Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stock, Base and Bouillon

I've received another question from one of you following the blog.  Please keep them coming as I have been cooking most of my life and so many things in and about the kitchen and cooking are second nature to me.  It doesn't always come to me that someone might not know the difference between stock and base which is today's question.

The question today, is chicken base the same as chicken stock?  The simple answer is NO.  But that in it's self doesn't help you.  So let's look at what is out there and where you would use them in your cooking.

There are really three different items we can use in our cooking to help flavor our dish.  They are stock, base and bouillon.  The common flavors they come in our beef and chicken for all three items.

You can usually only find stock in three flavors and they are beef, chicken and vegetable.  There may be other flavors out there but not in most stores.  Stock will come in a can or a box.  The can is usually around 15 ounces and the box is normally a quart in size.  Stock is a liquid and comes only in one strength.

Base on the other hand is a damp solid and is normally found in an 8 ounce jar at the store.  Base can be found in stores in a greater number of flavors.  You can usually find beef, chicken, turkey and ham flavors.  A measured amount of base mixed with a measured amount of water will give you broth.  Broth and stock are basically the same thing.  The difference between base and stock or broth is that you can intensify the flavor by using more base to the same amount of liquid.  If you are making a chicken soup and using stock and the flavor of the chicken is not enough for your taste, you can add a little chicken base and increase the chicken flavor in that soup.  If you were not using stock in making that soup but water instead, the base allows you to develop the chicken flavor you are looking for in the soup.  I believe it is less expensive to use water and base to develop that flavor than to use stock.  Now that being said, you can make your own stock instead of buying it and that too can be less expensive.  It takes time but if you already have the basics on hand and don't have to buy them special for the process, it is less expensive.

As far as bouillon, it is commonly found in beef and chicken flavor.  The bouillon comes in individually wrapped little cubes or in a granular form that can be measured out as needed.  The little cubes usually make one cup of broth.  I'm not sure on the granular form how much it requires to make a cup because I don't use it.  The jar that it comes in does give you the measurement needed in the instructions.

One last thing to remember about each of these forms is when they need to be refrigerated.  The stock, base and bouillon forms do not require refrigeration when you buy them.  The stock and base, however, do require refrigeration after you open them if not all is used in your recipe.  I would be sure to use the stock within a week after opening.  The base will last for months in the refrigerator.

I hope this has helped you to understand stock, base and bouillon better.  If you continue to have questions about them, please let me know.

Tomorrow we will talk about the "Tailgate Season" with football just getting started.  Then on Friday our recipe is for "Buffalo Chicken Burgers" so enjoy and have a great week.


  1. thanks for the tips, they sound very useful!

  2. Thank you very much for this description. It was very helpful to my husband and I making a new soup recipe.