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I usually bring my soon to be vegetable stock to a boil and then let it simmer for about an hour. One of my favourite ingredients is dried Shiitake, which I tend to buy whole and in bulk.

Should I go with the common wisdom of increasing the surface area by cutting the dried mushrooms into smaller pieces to extract the most flavour, or does it not really matter under the conditions of making the vegetable stock? Perhaps dried Shiitake, at that temperature, already gives me complete extraction from the interior, and I get to indulge in keeping them whole and pretty.

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Are whole dried Shiitake sufficient for complete flavour extraction in my stock

Of course! Don't bother cutting them up, as that would make them prone to releasing too much of their flavor long before the stock is ready.

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    Also, it's pretty challenging to cut them while they're still dried.
    – FuzzyChef
    Dec 18, 2022 at 1:38
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This comes down to one simple question: Is the flavor you are getting while leaving them whole sufficiently strong for your tastes?

If the answer is yes, then just keep doing what you’re doing.

If the answer is no, then you might consider increasing the surface area, or you might consider adding more of them, or you might consider cooking longer, or possibly even cooking hotter.

In this particular case, I would probably go for adding more of them over the other options. You’re probably already cooking long enough to extract as much flavor as possible (you will not get all of it, as it becomes harder to extract more the more you extract), so increasing cook time, temperature, or surface area is not likely to have a very big impact.

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