Two easy ways to make shiitake mushroom stock. Choose between fresh or dry mushrooms depending on availability!
Bone broth is nice to have and all, but I honestly don’t use it enough to warrant always having it in my fridge. If I had enough freezer space then maybe things would be different but for now I fulfill my stock needs pretty easily. The reason being: I go through ridiculous amounts of shiitake mushrooms every week.
Shiitake has become a basic staple my weekly grocery shopping, I put it in everything and have a reliable source to get them fresh and with stems. So every week when I clean and store my mushrooms I snip off the stems, fill up a reusable bag and chuck it in my fridge until needed.
Please note that fresh and dried shiitake are not interchangeable; the texture and umami concentration of both are drastically different. If you open a bag of dried shiitake the smell will be way stronger than that of fresh mushrooms. This is because dried shiitake contains guanylic acid which is the source of it’s umami flavor. Fresh shiitake has a much lower amount; I prefer using stems now since they come with the mushrooms that I use for cooking. In this sense they’re sort of an added benefit. However if you’re buying these for the primary purpose of making shiitake stock with consuming the mushrooms as the added benefit, dried is 100% the best choice.
Method 2: Soak Dried Mushrooms
So, very simple: rinse off dried shiitake and then soak in water. If you want best results, cold water overnight. In a hurry? Warm water for however long you can afford it. The flavor will be much less pronounced if you use hot water. I’d say if you want to make like a litre of stock, use about 6~10 mushrooms. Look for thicker ones when you buy them! Use the mushrooms in recipes too after soaking, squeeze the excess water out of them if you’ll be using them in a stir fry.
Method 1: Simmer Fresh Stems
Also very simple: collect a bunch of fresh stems, throw them in a pot, simmer for anywhere between 30 minutes to 3 hours. Remove the stems and squeeze the juice out when done. You want to at least have a handful, but the more you use the stronger the stock will be. This will be a lot lighter than using dried shiitake. If you have the means to, you can dry the stems before using them to make the flavor more pronounced.
And yeah that’s it. Easiest stock to make ever. For me at least. You might be the type of person who goes through a lot of chicken bones or has a lot of veggie scraps (you can add mushroom stems to those too!). In that case, explore your options and see what type of stock is easiest to make for you!