skimming off the excess fat using these methods, you may ensure that your homemade soups have as few calories and fat grams as is humanly possible.
- Make use of a large metal spoon and skim the fat that rises to the surface of the hot soup or broth in order to remove the fat.
- You might also cover the soup or broth and place it in the refrigerator for six to eight hours, or until the fat forms on the surface of the liquid. After that, scrape the solidified fat from the pan with a spoon.
- A pitcher that can separate fat from water is another helpful item. A spout is located close to the base of it. After the broth has been put into the pitcher, it is left to sit for a couple of minutes before being stirred. Due to the fact that fat floats to the surface, the liquid can be poured off, leaving behind the solid fat in the container.
- The fat-skimming ladle is yet another instrument that might be utilized. The lard is retained in the ladle thanks to a series of slots located towards the top edge.
Saving The Fat From Your Nourishing Bone Broth
Preparing your own bone broth can be one of the most amazing and healing acts you can do for your body, and we say this over and over again. But were you aware that the fat that is extracted from the bone broth may also be used as an excellent and nutritious cooking fat? With the arrival of fall and the gradual shortening of the days, it becomes increasingly difficult to resist the urge to warm yourself with a delicious bowl of piping-hot soup. Even though bone broth is lovely at any time of the year, there is something particularly alluring about the golden spoonfuls and spirals of fragrant vapor that come from a simmering pot of bone broth in the wintertime. Keeping the fat that has been skimmed from the top of the bone broth is not only a fantastic method to have yourself a very nutrient-dense cooking fat, but it also adheres to the principle of traditional cooking, which emphasizes not throwing away any portion of a meal. Not only will you save money by putting the gathered fat in a tiny container made of glass, but you will also ensure that you will always have access to an excellent source of pure animal fat to include in your diet. This is of utmost significance during the winter months when we require a diet high in nutrients in order to keep our energy levels up.
The bones are removed from the broth once it has been cooked for the appropriate period of time (the amount of time required to simmer the broth varies significantly depending on whether you are using beef, poultry, or fish), and the residual golden liquid is transferred into a bowl made of glass. Place the bowl in the freezer of the fridge and leave it there until a thin layer of fat with yellowish color forms on the surface of the liquid that has become gel-like. The use of this fat is fantastic for high-heat cooking, despite the fact that some people may look at it with scary fear and contempt. It is exceptionally high in a variety of nutrients and also imparts a delicious flavor to the food.
Eliminating fat is a really straightforward process. Drag a thin, flat spatula across the surface of the dish containing the broth very gently while making an effort to scrape out only the fat. If the mixture has gelled appropriately, the fat will easily separate from the broth. When we want to make things simpler, we normally use another spatula to scrape the fat onto a flat plate before putting it away in a mason jar. After that, we store it in the refrigerator.
Reducing the Risk
In recent years, longer simmering durations for bone broth have been the norm since they enhance bone demineralization, which ultimately results in increased mineral content in the finished product. My preferred method for making bone broth is to simmer the bones for anywhere between 36 and 48 hours, or until they crumble easily in my hands (at this stage, the bones themselves are completely edible, despite the fact that they do not have the best flavor). To our great fortune, we do not have to sacrifice the health benefits that come from cooking bone broth at a low temperature and for a long time in order to reduce the dangers associated with consuming fats that have been oxidized.
So the question is, how can we minimize our intake of potentially oxidized fat from bone broth without completely eliminating this delicious dish from our diet?
- The simplest solution is to remove the fat that has risen to the top of the broth and then throw it away rather than consume it. We can use a spoon to remove the oily layer while the broth is simmering, or we can wait until the fat has solidified and turned a yellow or white color after the soup has been refrigerated. (It’s important to keep in mind that animal fat has a tendency to clog plumbing, so it’s best to dispose of it in a wastebasket rather than the sink.)
- Bones from animals with a higher percentage of saturated fat (which is more heat-resistant) and a lower percentage of polyunsaturated fat should be used (think: beef and lamb bones rather than chicken, duck, or turkey bones).
- Make use of bones that come from animals that were grown in places that are free from industrial pollution and do not contain heavy metal pollutants. (Not only are certain heavy metals toxic to the human body when taken in excess, but copper and iron, in particular, operate as oxidation promoters and can raise the oxidation rate of fragile lipids.)
- It is best to avoid consuming any broth fat that has an odd flavor (rancid fat has a taste that is unmistakably unpleasant!).
- When making broth, utilizing a pressure cooker helps to reduce the amount of oxygen that comes into contact with the fat. Instant Pot, here we come!
- Choose pre-made bone broths from reputable brands like Kettle & Fire that are of high quality and already have the fat removed.
Keeping these pointers in mind will allow us to enjoy the advantages of bone broth without having to worry about ingesting any potentially dangerous oxidized lipids.
If you intend to make a gourmet pan sauce with your bone broth, skimming the fat off the top of the soup is a good idea so that the sauce does not separate when it is cooked. When it comes to producing bone broth to drink, everything comes down to personal preference. Why take the lipids from the bones if you are going to the trouble of collecting bones from animals that were pastured and grass-fed? They have excellent physical health. In a healthy animal, fat makes up roughly 80 percent of the bone marrow. You need the fat in order to get the nutrients that are found in the bone marrow. It is possible for fat and nutrients to be separated using industrial procedures, which are significantly more advanced than those a home cook has access to. Some of the elements in broth can only be fully absorbed by the body if they are combined with fat. Check out our chicken bone broth made from Melbourne chickens here.
In addition to this, there is no requirement for you to refrigerate the broth. When you are finished making the broth, set it aside to rest for one hour. Make sure that the temperature does not drop below 160 degrees Fahrenheit by checking it regularly. I start filling jars and bags with broth using a Pyrex measuring cup that has a capacity of four cups. Before you fill the jars, run them through a fast wash cycle in the dishwasher or soak them in water that is toasty warm in the sink if you are using glass jars and are concerned about the temperature. This will ensure that the jars are ready to be filled. It is best to avoid drastic temperature shifts wherever possible while working with thinner jars.