Stock or broth is that ingredient which enhances the taste of a soup or stew and lifts the flavor to give it richness. Most of us tend to substitute broth with stock without realizing that both are quite different from each other. So what is the difference between them? Lets discuss it in detail in the following Tastessence article.
Difference between Stock and Broth
Although stocks and broths are used interchangeably by most people there is a basic difference in their flavor as well as the ingredients that it is prepared with.
Broths are richer in taste and finer in flavor, and they also have a higher concentration of seasonings. This higher concentration of seasonings is due to the fact that they are an essential component for flavoring dishes that do not have a strong flavor of their own. Stock on the other hand has a very robust meaty flavor, with a lesser concentration of seasonings and is ideal for making sauces and gravies.
Both broth and stock start with the same basic ingredients and cooking method. Onions, shallots, celery, carrots, black peppercorns and herbs like parsley, thyme, and bay leaves are simmered in a pot of water. To this some meat usually chicken pieces are added and the mixture is simmered for three to four hours, the fragrant and flavorsome liquid is then strained and used as a base for making soups.
The main difference between broths and stocks is that in a broth, meat pieces and sometimes the whole chicken is simmered in water with vegetables and herbs. Whereas a stock is made by simmering the vegetables and herbs with lots of bones from a chicken. This gives the stock a richer and deeper flavor than a broth. Sometimes the bones are roasted in an oven along with the vegetables, before adding them in water so that the flavors are more enhanced. The bones impart a rich and intense flavor to the stock, because of the marrow that is inside the bones.
The broth vs stock debate can be laid to rest when you look at some of its properties. Stock will respond very differently from broth when deglazing a pan. This is because chicken stock contains more gelée than chicken broth, and binds up the pan drippings into a thick sauce as the stock is reduced. This makes the addition of cream or butter to thicken the sauce inessential. The type of chicken bones used in the stock and the amount of gelée present depends on how long the stock has been reduced.
If you are going to use chicken broth instead of stock in a recipe, then a very important thing to remember is to use less salt in your recipe as broth contains a higher concentration of sodium. The most frequently used herbs and spices for stocks and broths are parsley, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and peppercorns.