|Place of origin||Either England or France|
|Main ingredients||Dehydrated broth or stock, dehydrated vegetables, fat, MSG, salt, seasonings|
A bouillon cube // (Canada and US) or stock cube (Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and UK) or broth cube (Philippines) is dehydrated bouillon (French for broth) or stock formed into a small cube about 13 mm (1⁄2 in) wide. It is typically made from dehydrated vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of fat, MSG, salt, and seasonings, shaped into a small cube. Vegetarian and vegan types are also made. Bouillon is also available in granular, powdered, or liquid form.
Dehydrated meat stock, in the form of tablets, was known in the 17th century to English food writer Anne Blencowe, who died in 1718, and elsewhere as early as 1735. Various French cooks in the early 19th century (Lefesse, Massué, and Martin) tried to patent bouillon cubes and tablets, but were turned down for lack of originality. Nicolas Appert also proposed such dehydrated bouillon in 1831.
Portable soup was a kind of dehydrated food used in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was a precursor of meat extract and bouillon cubes, and of industrially dehydrated food. It is also known as pocket soup or veal glew. It is a cousin of the glace de viande of French cooking. It was long a staple of seamen and explorers, for it would keep for many months or even years. In this context, it was a filling and nutritious dish. Portable soup of less extended vintage was, according to the 1881 Household Cyclopedia, "exceedingly convenient for private families, for by putting one of the cakes in a saucepan with about a quart of water, and a little salt, a basin of good broth may be made in a few minutes."
The invention of the bouillon cube is also attributed to Auguste Escoffier, one of the most accomplished French chefs of his time, who also pioneered many other advances in food preservation, such as the canning of tomatoes and vegetables.
The ingredients vary between manufacturers and may change from time to time.
Contrary to popular belief,[dubious ] stock cubes are not made by “drying out stock”, but by mixing already dry ingredients into a paste. The ingredients are usually mixed in a container (batch mixing), left to mature, and then shaped into the cube form. Alternatively, they can be mixed directly into an extruder.
A common cooking ingredient in China is granulated chicken bouillon. It is very similar to Aromat and is generally sold in packages that uses a yellow and green color scheme on the packaging.
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- Joan Thirsk, ‘Blencowe , Anne, Lady Blencowe (1656–1718)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oct 2005; online edn, Jan 2007 accessed 17 Nov 2016
- Vincent La Chapelle, Le cuisinier moderne, as cited in Davis
- Jennifer Davis, Defining Culinary Authority: The Transformation of Cooking in France, 1650-1830, Louisiana State University Press, 2013, p. 154f
- "Culinary Arts: Plain Cookery", Household Cyclopedia Archived 2013-03-28 at the Wayback Machine, 1881.
- Auguste Escoffier: Founder of Modern Cuisine; online https://www.iwfs.org/americas/wine-food---friends-1/articles/auguste-escoffier--founder-of-modern-cuisine
- Cook, F. C. (1913). "Bouillon Cubes" (PDF). Journal of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 5 (12): 989–990. doi:10.1021/ie50060a009.
- "Telma Beef Flavour Stock Cube, .5 oz". Walmart.com.
- "Process for producing stock cubes".