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I've been making veal stock for about a year, and really enjoy the process. It generally takes me two days: the first to generate a base stock, the second to reduce it. I've noticed that when I refrigerate the product of either day overnight, a layer of particulate settles on the bottom of pot. Poured carefully through a cheesecloth, I can generally decant the dark, almost transparent liquid off the particulate.

What have I wrought? Have I just lurched my way to a low-grade consomme, or am I doing something to degrade the flavor of the stock? I assume the particles are denatured proteins, but honestly I haven't the slightest idea.

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Yes, they are most likely to be denatured protein. It is feasible that they also contain some other matter like stray pieces of vegetable, but the bulk should be the protein.

When the particles are small enough, they are agitated in the boiling water and become a suspension. When you let them rest, they slowly find their way to the bottom, due to gravity.

So, the answer to your other questions is yes and yes. Are you approaching consomme when you filter them out? Yes, you do. Are you removing flavor? Also yes. After all, it's not the water that flavors the stock, it's what remains in it from the veal. While the pure protein doesn't have much flavor by itself, enough stuff tends to stick to it to make it flavorful.

Consomme is made clear for presentation purposes and for texture, not for flavor. The loss is slight, but it is a loss, not a gain. It is up to you to decide which stock you prefer, the filtered or unfiltered version, there is no single "best" answer.

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