The Egg White Trick For Shining Up A Cloudy Stock

Have you ever noticed how whenever you make a pot full of chicken, beef, or pork stock, the top of the liquid starts to collect this weird grayish, brownish foam? Many people may not know what causes this, what it even is, or how to fix it. According to Miller's Bio Farm, that scum is actually congealed and denatured proteins that are not harmful to anyone. While cloudy scum does not have the most visually appealing look, it is a result of the proteins from the meat breaking down. It isn't harmful to consume and doesn't have much flavor, so what's the big deal?

The reason that a majority of cookbooks and recipes say to skim the top of your stock pot is a pretty obvious one: it clarifies your stock and leaves a nice, clear end product that's perfect for soups and more. Taking out the scum makes the stock look and taste much more clean and clarified. It's recommended to take out the scum especially if you are making a pot of stock to jar and store. If not removed, the scum will break down into the soup and make the stock cloudy (via Reddit). Now that you know what the scum in stock is and what causes it, there are a few tricks you can use to get rid of it, if desired.

To skim or not to skim

There are a few ways to tackle that pesky scum that appears in your stock. The first one is the most common and easy method to try. All you need to do is skim the top of the stock pot with a spoon or strainer repeatedly to remove the scum, taking anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to complete properly (via Umami Days). Doing this will result in a properly clarified stock that'll be a wonderful addition to any dish. There are other methods to remove the scum, such as the easy method of egg rafting.

According to Sailing Selkie, egg rafting is where you incorporate whipped egg whites into your stock. The egg white coagulates with the proteins, causing them to become much easier to skim from the top. You can use a strainer or a wet muslin cloth to separate the undesired scum from the rest of the stock. What if you don't want to skim? Some recipes aren't impacted from leaving the scum in the stock, particularly with a more darkly colored dish. Some of those dishes, such as minestrone soup and beef bourguignon, have a heartier flavor and don't require the clarity of a perfect stock to shine.