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History and general information
A bouillon cube // (Canada and US) or stock cube (Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, UK) or broth cube (Philippines) is dehydrated bouillon (French for broth) or stock formed into a small cube about 15 mm wide. It is typically made from dehydrated vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of fat, 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 widely known in the 18th century, at least as early as 1735. Various French cooks in the early 19th century—Lefesse, Massué, and Martine—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), let to mature and then shaped into the cube form. Alternatively, they can be mixed directly into an extruder.
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- 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.