Microwave Roux?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by sgt. pepper, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. sgt. pepper

    sgt. pepper

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    As a Kentucky born-and-bred "Cajun wannabe", I've been cooking Cajun food for 10 years or longer now. I've read many books about Cajun cooking, studied it in somewhat great detail, and have become quite good at cooking Cajun dishes (at least that's what they tell me). Anyway, I make my roux the old school way...flour and oil over medium heat, stirring constantly for 15-30 minutes. The result is almost always perfect. While surfing around today, I read on gumbopages.com that you can make a roux in the microwave, in a shorter time, and without all the stirring (even though Chuck Taggart scoffed at the idea). I know all you old schoolers are gonna say there is now way you can make a good roux in the microwave, but I was wondering if anyone has done it and what the results were? I'd like to hear pro or con reviews on this topic if you've tried it. Until then, I'll be standing over my stove, stirring my "Two beer roux" (as Mr. Bam Pow Ah Yeah Babe Kick It Up A Notch, calls it), sweating and trying not to splash the Cajun Napalm on my flesh! :chef:
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've done it. Pyrex recommends against it. Cook's illustrated blew up a tempered glass Pyrex measuring cup doing it.

    You still have to stir it about every 30 seconds so it cooks evenly, but it is much faster. And more dangerous.

    As to the quality of the result, I think it tastes different than a roux cooked in cast iron in the standard method. As to a baked roux in the standard oven, I've done that too--in cast iron. I'll still do it if I'm pressed for time or burner space on occasion. It's different too as it doesn't get stirred as much as it seems to need, but I prefer it to the risks and results of the microwave.

    Phil
     
  3. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

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    Hey oh

    Yes, it is the physics of expansion and contraction that is the biggest concern. I do all my very small batch white ot blond roux in the nuker. Faster and cleaner, and yes I stir it every 30 seconds or so, and no, I don't nuke for more than 2 minute, and i try to match the container to the amount of roux so that I have hot roux almost all the way up its sides rather than an inch of roux in a three inch deep container. For this type of roux it is fine. If I were making a far larger amount of roux (more than a 1/4 pound) then it is stovetop. Also, if I were making a very dark roux as you are talking of, it most certainly would have to be stove top or oven.
     
  4. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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    For a blond roux, I usually cheat and use the oven too. I'll start it off on the stove top, then once everything is mixed well...I'll transfer the pan to the oven.

    are you planning on cooking something specific?
     
  5. scott123

    scott123

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    Scoffer here. ;)

    Roux, be they blond or black, are about evenly toasted granules of starch. A stir every 30 seconds? Are you kidding me? The outer edges don't have a chance at cooking evenly without constant stirring. Show me a microwave that has a built in stirrer and I'll show you a microwave that can do roux.

    Btw, microwaves are quantity specific. Try microwaving a tablespoon each of butter and flour for 30 seconds. I dare you :)
     
  6. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

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    Hey oh

    The granuals are not toasted. They are unfurreled to encompase dropletts of oil. Once they begin to take colour, they lose the ability to hold that oil, and they also lose the ability to act as a thickening agent. The darker the roux, the less it thickens.

    Yes, I find the nuker works for small batches of roux. By small, I do mean less than a 1/4 pound. Half a butter stick. Melt that, stir in starch. Heat that, stir, heat that. The stirring is not about the mixing, it about distributing the heat so you don't shatter your ramakin.

    Otherwise, stove top is best. Even on the stove top though, I don't stir my roux more than once in a while. And really, if stirring was so extreamly important all those restaurants out there that bake theirs must be putting out really bad product.

    Really. I accept you skeptisism. Please give it a try. If you don't think it works (as I think for me it does), you don't. I will respect you for trying it MORE than for whatever result you get.
     
  7. scott123

    scott123

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    'Take colour' = toasting = dextrinization.

    It's the same thing that occurs on the crust of a loaf of bread. And, if you don't stir your roux constantly, you get some granules that are darker, while others may be uncooked. Fat/Oil is an excellent conductor of heat, so you don't have to stir roux that vigorously, but you do have to keep it moving or you're looking at an unevenly cooked product.

    Do you really think that every roux recipe in the world states constant stirring just to make everyone do unnecessary work? If you want the best results, you have to put the effort in.

    As far as baking goes, if you use a shallow pan and the right placement in the oven, a fairly uniform color to roux can be achieved. It is definitely not the ideal method, though.
     
  8. sgt. pepper

    sgt. pepper

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    I pretty much suspected that a nuke roux wouldn't be what I expected. Most of you say that a blonde roux is relatively easy in the micro or oven. For the short amount of time it takes to make a blonde roux, I'm not complaining. I didn't know if you could make a chocolate roux in the micro or not. I didn't think it would work all that well. It's just the 30 minutes it takes to make a dark roux that gets a little annoying (especially when I have to stop whisking to open those beers). I saw where Paul Prudhomme makes his roux's over high heat. I'm not that brave yet. Anyone make them over high heat, and are they extremely easy to burn as I suspect?

    Peace...out.
     
  9. scott123

    scott123

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    I do high heat roux. As long as you keep the roux moving and aware that it continues to cook after you take it off the heat, it's not that difficult.

    Speaking of keeping the roux moving... A few years ago I came up with a better stirring implement. A flat edge slotted pancake turner. With a pancakge turner you can cover the whole bottom of the pan with a couple flicks of the wrist. With a spoon you're only contacting/moving a tiny bit of roux at a time.
     
  10. justfryit

    justfryit

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    I just tried it recently. From my first experience, making a true dark Cajun roux (veg oil and flour) in the micro is just too dangerous. After I removed it I placed it on the counter and the moment it touched the counter the tempered glass container I was using exploded. Thank god I didn't get a hot shard of tempered glass in my eye.

    It seemed to do OK for a blond and caramel roux but the heat for a dark brown roux is just too intense.

    There are several brands of pre-made dark brown roux in a jar you can buy around here in Louisiana. I don't know if they seel them anywhere else as I don't think there is much of a market for it. I've tried them and they are good, especially considering the work involved in making your own.

    http://www.cajungrocer.com/product_i...roducts_id=156

    http://www.cajungrocer.com/product_i...oducts_id=1024
     
  11. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I make dark roux over high heat with no problem, I just make sure to constantly stir and shake the pan at the same time. You can achieve a dark roux in about five minutes by this method with no difference in taste or thickening power. Sure beats taking 30 - 45 minutes.
     
  12. justfryit

    justfryit

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    Having been taught to make dark Caju roux by my mother, I've never known any other way to make it other than with high heat. Of course it's made with veg oil and not butter so that helps.

    It takes long enough with high heat I can't imagine using medium or less. My arm hurts just thinking about it.
     
  13. stephsherman323

    stephsherman323

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    I strongly advise against making a chocolate roux in the microwave - unfortunately I speak from experience. I have found that I can greatly simplify stovetop roux by starting it over moderate heat and stirring every few minutes. After it reaches the color of peanut butter, I turn up the heat to medium-high (or high if I'm really impatient) and stir constantly. The slower you stir the faster the color comes up, but don't take your eyes off of it at this point.