There are some questions that come up repeatedly … and this is one of them… so just what is the difference between stock and broth?... the short answer is … not much. You really can use them interchangeably in recipes… and in fact… many chefs use the terms interchangeably too.
Meat Stocks and Broths
BUT… there is a slight difference… in a nutshell… for meat stocks and broths…the stock is made with bones and trimmings from meat… where broth is made from the some bones and mostly the actual meat itself. I have to chuckle at some celebrity chefs and some bloggers that emphasize the use of stock and not broth…. broth is actually the richer of the two and is a more finished product… and table ready.
However, stock will thicken a sauce better than broth without using butter or cream. Stock contains gelée… gelatin, if you will… from the bones that are boiled when making the stock. Stock will deglaze a pan differently than broth because of the gelée… it will combine more easily with the pan drippings and thicken the sauce as you reduce it… replacing the butter or cream needed to finish the sauce.
The best chickens to use to make broth are stewing hens. You can also use whole chickens or parts.
Vegetable Stocks and Broths
When it comes to vegetable stock… I wasn't quite sure of the difference … since no meat is used and therefore no bones….so I investigated further… and what I found is..
With vegetable stocks and broths… the difference will lie more in the finished product. If the finished product is really a soup.. then you’d probably call it a broth. If the finished product is more of an ingredient in the finished product, say a sauce or a base for another soup.. then it would be called a stock. Notice I say called a stock…. because ultimately it really doesn’t matter… you can use them interchangeably.
The bottom line here is you can use either… but in the case of meat stocks and broths… stocks are made from mostly bones and trimmings and sometimes some meat…. and broths are mostly made with meat and some bones… it’s the ratio that ultimately decides what to call it… but again… for the most part you can use them interchangeably.
I hope this clears up any confusion for you.
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