Broth is a savory liquid made of water in which bones, meat, fish, or vegetables have been simmered. It can be eaten alone, but is most commonly used to prepare other dishes such as soups, gravies, and sauces.
Commercially prepared liquid broths are available, typically for chicken broth, beef broth, and vegetable broth. In North America dehydrated meat stock, in the form of tablets, is called a bouillon cube. Industrially produced bouillon cubes were commercialized by Maggi in 1908 and by Oxo in 1910. Using commercially prepared broths allows cooks to save time in the kitchen.
While many draw a distinction between stock and broth, the details of the distinction often differ. One possibility is that stocks are made primarily from animal bones, as opposed to meat, and therefore contain more gelatin, giving them a thicker texture. Another distinction that is sometimes made is that stock is cooked longer than broth and therefore has a more intense flavor. A third possible distinction is that stock is left unseasoned for use in other recipes, while broth is salted and otherwise seasoned and can be eaten alone.
In Britain, "broth" can refer to a soup which includes solid pieces of meat, fish, or vegetables, whereas "stock" would refer to the purely liquid base. Traditionally, according to this definition, broth contained some form of meat or fish; however, nowadays it is acceptable to refer to a strictly vegetable soup as a broth.
In the late 18th century, Count Rumford (1753-1814) an American-born physicist during his service to the Elector of Bavaria, invented and mass-produced a fully nutritious, solidified stock of bones, inexpensive meat by-products and other ingredients. He fed the Elector's army with it. His invention was the precursor of the bouillon cube.
Broth has been made for many years using the animal bones which, traditionally, are boiled in a cooking pot for long periods to extract the flavor and nutrients. The bones may or may not have meat still on them.
Egg whites may be added during simmering when it is necessary to clarify (i.e., purify, or refine a broth for a cleaner presentation). The egg whites will coagulate, trapping sediment and turbidity into an easily strained mass. Not allowing the original preparation to boil will increase the clarity.
Roasted bones will add a rich flavor to the broth but also a dark color.
A clarified broth eaten as a soup is often called a consommé.
By 2013, bone broth had become a popular health food trend, due to the resurgence in popularity of dietary fat over sugar, and interest in "functional foods" to which "culinary medicinals" such as turmeric and ginger could be added. Bone broth bars, bone broth home delivery services, and bone broth carts and freezer packs grew in popularity in the United States, the fad heightened by the 2014 book Nourishing Broth, in which authors Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel state that the broth's nutrient density has a variety of health effects, including boosting the immune system; improving joints, skin and hair due to collagen content; and promoting healthy teeth and bones due to calcium, magnesium and phosphorus levels.
However, there is no scientific evidence to support many of the claims made for bone broth. For example, while bone broths do contain collagen, there is no evidence that consuming bone broths improves joint pain or improve skin, because dietary collagen is broken down into amino acids, which become building blocks for body tissues, and is not transported directly to joints or skin in the form in which it is ingested. In addition, the fact that the broth is derived from bone does not mean that therefore it will build bone or prevent osteoporosis, as the bones release very little calcium into the broth when prepared. There is little evidence that the gelatin that they contain functions as a digestive aid. A few small studies have found some possible benefit for chicken broth, such as the clearing of nasal passages. Chicken soup may also reduce inflammation; however, this effect has not been confirmed in controlled studies of adults.
I use the terms 'broth' and 'stock' interchangeably, as do many people, although technically there is a very small difference--not important to the home cook....Some English-speaking writers make a distinction between broth and bouillon, but bouillon is simply the French word for broth.
I don't really want to get into the muddy details of nomenclature between broth and stock...I use the words pretty much interchangeably, though I lean towards 'stock' if I mean something pretty rich that I'm gonna cook with and 'broth' if I mean something my noodles or peas are already floating in.
Professional chefs and experienced cooks like us spout the broth and stock terms interchangeably.
Stock and broth are more or less the same thing, a mixture of any combination of meats (including poultry or seafood), bones, vegetables or herbs simmered in a large quantity of water, then strained.
The other morning my old friend Helen McCully called me at an early hour and said, 'Now that you're revising your fish book, for heaven's sake, define the difference between a stock, a broth and a bouillon. No book does.' The reason no book does is that they are all the same thing. A stock, which is also a broth or a bouillon, is basically some meat, game, poultry, or fish simmered in water with bones, seasonings, and vegetables.
broth: a term which usually means the liquid in which meat has been cooked or a simple soup based thereon. It is a close equivalent to the French bouillon and the Italian brodo....It could be said that broth occupies an intermediate position between stock and soup. A broth...can be eaten as is, whereas a stock...would normally be consumed only as an ingredient in something more complex.
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