To keep it simple: Stock is made with bones. Broth is made with meat.
This said, ultimately, stock and broth serve the same purpose in your kitchen. You can use either of them to make soups, stews, and sauces, where they’ll add body, flavor, and volume to the final dish.
WHAT IS STOCK?
Chicken stock (or stock made from any animal) is usually richer and thicker than broth because gelatin is released from the cartilage, tendons, skin, and bone during the cooking process. It is deeply flavored and contributes a velvety mouth feel to soups and stews.
When homemade stock cools, you will have a layer of fat on top. You can skim it off and discard it. The stock will also be thick and jiggle like Jell-O or cold gravy because of gelatin in the stock. This is a good thing. When stock is heated it will thin out again, but still have body to it.
WHAT IS BROTH?
It has the consistency of water because it hasn’t been with made bones, and therefore has not pulled any of the additional minerals, proteins, and gelatin from them.
However, it can still be packed with flavor especially if you season the poaching liquid with herbs and spices. When broth cools, it will keep the same viscosity it has when warm.
What About Bone Broth?
Further confusion results from a product you’ve probably seen—and maybe consumed—called bone broth. This product is really nothing more than stock, because only stock is made with bones. But bone broth has a better ring to it when it comes to marketing!
CAN I USE BROTH INSTEAD OF STOCK?
Traditionally, richly flavored homemade stocks are best used for making soups and stews, sauces, and braises. Lighter bodied broths are best used for light soups, cooking grains, or poaching vegetables.
Confusion arises because commercial brands often use the terms “stock” and “broth” interchangeably. The contents are also typically fairly thin and lack the texture, flavor, and thick viscosity of homemade stock.
Even with the differences between broth and stock (and between store-bought and homemade), you can use either stock or broth in your soups or any other recipe.
Want to make some stock? Here you go!
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