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Dehydrated Broth

Broth is the foundation of the GAPS diet. One of the pillars of all healthy diets worldwide according to Dr Kate Shanahan and it is featured prominently in Nourishing Traditions. It seems to be part of the diets of all people with good health from all cultures. Perhaps that is why we continue to use and crave it’s flavor in so many foods. Canned broth and bullion cubes are not a healthy part of any diet but an weak imitation of the real stuff that humans have thrived on for millennia. I have shared how to make bone broth, how to make meat broth, the difference between the two and about making it in the pressure cooker. I have also shared ideas for sneaking it into your families diet. Today I’m going to share another idea for broth.

Many of my blog posts contain affiliate links. Purchasing through an affiliate link allows me to keep blogging and sharing what I learn with you. It is a bit like leaving a tip for service and is very much appreciated.
 
Thank You! -PattyLA

Dehydrated broth.

I will say right up front that dehydrated broth is not my favorite flavor wise. That would be pressure cooker broth. Nor do I suspect it is the absolute best for gut healing. That is probably meat broth and the resulting pate. Where dehydrated broth shines is in portability and shelf life. It does not need to be refrigerated. And 1 tsp of dehydrated broth (give or take) makes 1 cup of rehydrated broth! This is concentrated stuff! It is perfect for travel and also for emergency storage. I also love having it on hand for the occasions when I just have gotten behind and need some broth to throw in a dish. Putting in that much nutrition with such a small volume of substance is a real win/win.

So now the basics. You will want to start out with a lot of unsalted broth. If you don’t know how to make broth start here Bone Broth. This lovely mess is the second run of the bones that I made the dehydrated broth from. I strain out the broth and add more water and let them go another 24-48 hours as long as the bones aren’t crumbly yet. I usually get 3 batches of broth (each one smaller than the one before) from beef bones.

This time made meat broth in my electric roaster. I filled it up with meaty bones from my last half beef. When the meat was done I picked off the cooked meat and returned the bones to the pot. I continued to cook the bones in the broth overnight. It cooked about 24 hours total. Quite a bit of the moisture evaporated while it cooked and I did not replenish it because I intended to dehydrate it and wanted to get as much of that done the easy was as possible. After 24 hours I strained off the broth and ended up with about 4 qts of broth and fat. About three cups was fat between the two jars. (sorry I did not think to snap a photo of the jars. You will have to use your imagination.)

Once you have made your broth (make it with as little water as possible to make your job easier later on). Strain it and put it into a container in the fridge. You will want to remove the fat from this broth before dehydrating it and that is much easier to do if you chill it for several hours first.

After I had chilled my broth it was simple to scoop off the thick layer of fat on the surface of the dark broth. I was somewhat generous with my scooping. I wanted to get all of the fat out of the broth and I didn’t worry about getting a little bit of broth into the fat.

Next I poured the defatted broth into a large wide pot and began to boil it.

I kept an eye on it while it boiled watching for when it would turn thick so that I could be sure to stop it before it burned. I started out with a bit more than 3 qts of defatted very rich broth. This cooked down to less than 1 qt when I could see that the bubbles showed that it was getting much thicker. (photo above) I turned it off at this point and it quickly got a skin on the surface as it cooled. This was a good sign that it was ready to dehydrate. If it boils till it is too thick it will be difficult to spread thin to dehydrate and can quickly burn. Finding the sweet spot where it is quite thick but not so thick that it will burn or clump can be tricky so keep a close eye on it when it gets close. Below you can see it cooled off somewhat.

For dehydrating I use an Excalibur Dehydrator. I haven’t ever used any others so I can’t tell you how it compares for this process.

Once it had cooled enough to handle it I poured it out onto two Excalibur ParaFlexx Non-Stick Sheets. I spread it as thin as I could and set the Excalibur Food Dehydrator to the highest temperature. The thinner it is the easier it will be to grind it into a powder once dry. It will also dry out much faster. 

I was able to spread it about 1/8 of an inch thick. It took 2 trays for that much broth (so about 2 cups per tray). It took nearly 3 days for it to be fully dehydrated. I probably should have tried to spread it even thinner on more trays.

Meanwhile, I added about a qt of water to the pot that I had just removed the broth from as well as the fat I had removed before cooking down the defatted broth. I brought it to a boil and used the rubber spatula to scrape down all of the broth that was still stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan. Once I had it all mixed in I could see that it was good rich broth. I poured that into a 2 qt jar and you see what I got here. I just couldn’t bear the thought of wasting any of that broth that I had worked so hard to make just because it was stuck to the pot.

Back to the dehydrator. After 24 hours or so I lifted the drying broth. It was like sticky fruit leather and stuck to the ParaFlexx Sheet when I tried to lift it off. I was able to pry it off and flip it over to expose the underside and help it dry faster. This step isn’t necessary but it should speed up the dehydrating. Every 24 hours or so I would flip it to help the drying. I also felt the center. The edges got hard and brittle first but as long as the center was still flexible like fruit leather I knew I had longer to go. You want the whole thing to be hard and brittle. Some have found that they or their children enjoy “broth leather” and certainly you can stop at this point and use it in the manner. Since this broth leather will include some moisture it will not be shelf stable and should be kept in the fridge or freezer to keep it from spoiling. Here is the broth partially dehydrated with a small piece snapped from the brittle edge but still very flexible in the center.

The top side of partially dehydrated broth

Partially dehydrated broth flipped over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once it is brittle all the way across you can turn off the dehydrator and let it cool. At this point my 4 year old requested a taste of the brittle dried broth. I agreed to let her taste some and decided to eat some myself so I broke off small pieces. Remember that as far as nutrition goes about 1 tsp of dehydrated broth is the same as a cup of broth. She loved the crunchy treat and asked for more after she finished the first piece. In fact I had to stop letting her eat it for fear she would eat more than I could spare. Her sister also tasted some. She wasn’t quite so thrilled with it until I pointed out that the small piece she was holding would count as a cup of broth. Then she easily crunched it down finding it much easier to consume than a cup of hot broth (despite 2.5 years of GAPS and occasionally loving it, most of the time broth is still her nemesis.) I had to set aside the broth till the next day before I could process it further and my 4 year old kept going back asking for more and more pieces of it. I will say that it is delightfully crunchy and it sticks to your teeth a bit like hard candy will if you chew it up. The flavor is very savory and despite not having any salt at all, not bland or unpleasant. 

You can see the broken piece laying on top of the rest of the dehydrated broth.

Once it is dry you can then pulverize it into a powder to make “instant broth”. I broke the broth into pieces small enough to fit into my Vitamix and saved back about 1/4 of them for my children to eat as is. (It is the easiest way by far to get broth into each of them!) I then started the Vitamix and was very impressed with how quickly and easily it converted that hard broth into powder. Last fall I made dehydrated broth and I think that I did not dehydrate it quite long enough to get truly hard and brittle all the way through. I also tried to process it in my Food Processor and I wasn’t ever able to get many of the thicker chunks to pulverize. That is ok and it works but it takes a lot longer to dissolve those bigger chunks when re-hydrating the broth than if it is in a fine powder. Use whatever machine you have or even simply break up the pieces as best you can by hand or with a mortar and pestle. Just expect to spend a bit more time dissolving it when the time comes to re-hydrate.

I reserved some of the broth as broth chips since I now know that my girls will eat it readily.  

The rest that was processed into powder fit into a pint jar. One cup of dehydrated broth will make 24 quarts of re-hydrated broth depending on how rich you want your resulting broth to be. There is nothing to stop you from making it as rich or as thin as you want. 

Re-hydrating broth is simple to do. I have often done it in hotel rooms making hot water in the in room coffee maker or from the hot water in the foyer and mixing in the powdered broth and some salt. I can make it as thick as I want (and have less to drink). Also should we be without power as long as we can make hot water we can have broth. If we can’t make hot water we can still just take it like a supplement or mixed in our food and keep our nutrition up. I notice a slide in our health when we start neglecting broth and at stressful times like travel and power outages it seems even more crucial that we are getting good nutrition and especially minerals to help us deal with the stress.

I made some dehydrated broth last September and was still using it a couple of weeks ago when my husband mistook the almost empty jar of it beside the stove for the jar we are storing bacon grease in and poured some on top. I kept it in a tightly closed jar to protect it from moisture and it seemed just as fresh as when I made it.

When I dehydrate broth I leave out the salt. I don’t know how much I will want in my finished product and I don’t want it to be too salty. Also excessive cooking breaks down gelatin so I often add some powdered gelatin. A good rule of thumb is 1 tsp of broth powder, 1/4 tsp of celtic sea salt and 1/4 tsp of unflavored gelatin. Adjust to suit your taste.

To learn more about broth check out my ebook Broth: Elixir of Life 

1broth-elixir-of-life-250

Have you ever made dehydrated broth? Does your technique differ from mine? I would love to hear about it in the comments. Now that I have discovered that my children eat this so readily I may be making it more often.

Many of my blog posts contain affiliate links. Purchasing through an affiliate link allows me to keep blogging and sharing what I learn with you. It is a bit like leaving a tip for service and is very much appreciated.
 
Thank You! -PattyLA

28 Comments

  1. I have dehydrated broth in my little Nesco, using the fruit leather sheets. What I did was similar, and I was just trying it out to see if I could do it… I did a seafood broth (using leftovers from a seafood meal – crab and lobster shells/meat, etc) – I did throw it away afterwards, again, it was just a test and I happened to have the leftovers there.

    About the only thing I did differently was that as the broth started drying, I used a fork and mixed it up. This seemed to keep the drying more even, and I did not have to dehydrated for as long (but, again, I didn’t have 3 quarts either – I probably started out with a pint of broth).

  2. Fabulous! Thanks so much for writing up such a great set of instructions! A small $10 coffee/spice grinder gives a nice fine powder as well.

  3. This is very cool, Patty! I have never dehydrated broth. I was thinking you could probably leave it in pieces if you didn’t want to pulverize it. Great idea, thanks for sharing. I especially like that your girls will eat the broth as “chips”! One more way to get broth into children!

  4. Brilliant. I featured this on today’s Dehydrator Thursday’s post.

  5. I just found your blog and am loving the info in it. I make bone broth but am getting ideas for all the other ways you do it and the extras like “pate”. I haven’t made
    any broth this summer because well, really who wants to boil anything when its in the 90′s and no air conditioning! So its time to get to it again — I think I may need a pressure cooker for those summer months since my youngest (who is 21 but just moved back home) practically lives on my homemade chicken broth – I can’t keep enough in the house for him. He won’t touch store bought anymore – even the so-called natural “organic” from the food coop. Thanks for all the info — going to look over your other info now.

  6. I’ll have to try this. I tend to have a never-ending pot on the stove since I never have enough fridge space, but this would solve that problem.

    How do you think it would work with doing it in the oven? Mine goes down to 150F and
    I could use parchment paper on sheet pans. Will have to experiment with a fresh pot
    of broth.

    • I think that will work but it will take a long time so be ready for that.

  7. I’m interested to hear about your experience using an oven for this process. I don’t have room in my kitchen for a dehydrater. Thanks for a great post–great idea!

    • I haven’t tried the broth yet, but I use my oven all of the time for a dehydrator. On my oven Warm is 150F and I can set it at 175 or 200 if I want. If I want it cooler than Warm, I stick a wooden spoon in the top opening of the oven door to keep it open a bit. (be careful doing this if you have small children or pets)

      Doing crispy nuts and grains takes about 24 hours, depending on how much I am doing at one time. I use a perforated metal pizza pan, or sheet pan topped with parchment for my trays. HTH

  8. Thanks , great article

  9. I was making this and fell asleep, I think I overcooked the broth (maybe burned it) in the just before dehydrating stage. Is there any way I can check it to see if it is too thick (or funky) before I through away the whole thing? It is really dark, but the broth was really dark brown with the roasted things I had in it…

    • Taste it. See if it tastes really burnt.

  10. Thanks for sharing this! I love the idea of having greater ease in staying on my GAPS diet while traveling, and am especially intrigued by the bone broth leather.
    I have a few questions: Do you have any sense of the nutritional value of dehydrated broth in comparison to original? I’m also confused about making broth with the same bones 2 or 3 times. I thought the nutrition was largely in the marrow and cartiliage and gelatin, all of which are transferred to the broth through cooking. What’s left of value in the bones that can be derived from cooking a second time? Any idea on how nutritional that second or third batch will be?
    I also don’t understand why one would add packaged gelatin. What is the value of adding it- nutritional or otherwise?
    I appreciate your response and any links you might have addressing these issues.

    • Hi Karen,
      Nutritionally it will be similar but not exactly the same. Gelatin breaks down with extended cooking so my reconstituted broth does not gel although the broth it was made from did gel. However it will still have all of the minerals present in the original broth since they are not broken down by cooking. I add gelatin to my reconstituted broth so that I will be getting the benefits of it along with the minerals.

      Broth is beneficial not only because of the nutrition from the soft tissues but also the bones themselves are dissolved into the liquid. Bones are a rich source of minerals and that is one of the great benefits of drinking bone broth. All of those liquid minerals. The longer you cook the broth the softer the bones will get and that shows how the minerals are moving from the bones into the broth. If you keep going long enough the bones will completely dissolve.

      Does that help?
      -PattyLA

      • I’m interested in this gelatin vs mineral content issue too.
        I’m also interested in this dehydrated broth for another reason, use in hiking as a litewt soup stock &c.

        What’s the best strategy for getting the best of both?
        Doing a shorter first run with bones &al to get the
        gelatin;
        Then a long 2nd run to extract more minerals
        Cook batch 2 down to dehydrate?

        I would think that boiling would pretty much finish off
        the collagen & any enzyme content so that kind of broth
        wouldn’t be the best for dehydrating (it would keep the
        components of the collagen to some extent, but…)

        Any comments or advice appreciated!

        • The last couple of times that we have traveled I have simply cooked the broth down a lot but not till it is syrup and have not dehydrated it. I can cook about 6 qts down to about 1 pint and then it is a thick jello when it cools. I give my kids a spoonful of the jello or we mix a spoonful into hot water. It seems to keep much longer than fresh broth for some reason (2+ weeks on the trip we just took). and the girls prefer eating the spoonful of broth to drinking a mug of hot broth. It is easier to dissolve in hot water than the powder form too I find and has quite a bit of gelatin. However if you need it to be shelf stable you would want to powder it. You can certainly purchase gelatin and mix it 1:1 with the broth powder to have a high gelatin broth that is shelf stable. That is what I usually do.

  11. I dehydrated some broth for the first time a month or so ago. I tried grinding it in my Cuisinart food processor but it didn’t work well. I have a decent blender but it has blunt-edge blades and isn’t likely strong enough to powder the broth. I also have a cheap Oster blender with sharp blades that I use for powdering dehydrated placenta by replacing the blender jar with a pint glass jar. Dried placenta and broth are similarly hard :) I think I’ll pick up another blade for personal use and try to powder it that way.

  12. I make a mess of and waste too much money trying to do these kinds of things. I would just love to purchase some good bone or meat broth. Where could I buy good quality dried broth?

    • I am not aware of any source of quality dehydrated broth. You can buy quality frozen broth from USWellness Meats however.

    • I wanted to dehydrate bone broth but was told it turns to MSG when you do.

      • Breaking down the gelatin will create free glutamates and some people react to those like they react to MSG because they are similar but it is not the same thing and not everyone who reacts to MSG will have a problem with free glutamates.

  13. I have often thought I should try to do this, now I’m really inspired to do it! I do however often cook my broth down till starting to get quite thick then refrigerate in a square glass baking dish. Once it is chilled and becomes a very firm “finger jello” I cut it into squares and freeze on a baking sheet. When frozen I toss them into a ziplock bag and store in the freezer. Then I toss a cube or two into taco meat, spaghetti sauce, anywhere I think I can put them. It is really nice to have broth made and stored because sometimes I run out of bones to make it fresh. Thanks for this post!

  14. This is awesome. I was wondering if you could do the same thing with chicken stock.

    • Yes but you must start out with bone broth since it has lots of minerals and dissolved solids. This won’t work for a short cooked stock.

  15. I only have one Excalibur non stick sheet. Have you tried it with wax paper or parchment paper?

    • I haven’t but it should work. I would do parchment paper, not waxed paper.

  16. I reduced my broth way down from cups to equivalent oz. Then, I poured it into a silicone ice cube tray (divided into the same number of cubes as initial cups) and put it into the fridge. After the gelatin set up, I removed them from the tray and put them on a plate in the fridge, turning cubes occasionally, until dried out. They turned out like hard candies. Then, when I need one, I just put a square per cup of water to reconstitute. I like that there is no measuring needed, just plop it in!

  17. I have made dehydrated broth too. I ground my broth when it was still slightly pliable, then after it was a powder I dehydrated it again. It became a very dry powder and I never have any issues with it clumping.

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