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Stock vs Broth

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
What is the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth?
I did notice when you buy premade stock its amber in color and very dark.
But broth is light in color(yellow). Why is that?
post #2 of 37
For many, stock is made with meat and bones, broth just the meat. Simmering the bones for a long time produces gelatin, which gives a different thickness and mouth feel to the final product.

Roasting the bones first can make a darker color stock, as well as impart a nice flavor.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 


Im confused since every recipie i see for broth actually asks you to put in a while chicken. The only difference I can detect is that one is cooked for 2-3 hours(broth) and one for like 10(stock)
post #4 of 37
The differences, if there actually are any, are not standardized. I'll tell you what I learned, but I don't believe it's any more accepted than any number of other interpetations.

Stock is made with very little salt, and used as the basis for soups and sauces. Stock is almost sieved or strained before being used to build another dish. Broth and Buillon are seasoned and may be served as soups or used as the basis for sauces and other soups. Sometimes these are clarified with fine straining. Consommé is a buillon which has been strained very fine, and further clarified with an egg-white raft.

Sometimes stock is defined as a longer cooked version of stock, much as gbh described. However, there are technical aspects to cooking some things, including chicken, for a very long time. Ten hours is far too long to cook even chicken bones -- except at very low temperatures such as "low" in a crock pot (about 175F). It's doable, but there's no benefit from a culinary standpoint compared to faster cooking at a more normal simmer (around 200-205F). Also some stocks, such as fish stock (fumet) and similar aromatic court buillons are not cooked for very long at all. Usually because they become bitter. So if this definitional version of stock vs. broth has any validity it's limited. -- or perhaps the definition of stock expands to include a reduced broth.

In French (at least in my highly fractured version of French which does not extend beyond reading recipes and un peu de profanite), buillon is used more or less exclusively for stock and/or broth. Turning to an actual authority, At Home With Patricia Wells, French to English Food Glossary, we see: "Bouillon: stock or broth." (I know. Surprised me too.)

Bottom line: Classic French cuisine does not distinguish between stock and broth. Here, in North America, some recipes and prepared products do, but the definitions vary. The cook should consider the degree of concentration and amount of salt of to whichever product is used, taste frequently, and adjust accordingly.

Hope this helps,
post #5 of 37
I believe Italians do use the term "brodo" (broth) and use it extensively in their cooking. It's a liquid where a lot less collagen is extracted during the cooking process, usually by just cooking entire chickens in the liquid.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
post #6 of 37
There is no difference...They are the exact same thing!

It depends on how you use it as to what you call it...

It is "stock" when used for sauces, gravies, deglazing etc, etc.

It is "broth" when used (or served) as soup.

That is it!...When it is soup, it is broth and every other use is stock.

As for the colour difference you mention, you should check the ingredients of the products. You are talking about commercial products. You will more than likely find that they are adding food colouring. You might find that some marketing guru worked out that they could get 1% more sales by adding 2 drops of yellow and a pinch of salt and calling it "broth" !! So that is the difference with the commercial, off the shelf product, it's a marketing ploy.

Hope that is of help:chef:
post #7 of 37
Seems to be the general concenus. What I was taught was that any stock, court-boullion, etc that was seasoned and had salt added was defined as a broth. A stock never has any salt added to it, as it is a "building block" and may be reduced to half of it's amount.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #8 of 37
Same here. Never knew them to be the "exact same thing" myself. Seems that BDL, foodpump and I all had the same school of thought.:look: So..... 3 out of 4 Chefs agree...........;)
post #9 of 37
See?...There is always something to learn. Now you know they are the same.

Salt content has nothing to do with it. In fact, this thread is about commercial products. The OP actually gives a brand name of the product being referred to. Most (in fact all) shop purchased stocks that I have seen are available in a salt reduced version...They have the words "salt reduced" printed on the label.

What do you mean by "3 out of 4 Chefs agree"? DBL is not a chef! In fact, he often states that his information has come directly from Google Searching. However, I have also noted that he is held up on these forums as a know-it-all expert by other members...Even though he has asked that you stop it !

DBL opens his post with - "The differences, if there actually are any, are not standardized." - Unquote. The addition of salt in the manner you suggest...that is salt being the standard difference...would make it "standardized", would it not?

The other person you refer to is Foodpump. It seems that Foodpump is doing nothing more than stating what he was "taught". He does not give an opinion, therefor cannot be agreed or disagreed with. He is stating what he was taught.

Hang on...I think I see now what you mean by 3 out of 4...It's you, your the odd one out. ;)
post #10 of 37
I also tend to use the terms interchangeably, with a slight difference. If I am just rendering down some leftover bones and stuff just to 'stock' the freezer for some undetermined later use, I put in very little seasoning, if any, and will tend to refer to the finished product as stock.

If I'm making it with a specific recipe in mind, say, like some chicken broth for my chicken - habanero chili, then I tend to add seasonings that fit in with the flavors of the final product, and call the broth 'broth.'

Actually one of my favorites is when I roast a chicken with lots of citrus and garlic in the cavity I'll throw the carcass ( without the citrus and garlic chunks ) in the stockpot ( has anyone ever purchased a brothpot? ) with some carrots and leeks, peppercorns and a bay leaf. Simmer and skim for a couple of hours, strain and cool.

A day or two later when not stuffed full of roast chicken, bring to a simmer, throw in some carrot slices, simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Toss in a couple of coarsely chopped green onions and a handful of egg noodles, turn up the heat a bit. When the noodles are done, season to taste with salt and pepper, maybe some chopped parsley or cilantro, enjoy. There's just a tang of citrus in this minimalist chicken noodle soup, a nice touch in my opinion.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #11 of 37

BDL, or "I" as "I" prefer to call myself, am not a chef. I did cook saute/saucier in a couple of pretty good restaurants for awhile, and ran a little catering business for another while -- before moving on to other careers. I still teach the odd cooking class every couple of years. Maybe by some definitions that makes me a "chef," but not by mine, I prefer to think of myself more as a student, teacher and good home cook.

Yes, there is the odd bit of googling before answering questions, but most of my mistakes are my own.

Don't worry, Old has never confused with me someone who knows any more than he does. Our relationship is fraught with mutual respect and a deep appreciation of the abysm of our respective ignorance. We're both "New American Bistro" kind of guys with a love of 'Q.

Old, Food, and I all learned the same thing. IIRC, Food graduated from a fairly big deal culinary school, I'm not sure how Old got into the business, and I learned on the job in an old-fashioned brigade. It's interesting that we all learned the same thing. It's not only interesting, it's evidence.

I hadn't thought much about it until reading the question -- and realized that there weren't separate words for "stock" and "broth" in French. Or, if there were, I didn't know them. Ditto Spanish and Italian. While my Spanish is decent, my French truly sucks. So... I did some research.

After the research and reading the subsequent posts by everyone who's posted here, there seems to be a definitional (linguistic) distinction amongst a certain generation of North American cooks and our students, but not really anywhere else. Since our generation (boomers) is incredibly influential, it's important that anyone reading a recipe or using a product be aware of the differences, then cook and taste accordingly. It's not really a food thing so much as a language thing -- but there you go.

It's pretty well established, none of the four of us is in any position to call anyone else odd.

BDL (not DBL)
post #12 of 37
Acknowledged with thanks. Sorry about the DBL...Typo! :o

There is nothing wrong about doing a bit of Google searching. In fact, I thought "broth" was just another of those "American" words. Which I note you also allude to. When I first read the question, my immediate thought was 'it's American for "stock"'.

So I also Googled.

After some reading, I became (albeit reluctently) convinced that there is a real difference between stock and broth. That difference is as you say, definitional...Put stock in a bowl with a spoon and call it soup and it becomes broth!

post #13 of 37
Well now, this is an interesting thread. I consulted my copy of Escoffier. The only reference to broth is for for Scotch broth where he instucts to make a fine broth as for a beef broth, but he does not elaborate on how to do this. My understanding has always been that broth was made from simmered unbrowned meat and has a lighter, less intense flavor than a stock. I recently purchased the study work book for the Pro Management test that goes with the Professional Cooking text book. I like to keep track of how dumb I really am about this business. One of the example test questions is what ingredient is never used in a stock. I don't remember all the possible choices, but the answer was salt. Of course, this is the same book that had a multiple choice question regarding fowl, for which one of the possible answers was rabbit. I don't know when rabbit got classified as a fowl, but I suppose the whole Easter Bunny bringing eggs thing could have confused somebody...oh well, never mind, take it for what it's worth. I'll believe BDL, Old, Pump and others too numerous to mention that obviously know what they're talking about. I graduated culinary school in 1976 and have worked in this field pretty much ever since and have learned a great deal from all these people, particularly BDL, so if they say the stock pot rises in the west, then it does.
Teamfat, I have been putting a healthy slosh of lemon juice in chicken soup for years. I think I got that from egg drop and avgolemona techniques. When asked why I did it, for lack of a better term, I would say it brightened it. Not long ago Alton Brown did the same thing and referred to it as "brightening". That's when I realized he was spying on me.
post #14 of 37
I've always understood stock to be made only with bones while broth contains meat and possibly bones as well. Whether to use salt or not would depend on the application of the stock or broth, and doesn't affect what the liquid is called.

I have been reading several cook books and treatises on stock/broth making and it seems that it's common, at least here in the US, for the terms are used pretty much interchangeably. I've noticed the same use of terms in some French books as well.

Here's a link to one of my favorite articles about stock, with comments by several well known and well regarded local chefs and cooks:

STOCK TIPS / Chefs offer their do's and don'ts for making this essential base

Maybe you'll find the article of some use and entertaining.

post #15 of 37

IMHPO and as far as I'm concerned there is a standardized difference. I can cite a couple thousand folks that were taught that at my school alone. So exactly how many people does it take before it gets acknowledged as a standard? Also IMHPO There is a difference between a stock and a broth and salt is just the start.

A sense of humor is a good thing and all I was trying to use. It's like the commercial says "3 out of 4 Dentists agree......" There's no need to split hairs. Anyhow I'm completely bald I gave that up years ago.:D (More humor)

For arguement sake though................. I said they weren't the same and commented about schools of thought. Not Schooling. And thirdly regardless of what someone puts as their culinary experience if I chose to regard them as a Chef that's my choice. Based on BDL's knowledge base maybe I'm also giving credit where credit may be due. I would hope my 28years of Progressive and teaching/training experience in the industry affords me this prerogative. Does it really matter anyhow?

You also mention something else regarding the original post.

It seems the original post(er) (OP as you state) asked a generalized question about the difference between stock and broth but then goes on to mention something about commercial product. I was trying to have to go into a long drawn out explaination kind of what BDL eludes to in his post. Still it's an open question covering two areas....the difference between the two and the difference between the two as commercial products. Let's just chalk it up to the fact that you have your school of thought and we have ours. Same with opinions.:)

BTW this is all the sparing you will get out of me as well.:chef:
post #16 of 37
Without getting too much into the specifics of stock making -- you might be interested in the following variations compared to the article Shel posted.

When you make whole roasted or barbecued chicken, don't cut the bird in half but carve the breasts off the carcass, and reserve the wing tips (and of course the neck). Save the carcass. The next day, make chicken stock with a whole, fresh chicken (breasts removed) and the reserved carcass. The cooked bones will give you a deeper color and a much richer flavor. This is a half roasted stock. If you use all cooked carcasses, it becomes a roasted chicken stock.

Before browning the beef bones, paint a few of them with tomato paste. This solves the raw tomato paste problem better than just putting it into the liquid and yields a sweeter stock.

When making fumet, make it on the mild side, strain, and add a little clam juice to pump the intensity. One 12 oz bottle of clam juice to 2 quarts of stock is about right. Simmer for five or six minutes and strain again. If the fumet is destined for a sauce, chances are you can profitably use dry vermouth, rather than white wine. Vermouth has a "winier" quality than wine itself, so it will take some cooking down -- which is why I recommend it for a sauce or poaching liquid, rather than a quick soup.

To make a quick faux pork stock for saucing, mix chicken stock with beef stock 50/50. If you've got roasted chicken stock on hand, the ratio becomes 2/3 chicken to 1/3 beef.

To make a quick faux veal stock for saucing, mix chicken and beef stocks 1/4 chicken to 3/4 beef. If using roasted chicken stock, the ratio becomes 1/3 chicken to 2/3 beef. Yes, you can make a good espagnole with this. And yes, in turn it will make a good demi, and the demi's progeny will be good too.

post #17 of 37
Again, I will reference Escoffier who literally wrote the book that the cooking schools base their curriculum on. He used a combination of roasted bones and various cuts of meat that we would not dream of using today as they would be considered premium cuts of meat and too precious to use for stock and then discard. I don't know howI know this, and I wish I did, but to me a broth is served with the meat it is derived from as in a soup, or thickend and served with the meat as in a gravy or fond lie and has no other purpose whereas a stock is the basis for other applications such as samll sauces or glazes. I was also taught that sauce and gravy are not interchangeable terms, the difference being a gravy contains the flavor of the meat it was served with, and a sauce does not. An example or this concept being red-eye gravy served with ham being classified as a gravy as opposed to cherry sauce containig no ham juices being classified as a sauce. Anyone else taught this way? Pump, Quan, Old, BDL etal, please weigh in on this as I am curious if you had the same teaching.
post #18 of 37
Interesting, I've never done this before. I usually roast my beef rib bones in a 425 F oven for maybe 45 minutes, seems like this might scorch the tomato paste rather than just carmelizing the sugars. Perhaps a lower temp or a shorter roasting time?


ps: Why do I always get hungry in the middle of the night while perusing these forums?
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #19 of 37
Well said greyeaglem. That's the version of what I was taught as well. I just couldn't translate the thoughts into words and was trying to avoid a long explanation. Thanks for doing it for me.

BDL, funny as it may seem....I got my start throwing Pizzas for a place in the Chicago 'burbs called the Stone Cottage Pub. Other than that it was schooling, both proper and hard-knocks, that gave me the rest. Always kept an eye open though no matter what I was doing in the biz. I've worked both the FOH and BOH since I was going for a more well rounded approach in the business instead of just pigeon holing myself in one area. Always wanted to own and felt a better better business side understanding would benefit me. Sure it's had it's drawbacks but there's still time. Now if I can just get the body to co-operate:blush: Now if I could just pick the right lottery numbers.........:crazy:
post #20 of 37
425 me too. I set the timer at 35 so I don't forget, but smell and color usually have me pulling them out at around 25 or 30. They get pretty dark. No burnt taste, though. I just learned the trick about three years ago, on the prestigious internet.

post #21 of 37
I'll weigh in, but don't really have much to add. Half of what I know I learned from this thread or as a result of researching the topic since it started. Half of what I used to know seems to have been idiosyncratic and uncertain if not plain wrong.

Grey -- you started by talking about Escoffier. His books were written in French and the French language doesn't have words to describe the distinctions we're talking about. It's not like the French are shy about coining culinary terms to describe fine distinctions or varying purposes. That's what really got me thinking. That and a French recipe I looked at for Shel for pot au feu.

My sense of "stock" and "broth" in a restaurant kitchen was that "stock" was staying in the kitchen, and broth was nearly on the way out. That goes with what you were saying. So do the seasoning differences we've been talking about. That's just kind of a feeling for common usage though. I can't find anything I'd consider dispositive authority. If I was working in a commercial kitchen I'd go with whatever Chef said. If I were the chef... I'd either go with a distinction in seasoning and maybe in clarity too. I know I wouldn't pass a clear, stock based soup without enough straining to sparkle in the bowl, but except for fumet, I don't need quite that much clarity from something that's going to be used to make a sauce which will itself be sieved. OTOH, just let the brigade know I used the terms interchangeably.

The more we wrestle with this, the more it seems we all agree on "stock," but the word "broth" is catching us up because it goes both ways. A broth may be a stock or a soup. That makes sense to me.

Gravy is an English word. English is not our friend in this discussion. I think of gravy as being made mostly from the juices of the meat being sauced. It always surprises me when people make bad gravy. Red eye gravy sounds good, right now. I like my eggs poached real loose, and some biscuits, and some grits, and maybe you could pass me that bottle of Tapatio, please.

My culinary "education," and terminology even when I was cooking came mostly from reading cookbooks. I worked in one old-fashioned brigade kitchen for a high-end French restaurant and learned a lot there too -- but not so much in English terms. Broken Franglaise with a German accent. And then another high-end restaurant where everyone else learned how to cook from reading cookbooks.

post #22 of 37
In my opinion one area that a lot of cooks don't do well when they go into sauce-making is that they don't darken their flavouring elements enough (without actually burning anything), which results in a weak, insipid sauce. It's only burnt if you smell charcoal. You really want to maximize the maillard effect on every single piece of food you're putting in (whether it's veg or carcasses or tomato paste) when you're making a jus or espagnole or demi or what have you and you only get that by aggressively browning.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
post #23 of 37
Thread Starter 

sorry about not being clear.

Well the main thing I have is that if I cook the stock/borth lol for more than say 3 hours it also turns dark like the store bought stuff. It turns an amber color and tastes just like the comercial stuff labeled "stock" (by the way with no salt that is a terrible taste). However if i cook it for 2-3 hours it remains yellow and tastes like chicken soup(and resemples the stuff you buy labled as broth). I have no idea why that happens.
Also when i say over 3 hours i mean like 6-10.
post #24 of 37
Well, the lesson in this is: You CAN overcook chicken stock. Sometimes learning sucks.

The best way, IMO, to concentrate the flavor of chicken stock is to make a chicken espagnole, then a chicken demi-glace. But that's another story.

post #25 of 37

I am a cullinary student and we just covered this topic. There is a difference.Stocks are made from bones not meat. Broth is made from meat. This also has to do with the cooking times. Beef and veal stocks take the longest because of how long it takes the bones to break down. Chicken and fish stocks have considerable shorter simmering times because their bones are so much smaller and do not take as long to break down. There is NO salt added to a stock since it will be used as an additional ingredient and salt will be added as the recipe calls for. Broth on the other hand can be consumed by itself and almost always has salt added to it. Stock has more depth of flavor. Vegtable stocks and broth are the same thing.

post #26 of 37

It is comforting to know this issue has been resolved once and for all, perhaps we could learn the name of the instructor and  the culinary school to be able to make adequate attribution?

Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #27 of 37

Just for kicks, I looked up the two words in an unabridged Webster's Dictionary.  Sometimes two words with closely related meanings come to English from different languages, but both "broth" and "stock" came from German. 


Webster's dictionary gave 26 definitions for the noun "stock".  The cooking type of stock is listed as a subheading under "something out of which other things are made", and reads as "water in which meat, fish, etc. has been boiled, used as a base for soup or gravy".


Webster's dictionary gave one definition for the noun "broth".  This is "a thin watery soup; water in which meat and, sometimes, vegetables or cereal have been boiled".


So, that is what the keepers of the language think the words mean.


post #28 of 37

I see this question asked so much.. I don't know if I can ever remember anybody saying a broth is made from bones

post #29 of 37

There seems to be no consensus. Which is kind of weird because so many things in cooking have very specific definitions.

post #30 of 37

Is there none tho? Does anybody out there make  a broth or define broth as having bones in it? anywhere.. I know at the CIA they teach broth has no bones just meat and stock contains bones

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