How to use Flour as a thickening agent ?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by surfcast, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. surfcast

    surfcast

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    I have only used flour as a thickening agent, in Roux I cook it with whole butter . I believe it should be done with clarified butter , but both work well .

    I have observed in some written recipes , they say to introduce the Flour right in to the dish.
    Which for me is some thing new, tried it last night in a pasta dish. Added it when I was sautéing
    Onion and Garlic in EVO . I simply sprinkled it over the top, and did my best to keep it all moving.
    I dropped my flame down ,to less than half . The Flour took up all of the oil , do to the lower temperature and movement . I did not scorch any thing ,and kept at it till the Flour cooked .
    The dish came out good, I did not pick up any odd taste . Some times thickening agents ,
    can distort flavor.

    I also viewed in a video, on making Turkey gravy. The took Flour, and put it in a jar, with cold tap water, and mixed it vigorously. The introduced it right in, and relied on simmering it, to cook out the Flour.

    What is you opinion, on these two methods mentioned above . A wholesome Idea ,or are there better methods? Or how would you handle it , if you were doing it?
     
  2. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    Hi Surfcast.
    I use all of those of those methods depending on what I'm making.. btw mixing flour and water together is sometimes called 'whitewash'. If I'm making the roux out of the fresh turkey drippings I will use a whitewash and then rely on the fats in the dripping to help enrich the gravy. If I chilled the drippings I would skim the fat from the top, make my roux with that and add that back to the clear stock. As far as other vistas of roux making are concerned? You've just taken your first baby steps. Good luck exploring!
    Peachcreek
     
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Each has its own use. I use all three methods for using flour as a thickener. The first method you mention is really just a variation on a roux. You are combining the flour that is already in the pan as opposed to making your roux on the side with either butter or oil I always do this when making sausage gravy. I brown my sausage and instead of draining the sausage and using a pre-made roux to thicken I just add my flour to the browned sausage and the grease that came off of it. It helps to preserve and enhance the sausage flavor as that grease is full of flavor.

    I will often use a whitewash or slurry if I haven't initially used enough roux and want to thicken the sauce a bit more. My grandmother never made a roux to thicken her gravy it was always a flour slurry.
     
  4. surfcast

    surfcast

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    I was always under the impression of when using Roux, you could cook the Flour enough, not to introduce a raw flour taste in to the food . In the two techniques above, how do you Know when enough is enough ??
     
  5. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    To answer your first question, when using whitewash the flour still needs to cook out. The benefit of using flour vs. corn starch or arrowroot is you can simmer the liquid with roux and it will thicken while cornstarch or arrowroot will break down and lose their thickening quality with extended heat.
    As for knowing how much roux to use?
    A rule of cooking~ it is easier to add than subtract.
    Try with following known recipes till you begin to understand working with roux and thickeners.
    Glad to see you are so passionate about cooking!
    Good luck!
     
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  6. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Even with a roux, unless it is a darker roux, you will need to cook your sauce for a while, as there is still a raw flour taste.
     
  7. mike9

    mike9

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    When I make roux for gravy I dry cook my flour before adding my oil. This does two things for me - #1 - it pre-cooks the flower some (do not burn it) and #2 - it allows me to use less oil, fat, whatever. Roux for Gumbo, etc, I do a standard one, or two beer roux, but since the longer cooking time will break the flour down I use okra, or filet powder as the main thickening agent.
     
  8. fatcook

    fatcook

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    Taste it :)

    When I was young, we always used the slurry method, Usually, by the time it came to a good boil and cooked long enough to thicken properly, the flour was cooked enough as well. But you should already be tasting it for seasoning, so you will know if it needs more time as well.
     
  9. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    No matter what method I use to thicken with flour I always cook my end product for another 10-15 minutes to cook out all the raw flour taste.
     
  10. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Also do some web searching for "buerre manie"

    mjb.
     
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  11. jay lancaster

    jay lancaster

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    I was wondering if anyone was going to finally get here...LoL
     
  12. surfcast

    surfcast

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    Does Roux have to be introduced cold in order to work properly
     
  13. french fries

    french fries

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    No. There's a myth that says that you need a temperature shock between your liquid and the roux, meaning either cold roux on hot liquid, or cold liquid on hot roux. Then there are cooks who swear you MUST heat up the liquid before adding it to a hot roux. In practice, I personally haven't noticed any difference between any of the methods.
     
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  14. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    My only rule about adding roux to a liquid, is that I don't add roux to a liquid that is boiling-too big of a risk of getting lumps. I will usually add roux to a liquid that is just below simmering. It doesn't matter if the roux is hot or room temp (I never have extra roux that I need to refrigerate).
     
  15. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    I realize that most of the time I use cold liquid on top of a hot roux, wether it be to make a béchamel of after "singer" a stew (fry up pieces of meat in oil, sprinkle with flour and cook out the flour a bit, then add braising liquid).