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 both granular or powdered 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.
Contrary to popular belief, 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.
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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
- Cook, F. C. (1913). "Bouillon Cubes". Journal of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 5 (12): 989. doi:10.1021/ie50060a009.