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First time poster. I'm just a home chef that makes meals once a week, but I've been recently gifted a dutch oven and would like to up my sauce game a bit.

I am perhaps too quick to deglaze with a tiny bit of water because the elements on my stove are quite finnicky (rental :(). So I will often deglaze multiple times when cooking. I have noticed that after a deglaze, the meat will often create a new fond. I was experimenting one time and ended up deglazing about 4 times while cooking bacon for a stew. However, afterward I thought to myself, "What if that was just the same brown bits sticking the whole time? Did I even do anything?"

So my question is this: is it useful at all to deglaze like this multiple times? I'm quite afraid of burning the fond as my cookware and stove are not the greatest. I'll often brown the meat and deglaze 1-2 times, set aside, brown the veggies, deglaze 1-2 times, and then one more deglaze when adding in the stock and liquids.

Is this dumb? I haven't been able to find any information on this on the internet. I would love to do an experiment but I am in school and don't really have the ti

Thanks!

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    Note on tags: "enzymatic-browning" is what happens to apples and avocados when you leave them out in air. It's not relevant for heat-related browning of meat and vegetables.
    – R.M.
    Commented Jan 3 at 19:47

3 Answers 3

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Welcome to the site! As you have noticed all that happens is that whatever you loosen up from deglazing just dehydrates and sticks right back on, so deglazing multiple times in most cases is just going to slow your cooking process down. It isn't going to help or hurt the end result flavor-wise.

A small splash of water can prevent burning, but your main method of temperature control needs to be the dial on your stove. If you're constantly burning your fond you need to turn the heat down, and only use water as the exception.

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    Water can be very useful if cooking on those horrible solid metal electric rings that take ages to change temperature. You have to pre-empt the need to turn them down, but even that only goes so far as they spend a long time at intermediate temperatures. Water-cooling the pan is the quickest way to bring down the temperature then. That's probably only once, though perhaps in the form of several small additions of water so you don't overdo it
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 3 at 13:50
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It really depends on what you’re cooking. There are times when you do this because you’re deglazing between batches of additions, such as when cooking down the aromatics before you start a longer simmer.

But you sometimes don’t need to add liquid in those cases, if you’re adding vegetables which will give off liquid as they cook; you can just wait a minute and scrape the pan and most of the fond will stick to the food rather than forming a layer on the pan.

If you’re doing this for something that you’re trying to brown, such as pieces of meat, besides the recommendation for adjusting your heat, you may want to cook with a slightly smaller pan. You want a pan so the pieces aren’t touching and completely cover the surface of the pan, but you also don’t want it so large that there is a lot of the pan showing through.

About 1-2cm between and around the pieces of food is usually a good amount. If you leave too much space, you’ll run into the issue you have, but if you leave too little, you will trap moisture and the food will steam instead of browning.

Also, when making a stew and working in batches like you are, I will deglaze and pour off the liquid after each batch of meat, to be added back in when we start stewing. You can just put it in with the cooked meat.

In less saucy dishes, you can pour it into a separate container and re-use it for each deglazing (adding more liquid if it cooks down too far, or fresh liquid only when it’s reduced too much)

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What you're describing is a viable technique of temperature control that is used in a variety of situations in the kitchen. For example, Italian cooks have elevated it into the orthodox way of cooking risotto.

So, if it works for you, just keep doing it. If you like the meat the way it comes out, then it's good.

As for the fond, you also have to decide by tasting it. It might taste differently after multiple deglazings than after a single one. But a fond is anyway just a nice side effect produced by the cooking of the meat. And there is no law stating that everybody must like one type of fond over another one. So, if you like the way it tastes, it doesn't really matter if it's produced by the same pieces or by different ones. Just eat it, and enjoy!

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