I've just had a brown chicken stock on the simmer for the last 8 hours, not planning for that long but got called out. Nonetheless, the liquid has reduced by about 1/2 - 2/3.

Would taking it off the heat now and adding cold water to both bring the liquid quantity back up and cool the stock for refrigerating be an appropriate rescue?

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    For storage purposes, you don't want to bring the liquid quantity back up now. You want to bring it up later when you use it, or even use it in its concentrated form (demiglace). Even as stock, it is supposed to lose lots of liquid by evaporation, you shouldn't get 1l of stock out of 1 l of water+flavor ingredients. I can tell you the exact amount later when I'm at home where my books are. For cooling, just use shallow containers.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 13:28
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    Also, if you were going to cool + dilute in one step, ice is a far better option.
    – derobert
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 14:34
  • You shouldn't cool+dilute as you're adding bacteria to your broth. That's a big no-no. Leave it concentrated, and dilute when used, as rumtscho suggests. Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


I have to ask, why would you want to add water? Chicken stock should simmer 8 hours. That is the optimal time to extract all flavours. What you have there is (probably) perfect. However, if you don't want as much flavour, add the water later, not now. Also, to cool, the best way to do it is in an ice bath or a cold water bath (one where there is a constant slow source of running cold water).

  • 1
    I purely wanted to add water as when I came home, there was hardly any liquid left. But after straining through cloth, I got about 500mL (1/2 quart) from the remains of a small roast chicken, so I'm thinking all is good.
    – jontyc
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 0:52
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    Nice.... I wasn't trying to be a dick or seem 'elitist', I was just curious... I usually make 8 or 10 + litres of stock at a time... Your reason makes perfect sense... Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 16:19
  • 1
    You didn't come across as a dick or elitist, at least to me anyway. I appreciated your response.
    – jontyc
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 0:56
  • I have cooked about 4 quarts/liters of stock down to about 20-25% of it's volume (after cooking and removing fat). I did the math so that I could freeze it in an ice-cube tray, and each cube would make a cup of stock. It turned out very well; it was interesting seeing how rubbery the concentrate was when frozen. So figure out how much stock you expected, and concentrate it so it takes less space. You can add water during prep to make up the difference, or just toss a bit into a sauce.
    – JSM
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 21:04

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