Even if you consider yourself to be something of a home chef, it can be easy to confuse stock, broth, and bouillon. They seem as if they are interchangeable and basically the same but they all offer their own individual benefits.
Knowing the difference between bouillon, broth, and stock can make you more efficient and effective as a cook and allow you to get the more refined flavor out of your dishes that you are looking for. Plus, it makes you feel just a little bit smarter to be able to point out the difference to your foodie friends and family members.
What Is Broth?
Broth is generally produced by using the meat of an animal. You can add things such as salt or other specific spices but you need that meat to really have a true broth.
Unlike stock, broth is seasoned. It is sometimes consumed by itself.
Broths are generally used for soups of a wide variety as they are the base of the soup itself. You can get creative with your broth, implementing a variety of different spices to really get the taste as you want it to be. The possibilities might not be endless but they certainly are plentiful.
What Is Stock?
Similarly to broth, meat is used in the creation of stock but the difference here is that the bones are used as well. This is because there is additional flavor in the bones. These bones, when allowed to simmer over long periods of time, can extract that flavor into the stock and give it a whole new dimension.
Unlike broth, stock is not seasoned. Therefore it is usually not eaten by itself.
Stocks are very common in all sorts of different foods. This is because they are not only a great way to not only infuse the flavor of that stock into the meal but also a great source of additional moisture when it is necessary.
There are common store-bought stocks that you can use in a pinch but it is easy to create your own stock at home in a matter of hours, especially if you plan to cook the meat that night anyway. Why let the scraps go to waste when you can create a tasty stock out of it that you can use on other meals? This might be the most versatile of the three.
What Is Bouillon?
Bouillon is basically dehydrated meat broth and animal fat in powder form or compressed into cubes. It typically contains added salt, spices, and monosodium glutamate to enhance flavors.
Maggi had the first commercial bouillon cube. It was introduced in 1908. See the Wikipedia bouillon cube page for more information.
Bouillon is generally used for soups but also has other uses as well. Bouillon powders and cubes can be used for cooking pasta and even poaching fish. Bouillon takes a bit of knowledge to use but it can infuse a dish with flavor in short order.
Whatever your choice, these three cooking staples can bring a lot to a dish. Maybe you are experimenting with a more traditional soup with a kick or perhaps you are concocting a masterpiece and looking for different flavor sources.
Regardless of what you choose to create, you can rest assured that using a stock, broth, or bouillon will give you the amount of flavor that can really kick things up to the next level.