Glace and Demi-GlaceMatthewRyan

Glace and Demi-Glace

Master Class application for your Stock

Introduction  –  Chicken  –  Pork  –  Beef

  Glace  –  Tonkotsu Ramen

Method Summary

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The types of products in this category of concentrated stock/broth/soup/sauce flavors can easily get confusing so let’s define some terms so we all understand what we are talking about and what exactly it is that we can make with our newly acquired stocks and broths.

This gets a little complicated in terminology as to what is what when it comes to traditional French cooking. I will lay out the basics of what it means to follow the official Escoffier method of making Glace, Demi-Glace and a couple of Mother Sauces, but you can adapt this to your own needs and desires. No need to get hung up in semantics.

Brown StockMaximum reductionTrue Beef Glace

What is Bouillon, Base, and Glace/Demi-Glace?

The French sure know how to show off with their food and the classic Glace & Demi-Glace are one of their crowning achievements. It is the most concentrated form of stock and broth possible that can easily be stored and added to applications last minute with epic flavor.
The dry powdered bouillon that you buy in the store by brands like Knorr are more salt and chemicals than anything else, I generally will pass on these except for a few limited circumstances and they are better than nothing, but are my last choice in the arsenal.
The pastes and bases are far superior products to powdered ones and I use those a lot. They can church up a soup or sauce real fast and bring the flavors of this elaborate process to bear by the spoonful. Better Than Bouillon is my favorite brand and they make quite an array of flavors including low-sodium ones which are perfect for fortifying stocks and broths.
Glace and Demi-Glace are two refined bases that may or may not contain a thickening agent like flour. A well-made base and a Glace, are essentially the same thing except that a store-bought base like Better Than Bouillon is typically a concentrated broth base. This is a wonderful thing! It has tons of flavor, dissolves easily, and is long term shelf-stable in the fridge. The drawback is that they are pretty salty, even the low sodium ones are still pretty salt in of themselves. Bases are often meant to be diluted with water back into a broth, so they are a full spectrum flavor that has been concentrated down to a paste.

Let’s start with definitions


Powder that resembles the flavor of broth which, may or may not, have any real food components in it. Often full of salt and chemicals that mimic the flavor you are looking for. Tastes better than water, but is the lowest on the totem pole for flavor and quality.


As the name suggests, this is a thick paste of super-reduced broth that is very concentrated in flavor. Different brands will have different amounts of stock, or gelatin, components to them. In general though,  these products are highly seasoned, very salty, and meant to be diluted back to their original product. You can dissolve one jar of base into approximately 3-5 gallons of water and have a balanced broth for myriad applications. There are a few great brands out there that make this product and it serves a great purpose, I use Better than Bouillon on a regular basis across many of their flavors.


The French term for a reduced stock, which we now know is different than a broth. Glace is a stock that has reduced so far as to become a thick syrup. We are talking around a 90% water reduction here and this is almost pure gelatin and protein at this point. Glace means “Glaze” or “Ice/icing” in French and is pronounced “Gloss”. You can make a Glace from any protein, with beef being the most traditional, but pork, chicken, and fish are options as well. Each Glace or sauce derivative is named by the protein source or final color of the end product in French. I’ll spare you all the esoteric terms here.
This reduction is a true Glace in that all the thickness and texture is due to the reduction of the gelatin and protein. No flour or starches are used to thicken this at all. The primary difference to note here is that a base or paste does not contain very much, if any, gelatin or collagen. Glace has a tremendous amount of both and is like a cube of jello when made correctly

Brown Stock:

Brown stock is made from a combination of Veal and Beef. If you used only Beef you could call it Beef Stock and vice versa for Veal stock, but classic French cooking always uses both together so they call it Brown Stock. Brown Stock is what we made in the beef stage before without the veal, but the classic French version incorporates more meat into the stock process and goes more the Bone Broth route from start to finish rather than so specifically separating Stock from Broth, as we did. If you combine 1 part of your Beef Broth and 2 parts Stock, approximately, you would have what traditional Brown Stock is in flavor.

Espagnole Sauce:

This is Brown Stock that has been thickened with a traditional flour roux. If you reduce Brown Stock patiently and thoroughly you get Glace, if you thicken it artificially with starch then it is Espagnole Sauce. Thickening with starch is not bad or cheating, it is just one path to take. Espagnole is considered one of the 5 Mother Sauces of French cooking. The point here is to make a great stock and only thicken what you need per application.
One main difference is that Espagnole Sauce is traditionally made by mounting it with another round of mirepoix, tomato paste and herbs/spices. You are repeating the broth flavors while mounting the stock with starch to help compensate for the dulling effect that starch has.


This translates to a half gloss or half glaze. It is equal parts Espagnole Sauce( Brown stock and flour roux) and Brown Stock. So essentially if you took, say, 1 quart of Brown Stock and split it into two parts and appropriately thickened one half with a flour-based roux and then reincorporated the rest of the stock in and reduced the resulting mixture in volume by half, you would have a true Demi-Glace. Likewise, if you only used half the roux required to thicken one quart of Brown Stock and then reduced the whole mixture by half, you would get the same result. And….. essentially, if you took a true beef/veal Glace reduction that has no starch in it and diluted it by 50% with Brown Stock, you would, for all intents and purposes, have a Demi-Glace, or half gloss/glaze.

While we are on the subject I will lay out the other mother sauces and a couple of useful terms real quick.

The 5 mother sauces are:

  • Bechamel- a milk/dairy-based sauce, thickened with flour
  • Espagnole Sauce- a fortified brown beef/veal stock, thickened with a brown roux.
  • Velouté – a light-colored (chicken, vegetable, or fish) stock-based sauce, thickened with a roux or a liaison (a mixture of egg yolks and cream)
  • Hollandaise- an emulsion-based sauce made of butter and lemon (or vinegar), using egg yolks as the emulsifier.
  • Tomato Sauce- Made from scratch, the real deal, using fresh tomatoes and long-simmering times.

From these 5 Mother sauces are born nearly every sauce known to man, at least in European and Western cuisines. Asian cuisines play by their own rules and ingredients.
So what does this mean for us at this stage of the game? We have made an insane amount of stock and broth from one or more proteins and we need to store it.
For storage, you can easily find the information you need for proper canning if you have the equipment. If you have the equipment then you probably already know how to do it.

As for Glaces, Demi-Glaces, and other words people probably mispronounce, what should we do?!

Personally, I make Glace. Pure and simple. I will make it from bone broth though rather than just stock or broth. If you try and make Glace from pure broth you will burn it, there just simply is not enough fat it in it. You can get it down to a good paste consistency though that resembles a store-bought base.
You can make Glace from pure stock, which is very traditional and perfectly ok. You will end up with a syrup you can pour into a mold like an ice cube tray (silicone ones are best)  and get bite-sized meat candy. Do not eat one! Tempting yes, I know, but it’s like drinking a gallon of soup in one bite. Trust me, this is a no go.
Traditional Glace will give any sauce or soup tons of texture and depth of flavor in the smallest storable package, but with how we now make our stock and broth as two worlds divided, making a traditional Glace from our untraditional stock will not have as much meat flavor as it should.
So, I will make a bone broth using 2 or 3 parts stock to 1 part broth and adjust it as necessary to make it the best tasting possible. When the flavor is perfect then reduce it to a syrup ever so very slowly.DO NOT RUSH THIS!  Please don’t come all this way and then be in a hurry and burn your Glace. Put on some music, do a load of laundry, have a glass of wine, and stir this every 5-10 minutes for however long it takes. Make it your Saturday Zen garden.
Your goal here is to have the best tasting combo of flavor and texture between the two products you have created reduced to the smallest volume you can without burning it. WITHOUT BURNING IT!
Once it gets down to the home stretch I’ll actually pour it from a saucepan to a really wide non-stick skillet to increase the surface area. This reduces it faster without reducing it hotter. You’re welcome. If you do this then you are babysitting and stirring full time, don’t get distracted!
Once fully reduced you can pour it into a mold, freeze it, and remove it from the mold and place in a freezer approved storage vessel of your choosing. One of these “Ice/Glace” cubes, (pun always intended), will bring tremendous flavor and unctuous texture to any sauce.

When do I use this?

For example, you cook a couple of steaks in your cast iron skillet and then set them aside to rest on a plate covered in foil because you know what you are doing, right?  You know you have about 5 minutes to whip up a great pan sauce with the leftover drippings. There is no way in hell you could make Brown Stock or Espagnole Sauce in 5 minutes, but wait! You have real Beef Glace in your freezer!
Drop a cube of Glace into your skillet with some butter and a little flour. Deglaze with a little wine, water, or any liquid and in the time it takes to make a roux you will have a sauce that tastes like you are dining in a 5-star French restaurant. Your sauce will taste like 96 hours worth of work!
Any sauce or gravy can really benefit from some Glace mounted in right at the end. It brinks a silky texture and depth of flavor you can’t get any other way. Some Chicken Glace dropped into your thanksgiving gravy right before showtime is magic. The same goes for your Saturday morning biscuits and gravy which is working with more of a bechamel sauce, but that glace will kick up a bechamel like nobody’s business! And now you have options since you’ve made all 3 stocks, broths, and glaces. Biscuits and Gravy is usually made with sausage, sometimes beef or half and half. You could use pork glace and keep it on the same plane,  you could use beef and really kick up the roasted flavor, or you could use chicken and have all the flavors meld transparently into that “Ah-ha!” moment.
Optionally, you can incorporate roux into the Glace before it has fully reduced on its own but still has at least 10 minutes of cook time left to fully cook the flour or you can make a traditional Demi-Glace and reduce it down to a pourable paste you can freeze in ice cube trays. This makes a Glace that is not appropriate for all applications, but saves a step and saves time.


Glace without a roux:


You can add as much as you want for flavor without affecting the texture
You don’t have to guess how much roux is appropriate per rendered cube of Glace for universal application.
You are not dulling your hard-earned Glace flavor with starch.
You can use this Glace at any point in the cooking process without restriction.


It can take longer, up to 10 minutes, to cook the raw flour flavor out of a roux when making a sauce. In a quickfire sauce, while steak is getting cold, those could be precious minutes.

Glace with a roux:


You can thicken a sauce while it is hot without making a flour or corn starch slurry by dropping in a flavor bomb that already has cooked out the flour flavor and rendered the thickening properties.
This is the quickest application of flavor and texture and the perfect last-minute accent to mount into a sauce to help it set.
You can start with a roux-based Glace and simply thin it out with the liquid of your choice for an instant sauce. Take a few cubes of Roux Glace and a couple of cups of reduced red wine and you have a killer instant sauce. Use that sauce to deglaze your skillet after cooking some steaks and the date you are trying to impress will propose to you. Don’t believe me? Try it…


If you are relying on this Glace for flavor, you can over thicken your intended application.
If you don’t remember the thickening power by volume of the roux you used divided by the number of cubes you made then you can end up scrambling to thin out a sauce on the fly.
Having a roux incorporated Glace or roux-based Demi-Glace is pretty traditional, but I feel that thickening power is something to be decided by the dish and should be pre-meditated when you are cooking a meal. I prefer to use a traditional, unstarched, Glace reduction from my freezer as an intense flavor boost. I typically do not add roux to my Glace. If I decide to make a true Demi-Glace by combining Espagnole and Brown Stock then I know what I am making and I will calculate that meal accordingly.

One final note on this subject is:

Beurre manié

This is also a traditional French, ace up the sleeve.
 Beurre manié is a mixture of equal parts flour and room temperature butter, by weight, that is whisked well together but uncooked. This can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer or made on the fly.
The benefit here is that the fat of the butter surrounds each molecule of the flour and doesn’t allow it to clump so you can drop it into a hot application and it will thicken without clumping whereas normally you would have to mix water with flour to make a slurry and the results can be less desirable.
Beurre manié has its maximum thickening potential from being uncooked, but brings no flavor to the table.
Roux starts on the same spectrum as Beurre manié, but the longer you cook it the less thickening power it has and the more depth of flavor it gains.
For something like Gumbo, you should make the darkest and tastiest roux you can make and back thicken with Beurre manié or make two rouxs. One for flavor and one for thickening. This is an advanced level approach, but worth noting.
For a sauce you had to thin out on the fly or miscalculated for thickness with your roux, you can fix easily with Beurre manié.

In summary:

Glace, pronounced “Gloss”, is a fully reduced traditional stock or bone broth stock and a Demi-Glace is either a 50% thickened brown stock or a 50% diluted Glace.
Glace is best used to finish and set a sauce in the final stages or to dilute down with a liquid and become the foundation of your sauce.
Thickening a Glace with a flour-based roux ahead of time is a personal preference and depends on how you will use it most.

Introduction  –  Chicken  –  Pork  –  Beef

  Glace  –  Tonkotsu Ramen

Method Summary

Return to Blog Homepage