Learn the difference between stock and broth and cook like the professionals.
While references to both broth and stock can be found in numerous recipes and cooking tips, there is often no distinction made between the two. But there is indeed a difference between stock and broth. While they are related, they aren't just interchangeable terms. And then to complicate matters, we throw in bone broth, the trendy paleo broth, which is different too.
So, what exactly is the difference between stock and broth? And why does it matter?
The Difference Between Stock and Broth
What is Broth?
Broth is a light aromatic liquid made from vegetables, herbs, and meat and meat bones simmered in water. Vegetarian broth is made by leaving out the meat and bones. Broth is cooked for a short period of time, generally under two hours, with the goal of making a light, flavorful base to be used in other dishes and sometimes eaten on its own. Keys to identifying stock is it stays liquid when chilled and is usually lighter in color. Broth is usually seasoned while cooking.
What is Stock?
Stock is basically a broth, but it's cooked longer, creating a stronger flavor. (Additionally, the meat and bones used in stock are often roasted beforehand to bring out more flavor.) Stock is usually cooked around six hours with the goal of breaking down the bones and connective tissues for the gelatin they contain. Stock is usually not seasoned during the cooking process as it is not served on its own but is only used as an addition to other dishes like soup, stews, gravies, and more. Stock is usually darker in color as a result of the longer cooking time, and from the roasting of the bones and meat. When chilled it will also have a thicker and gelatinous texture from to the gelatin.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is simply stock that has been allowed to cook for a much longer period of time–as long as 24-48 hours with the goal of breaking down the bones for the gelatin, minerals and other nutrients they contain. It can be eaten on its own (many enjoy a mug of bone broth to start the day) or used as a super nutritious broth in soups and stews. Bone broth is not usually seasoned during the cooking process since the seasoning can intensify as it cooks down. Bone broth should be completely gelatinous when chilled from all the gelatin it contains.
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