Why is chicken stock cooked for 4-6 hours and beef stock for 6-8 hours?

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The different cooking times for stocks have to do with beliefs about the amount of time necessary to extract the best amount of gelatin and flavor from the bones being used. Beef and veal bones are thicker, heavier and generally higher in gelatin than chicken bones, so more time is necessary to extract what they have to offer.

That said, the best amount of cooking time for each stock is actually a long running and ongoing debate. For example, when I was in culinary school a few years ago, I was taught 3-4 hours for chicken stock, not 4-6 hours.

While you want to simmer your bones long enough to get the good stuff out, there are also concerns about undesirable flavors developing or flavor compounds breaking down in stocks that are simmered for too long. Other chefs argue that simmering beyond a certain point doesn’t offer any benefits and merely wastes energy and time.

Question Submitted by Toya


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The Cardinal Rules of Stock Making

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