Is Bone Broth the Same as Stock?

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When pulling together a tasty meal it is often the case that one of the items the recipe might call for is broth. If you are new to the world of broths, you may be wondering if broth is the same as stock.

While stock, broth, and bone broth are savory liquids that are the building blocks for your favorite soups, sauces, and braises, they are not necessarily the same and therefore cannot be used interchangeably. Inquiring minds want to know, what are the key differences between a bone broth and stock?

Bone Broth

While bone broth is similar to stock, there are some key differences. Bone broth is typically made by simmering animal bones from chickens, cows, or a combination of the two. Bone broth is also known to include bits of meat and vegetables in water and will need to be boiled anywhere between 12 to 48 hours on the stovetop before it is ready to consume.

While some bone broth recipes call for apple cider vinegar, which helps to draw out the nutrients in the bones. Most bone broths are unseasoned. Unlike stock, bone broth has a much lengthier cook time which results in a much thicker consistency. As you might have already guessed, the thicker consistency is due in part to the collagen-rich gelatin that is pulled from the bones.

Stock

Like bone broth, stock is unseasoned and made by simmering a combination of animal bones (and at times even pieces of meat) and mirepoix (a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery) in water. Unlike bone broth, stock does not need to be cooked on the stovetop for as extensive period of time.

This combination, which only needs to be cooked between two to six hours, tends not to be a thick or gelatinous texture whether hot or chilled. Stock is then used to make sauces, gravies, braises, stew, and soup among other things.

Stock is Thicker

Given the way that stock is made and the short length of time that it takes to cook, stock is not as thick as broth. This is in part because it is made by boiling bones or cartilage for many hours rather than by boiling meat. By using bones and cartilage rather than meat, the bone marrow and collagen inside is released over a period of six to eight hours which gives the stock a much thicker and gelatinous consistency.

Prior to using bones to make a stock, make sure to clean them of all the meat. Stocks are made of a variety of bones – some of which include chicken, beef, pork and even fish. If you want to make a neutral stock, it is important not to add any seasonings or aromatic ingredients.

If, however you would like a flavorful stock, you might consider adding meat, vegetables (such as onions and carrots) and herbs (like parsley and thyme). Before deciding whether you want to make a flavorful or flavorless stock, you will need to decide how you will be using it in subsequent recipes.

Some of the uses of stock include as a braising liquid, cooking vegetables and grains, and making a variety of sauces that include cream sauces, tomato sauce and gravy. Stock is also used to make lighter meals such as soups and stews.

Broth is Lighter

Like stock, broth is also used for a number of culinary purposes though the term has been used in the past to refer merely to meat-based liquids. Traditionally, broth has been made by simmering meat in water alongside vegetables and herbs.

One of the reasons it is cooked for a much shorter period of time is because the meat cooking inside the liquid can become tough if cooked for too long. To avoid the meat becoming too tough to chew on, consider removing the meat as soon as it is fully cooked – which is likely less than an hour from when the broth was set to simmer.

While nearly any type of meat can be used, broth is most commonly made in chicken, beef and vegetable flavors and is so rich that it can be used plainly. Most people drink this broth warm, and some even use steaming broth as an effective way to loosen up mucus when fighting a cold, the flu or a stuffy nose.

Whether you are making a big thanksgiving dinner, a simple cream sauce, or a homemade flu remedy, it is important to remember the finite differences between broths and stocks.

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