You can make almost any food taste better with bone broth. Soups and stews - sure. But also veggies, grains, salad dressing, and even smoothies.
Take a look at any cookbook, and you’ll see lots of savory recipes calling for broth. In fact, broth is so important to good cooking that the first lesson in culinary school is how to make broth.
While any bone broth enhances the flavor of food, Mountain Meadow Bone Broth goes beyond the basics of standard broths to include two additional flavor bombs. Let’s start with the basic yumminess factor and then see how yumminess factors 2 and 3 maximize the flavor of Mountain Meadow Bone Broth.
Yumminess Factor #1 - The Basics of “Pleasant Savoriness”
We were all taught that there were 4 tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter. But scientists have discovered “umami,” a fifth, distinct taste with its own receptors. Umami is a Japanese word that translates to "pleasant savory taste.”
When our taste buds distinguish umami, they are responding to the presence of the amino acid glutamate. Glutamate is to umami like sugar is to sweetness. The flavor from glutamate is so important that a food scientist created a synthetic version in the laboratory to be used as a flavor enhancer. Yup - as in Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)!. In a sense MSG is to umami as high fructose corn syrup is to sweetness.
Let's leave the lab behind and stick with real food.
Think about all those savory foods that are incredibly satisfying: aged cheeses, gravy, miso, aged steak, grilled seafood, toasted nuts and seeds, and BBQ. You love them, in part, because of glutamate.
We are wired to want umami because it marks the presence of proteins that have been broken down into component amino acids. The free amino acids are easily digestible, giving our bodies quicker access to building new proteins. In fact, half of the free amino acids in human breast milk are glutamates -- more than in the milk of any other mammal..
Bone broth is the quintessential umami-tasting food because it is teaming with the stuff.
The traditional method of a long, slow simmer breaks down proteins in the meat and connective tissue on the bones. The result is a kettle full of glutamate, pure umami. However, umami flavor alone is not as good as umami combined with another taste, especially salty. Mountain Meadow Bone Broth does not contain any salt, allowing you to control the amount of salt you consume. However, if you add a pinch of salt, a dribble of soy sauce or a dollop of miso to Mountain Meadow Bone Broth, you will have the full effect of umami - savory, satisfying, and full-bodied. A mouthwatering aftertaste lingers, making you want more. It’s basically yumminess.
While bone broth brings great flavor to any dish, it does even more magic than simply adding an umami taste. When a dish has lots of glutamates - ie umami, all the other tastes are improved: salt is saltier, sugar sweeter, and sour and bitter less acerbic and biting.
Basically, broth makes everything taste better.
Yummines Factor #2: Food Chemistry Is Fun
While Mountain Meadow Bone Broth maximizes the glutamates with a long slow simmer, we also add even more flavor to broth by roasting the bones before simmering. The magic of roasting causes a cascade of chemical reactions, called the Maillard reaction.
The high and dry heat transforms the protein and sugars into a rich aroma and flavor. It also adds the deeply appealing brown color to food. It’s what happens when you sear a steak, or grill a burger or BBQ a chicken, or bake bread (especially with a protein-rich egg wash on top).
Roasting bones is that extra step that makes bone broth explode with flavor.
Yumminess Factor #3: Don’t Be Afraid of Fat
"With enough butter, anything is good.” ~Julia Child
Mrs. Child was onto something. While “everything in moderation” is probably a good principle when it comes to eating fat, there is no denying it: fat is flavor.
We don’t actually have taste buds that discern a flavor from fat, but the experience of tasty food involves more than just chemical reactions on the tongue. It also includes aroma (from roasting in Yumminess Factor #2) and texture. Fat is all about the texture. Think about fats that melt at body temperature like chocolate and peanut butter. They coat the mouth with a smooth and full sensation. The same is true for animal-derived fat like butter or tallow (beef fat) or schmaltz (chicken fat).
In addition to creaminess, fat packs other flavor punches. Salt and other seasonings cling to fat molecules, allowing the fat to spread them all over the tongue. The flavor that’s stuck to the fat is also released over a longer time and has a pleasant aftertaste.
But there can be too much of a good thing. If you add too much fat, it will block all the other flavors and less of them will reach your taste buds. You know that feeling when all you can taste is grease - yuck.
All cookbooks on broth making instruct you to remove all the fat that solidifies at the top when the broth cools. However, at Mountain Meadow Bone Broth we leave just an itsy-bitsy amount of the fat - for added flavor. It’s a delicate balance; just a little bit of fat tastes good, and if you go over, back to yuck.
How to Use Broth to Add Flavor in Everyday Cooking
Bone broth is the base for delicious soups and stews. When you use Mountain Meadow Bone Broth you can whip up a deeply flavorful soup in no time.
Some additional ways to add umami with bone broth to your favorite dishes:
- Cook grains and beans in bone broth instead of water (or half and half)
- Add a tablespoon to your favorite salad dressing
- Throw a glug into a green smoothie
- Stir a little in at the end of sauteing vegetables
- Add leftover pasta dish to a cup of hot broth for a quick lunch
- Add a splash to dressing for chicken salad
And don’t forget that when you are craving something to eat during the afternoon slump, a hot cup of broth will satisfy without a sugar high and crash. See here for flavoring suggestions.