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Bouillon Cubes

  • c

I grew up with my mother using Knorr bouillon cubes, but when I try them now they are far too salty. I make my own chicken stock, but don't have the means to make beef or veal stock, and don't have the space to store cans of beef broth in my kitchen. Does anyone have suggestions of a good brand of bouillon cubes to use (other forms of mix -- jellies, etc. also welcome) and where to get them (either in NYC, Los Angeles or mail order). Thanks.

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  1. hey caitlin,

    try looking in the freezer section of your local grocer. there should be a 1/2 pint container that's white with pictures of the types of demi you'll find inside, cow's, chicken, etc.

    this isn't the best in the world, but if you can't find a reliable source of veal demi to freeze and use for stock later it'll do in a pinch.

    there's also another type that you can get thru williams sonoma called (i think) demi glace gold which has quite good flavor for being a packaged item. you might be able to find that at dean and deluca or zabar's as well.

    and thanks for the cookies!


    1 Reply
    1. re: Rochelle

      Another good alternative is "More Than Gourmet." I use the demi-glace and fond du poulet gold, but there are other products as well. Seems like most "fancy" food shops in NYC carry it. They're little round, flattish containers. Not refrigerated or frozen, so placement would depend on the store.

    2. I use a brand from italy, called Star, all kinds of flavors, chicken, fish, basil, rosemary, porcini,tomato, etc etc etc. good italian salumerias have them, as does fairway market nyc, balducci's nyc etc. enjoy. p.s they come in small green boxes, a tad smaller than a pack of cigarettes.

      1. I like redi-base brand beef a lot. It comes in a plastic tub. They have lots of flavors, though I've only tried a few. The chicken tastes too sweet to me.

        Link: http://www.redibase.com

        1. I used to make my own veal stock, but no longer have the time. Demi-Glace Gold by More Than Gourmet is good--I use it for pan reduction sauces. An Italian friend turned me on to Better Than Bouillon by Superior Touch (Superior Quality Foods, Ontario CA 91761). She uses it for making risotto. They have both beef base and chicken base, and it's quite good as a substitute for broth or stock. It comes in an 8-oz. jar and costs about $4.50. 1 tsp. is equal to one cube, or makes 8 oz. of stock. Demi-Glace Gold is too expensive to use for soups or stews. Also, some of the Knorr bouillon cubes are foreign-made and some are U.S. made. I read a review recently, that said the US-made cubes are saltier and not as good as the foreign ones--you have to examine the package closely to see where they are made. I just found some Knorr fish-bouillon cubes made in the Phillippines--haven't used them yet, though. Good luck. I've given up on packaged chicken broth since a carton leaked in my pantry and wreaked havoc.

          2 Replies
          1. re: zora

            I also have been using Better Than Bouillon beef base and chicken base for a few years, and find it great to add to the pan when making roast beef/roast chicken. It adds great flavour to the pan juices. I first came across it in Fort Myers in Florida and noticed it came from Ontario, Canada. I live in Quebec and am unable to find it here. Does anyone know the website for this company, or an email address so I can locate it in Canada?

            1. re: June Nelson

              Here's the link to the manufacturer of Better than Bouillon soup bases:

              Link: http://www.superiortouch.com/

          2. I think I read somewhere that Knorr changes the flavor profile of their cubes depending on which country they're made in. You might want to try buying the cubes made in mexico or europe (assuming you tried the ones from the USA). They also offer a wider variety of flavors than those from the US.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mistermike

              agreed, i use ones that are classiied halal & vegetarian on the box....and they're not half as salty as the regular

            2. Funny this topic should come up just when I've been thinking about demi-glace. I just made up a big vat of veggie soup stock. In the past I've just frozen my stock in pint containers and ice cube trays. Lately I've read various mentions of demi-glace, but I don't know much about it. Do you just boil down your stock? How much? Does it keep for long periods in the refrigerator, or do you have to freeze it? And how do you use it -- reconstituted in water, or what? Any or all information, suggestions, anecdotes etc. gratefully accepted.

              7 Replies
              1. re: C. Fox

                I'm afraid you wouldn't have much luck making demi-glace with your vegetable stock by itself. Demi-Glace requires bones-- some knuckle bones among them, with lots of cartilage, which breaks down and dissolves into the broth to gelatinize the final product. Veal and beef bones are first roasted until browned, then put in a stock pot with aromatic vegetables (onion stuck with clove, carrot, celery, leek, parsnip) with a bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf) and some black peppercorns. White wine and water generously cover all, and then it is simmered and skimmed of foam for several hours. The stock is thencarefully strained, degreased, (clarified if you're really finicky) and then reduced by at least half to a syrupy consistency. When cooled, it turns into a firm jelly, which can be cut into pieces. I used to store chunks of demi-glace in small zip-lock bags in the freezer. then, when I wanted to make a sauce, I could pull a bag out of the freezer and toss the frozen demi-glace into the pan after I'd deglazed it. It's fabulous stuff, but very labor and time intensive. I wish I still had the time to do it.

                1. re: zora

                  I'd like to be able to pretend that I make my own, but I have to admit that I use prepacked stuff. It's called Demi-Glace Gold made by a company named More Than Gourmet. Comes in little 1-1/2 oz. pucks that you whisk into simmering water. Each puck makes about a cup and you can use it to make some fantastic sauces. Not as good as if you had roasted the bones as per Zora, but no one will ever know but you.

                  1. re: Dennison

                    Yes, I did run across MTG in my travels. According to their website, they have a Veggie Glace. I wonder how they do it? Maybe I'll just get some and see.

                    1. re: C. Fox

                      They might use a Kosher gelatin substitute or something to make it solid. Try it and let us know! I'm definitely curious.

                      1. re: Beth P.

                        Just want to point out that kosher gelatin is still made from animal bones. It can have cow or lamb in it, just not horse's hooves.

                        1. re: MU

                          Wow, MU. Thanks for pointing that out. This is why I love this site.

                          I just did some research, and it turns out we're both right. Here's a quote from the FAQ of The Vegetarian Resource Group's website (link to main page below). I edited it a little for space.

                          "Is kosher gelatin vegan?

                          "Kosher gelatin can be made from fish bones, beef, Japanese insinglass, agar agar, carrageenan, and Irish moss... Unless it is specified as being derived from a non-animal source, such as agar agar and carrageenan, it is very possible that kosher gelatin is animal-derived."

                          The kosher gelatin I use is vegetarian, so I assumed that all of them were. My bad!

                          Link: http://www.vrg.org/index.htm

                  2. re: zora

                    Zora's description is excellent but may I add that you need to be extra careful on the seasonings? I once added salt and came up with a product so salty I ruined at least three meals before I realized where the fault was.

                2. Re:foriegn bouillon cubes, I buy the Knorr's fish cubes made in Thailand. I get them from my local Asian market, and make (if I may say) a darn good noodle soup with them. I "lift" the flavor with a little fish sauce, lime juice, and chili paste, then add cooked noodles, julienned veggies, tofu, whatever.

                  When you find fresh lemongrass or Thai galangal (looks a bit like ginger) grind them up in a food processor and freeze in twists of saran wrap. These add immeasurably to the flavor of an asian broth. Kaffir limes leaves freeze well whole, too, and 1 or 2 are yummy in soup and curries.

                  I think the Thai Knorr's have a clean, "sweet" (not in the sugary sense) flavor.

                  1. You could try Penzeys Spices (www.penzeys.com, also have retail stores). They sell a soup base (thick liquid-y stuff) in a bunch of different varieties: beef, chicken, turkey, ham, pork, seafood. I haven't tried any of these so I can't guarantee their quality, but I have bought a lot of spices from them and those have all been very fresh and flavorful.

                    1. I can vouch for the excellent quality of bouillon products made in Switzerland. If you know a chef from Swizterland or have another Swiss source, an excellent bouillon paste is made by Muller Nahrungsmittel AG in Steffisburg. tel/fax 033 437 77 47. It's my mother-in-laws absolute favorite in Switzerland, and I'm lucky she keeps me in good supply. Unfortunately, they don't export to the US. I have also had good luck with Swiss bouillon paste Nahrin Sarnen (www.nahrin.ch, but they also don't export to US)...so it's handy to have a Swiss bring some over if possible. The Swiss made Knorr chicken bouillon is also one I use. I have recently bought some Knorr Chinese Style Ham bouillon, & Knorr Pork bouillon at our local asian market, but haven't tried them yet. One note, the Swiss don't seem to buy bouillon by the cubes. They buy it in large cans (850 gr) in paste form, and use it often.

                      1. I have used products from www.soupbase.com and been pleased with the products.

                        Obviously they aren't perfect compared to homemade, but I have liked them much better compared to the other purchases demi-glace or soup bases I have tried.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Mellicita

                          Do you know if any of the products on that website are available in stores?

                        2. A tip re the cubes: they should be used at no stronger than half strength - that is, use no more than half the cube for the amount of water typically specified for a whole cube. It's not ideal, but you'd be shocked that cubes used that way for a dish where there are other major flavorings can be respectable if not exactly soaring.

                          1. As a side note, I find Better Than Bouillon Beef Base to be a phenomenal rub for steaks when I pan sear them. I just barely dilute to a thin paste consistency and spread lightly on the steak, or pork chop. The residual fond makes a wonderful pan sauce. I often just add a little water to the skillet after the steaks are done and rub romaine heads split in half lengthwise around in the juices for a quick braise to serve as a salad with the steaks.