Pho recipe yield amount
Hi everyone: I have a question about how pho recipes specify a yield amount. Generally a recipe would list the ingredients, how you prepare them, then cooking instructions. Usually at the end a recipe would say something like "yields 4 gallons" or "yield 12 quarts". I think I know the purpose/reason for this but how can anyone be sure what the final amount of broth is, given all that boiling off and adding more water multiple times? What are some of the best ways to ensure you get the right yield, and thus I also assume, the right taste? I'm sure if you've done this many times then you could eyeball it and get it right. But what should newbies do? Thanks.
One of the things that make great chefs or cooks great at what they do is knowing what they use and what they should end up with. Your recipe tells you that if you use a certain amount of ingredients then you should expect to end up with certain amount of food, either I quantities (like gallons) or in number of servings (like "serves 6").
In addition a good recipe should also tell you if you can adjust [something] to taste at the end. This lets you know that if you have personal taste or preference then there are things you can adjust while there are other things not to be messed with (at least until you're more experienced with the dish). Achieve the right yield should give you the right taste, according to the recipe. But as already mentioned, you can adjust to your own taste.
All that said, you should know the capacity of your pot, and utilize measuring devices to start the cooking process in the right ball park. If you're already measuring other ingredients then just treat water as another ingredient, because it is. This way you know how much is 5 gallons or 8 gallons in your pot, with and without other ingredients' volume placed within it. The yield (in gallons for example) is simply the amount of broth in gallons when all solids have been removed. Again if you have measured the liquid on the way in, or know your pot well, then you should be able to eyeball your yield.
Note that it's ok to mark your pots and pans for the volume you often use. Nothing wrong with it. In fact, many restaurant and professional equipment do have built-in measuring marks to aid professional cooks do their job more accurately.
You're overthinking it. Just remember 2 things: 1) Follow your recipe, especially the measuring and topping off part, and 2) adjust to taste at the end. If you're a newbie at this pho cooking thing and/or not sure what good pho is supposed to taste (an important requirement to "adjust to taste") then item 1) is obviously more important.
If you're following a recipe then just do what it tells you to do, including measuring everything as it tells you. After becoming proficient, you can start making changes to ingredients that will better suit you. The yield amount at the end is what the recipe tells you that you should expect to have/end up with at that time. If you have more than suggested, then you can make some adjustments (such boiling off more liquid without all solids taken out). If you have less, then just make up with more water and bring to boil before serving. In either case, any adjustment should be made to your own taste. This is pretty basic to all cooking really.