Roux vs. Manie

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by coup-de-feu, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. coup-de-feu

    coup-de-feu

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    It's been years since I made a roux to thicken with.  These days I use a manie almost exclusively because it is quicker to make, goes into the liquid faster, and has a "softer bouncier" texture.  I think liquids thickened with a manie are also a bit shinier.

    Texture and shine aside, the real reason I use it is to cut corners and save time - sometimes I even make it with a nice oil instead of butter to save more time.  Its in my mind that a roux is 100 years ago, why mess around with a roux when you get a better product faster with a manie?

    So, is there something I'm missing?  Specific recipes aside (like colored roux stuff), when does a roux have advantage over a manie?
     
  2. greyeaglem

    greyeaglem

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    With a roux the raw flour taste gets cooked off, whereas a manie can retain the raw flour taste if not cooked long enough. Cooking long enough can result in a scorched pan. I use a manie when I'm lazy and don't want to dirty up another pan (like in pan drippings from a roast for gravy) or if I underestimated how much roux I needed to thicken something. When making a light colored sauce, either manie or roux will work. When it comes to dark sauces, then a roux must be used.
     
  3. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Ill stick to 100 years ago to serve a better product. A manie was used if one made an error in calculation of a specific dish. It imparts a raw flour taste and mask the flavor of what the dish is supposed to be. But then everyone to their own. Why not do what a lot of us do and have your roux premade? Both white and brown. Making it with oil saves money  But then I always have a bain marie of clarified butter handy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  4. bughut

    bughut

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    If im making a steak pie, or a casserole I want the meat to cook for for an hour or so before thickening, so I'l use  beurre manie. It's getting a second cooking anyway. I dont consider that cheating.

    I'll only use a roux for a bechamel or a veloute.
     
  5. chefedb

    chefedb

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    As you say "you are cooking it, he is not"' plus he doesn't make roux s and has not in years.
     
  6. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif  In over 50 years behind the range, I have never used a beurre manie. I always kept 3 roux pots, one light, one brown and one made with bacon fat. I have just never had a need to put raw flour in anything but bread. We even made roux with beef fat and chicken fat./img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
     
     
  7. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    I prefer roux . Roux made like Ed said is the way to go and when done this way much quicker than manie.I think you would spend more time cooking the starch out of the manie than you would if you had just made some roux. As far as a manie making a better product I dont feel that way at all. A roux is much more versatile, just ask any chefs from  Cajun or Creole backgrounds,  but you better pull up a chair and be prepared to listen to a lot of family history if you do ask.......................
     
  8. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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     Quote: Coup-de- Feu

    So, is there something I'm missing?  Specific recipes aside (like colored roux stuff), when does a roux have advantage over a manie?

    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gifIt's a matter whether you want to add something that tastes like toasted nuts or something that tastes like wallpaper paste. All you have to do is thicken half you soup or sauce with each and you can tell the difference. And so can your customers./img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
     
  9. titomike

    titomike

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    I think with skill and finesse you can make a good sauce with any number of starches and methods but you won't get the same results a different way. A cooked out (flour and water is wallpaper paste) beurre manie would be in league with cornflour, arrowroot, riceflour etc. whose function is binding and thickening without masking or contributing to flavour. Fine let the rest of the ingredients shine...

    I think flour stands out classically because of its nature and stability under heat it becomes an ingredient through the cooking process and is therefore inherent in the sauce as opposed to an addition to it. Thus, demi-glace I see as in a league of its own of its own creation.

    I don't think there is a comparative choice.
     
  10. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    There is not much Gumbo going on in his kitchen...............ChefBillyB
     
  11. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Beurre manie is more than just a bandaid for a roux mistake.  It's very much not roux.  Nor is it arrowroot, corn starch, reduction or anything else. 

    The major tricks to beurre manie, such as they are:  Use it cold into hot. Simmering not boiling.  Not too much.  And, continue cooking long enough after it's been added fully cook the flour off.

    If you use it wrong, it's obnoxious.  If you use it right, it's useful.  I don't use it often, but do keep some in the freezer for the rare occasion.

    An example would be this simple sauce for smoked, barbecued brisket.  Soften a couple tbs of shallots in very little butter with tsp of smoked paprka and a pinch of sage.  Add 1 cup each of beef stock and red wine, along with a little worcestershire and a splash of inexpensive balsamic or a decent sherry vinegar.  Reduce by a 1/3 to cook the raw off the wine and vinegar, and to  concentrate the flavors.  Taste and adjust for salt, slightly undersalting.  Reduce to a simmer.  Add just enough beurre manie to impart a little body.  Continue simmering for at least 15 minutes, until the flour taste disappears completely.  Adjust for salt again. 

    In this light, barbecue sauce, the beurre manie not only adds a highly controlled amount of body, but binds the paprika and sage, and imparts gloss as well.  If you have a good "virtual palate" you'll recognize that any other thickening method would either fail or bring one sort of undesirable characteristic or another.  IMO, this is a good illustration of the sort of independent role beurre manie can play.

    BDL

    PS.  A "classic" demi-glace is actually a daughter of an espagnole which is made a roux light underpinning.  Modernly, (i.e., since the nouvelle and California revolutions), most cooks omit the espagnole completely and go with a straight reduction.  Either way works just swell.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  12. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Beurre manie is used a lot in medium to large scale production cooking.  It's not uncommon to see a gallon of that stuff sitting on a shelf underneath the hoods.  It's a quick and easy way to thicken up gravy.  Just keep adding until it's "thick enough."  It has its place.  Been there, done that.  Don't like it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  13. titomike

    titomike

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    Interesting....?

    If the sauce is appreciably lighter, which was why espagnole was rejected in the first place...

    If reduced stock is equal to classic demi-glace or at least widely accepted as such....

    If pre-roasted flour is used for the beurre manie and will impart that flavour...

    If a beurre manie used correctly imparts extra gloss because, two birds with one stone, the butter is liased in one easy step eliminating the need for mounting....

    If the the OP's intent is to compromise classic technique in the interests of labour/energy costs in a modern economy....

    Isn't he right on the money? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif

    A couple of other observations...

    Tit-toeing around messin' with classic technique and references to 'cheating' contrasted with a bottomline of 'whatever works' as a means to an end...

    A general lack of respect for 'other' starches yet a vast appreciation of Asian cuisine...

    What is this...a cultural identity crisis?  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif
     
  14. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    Not a cultural identity crisis/img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif Just a forum of knowledge and ideas shared by us cooks.

    But to be very nice the word "if" used in so many sentences always starts me to wandering down paths maybe I should not take.

    If I can just show you how wrong you have been using flour for thickening and flavor?

    If this is easier and the customer doesnt know the difference than why not?

    If my sister had bullocks she would be my brother.?

    If Buerre manie then why Espagnole and classic Demi Glace?

    If its old school we can do it better with the same ingredients?

    Enough IFs..My opinion is the easy way out is not always the best. Some waters have all ready been swum in. Why butt the head?
     
  15. iplaywithfire

    iplaywithfire

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    Cutting corners will eventually lead to a 12 car pile-up, or at least inevitably a flat tire from hitting a curb too hard.  If your sauce is lacking for some reason and you want more gloss, use a finisher to touch it up.  Classic sauces have had hundreds of years to develop, and in most cases, there is a good reason for the choice of liaison in each. 
     
  16. greyeaglem

    greyeaglem

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    This from the Escoffier Cook Book, English translation , copyright 1941, Under the section Cold Sauces and Compound Butters, item 151 reads as follows: Manie Butter. "Knead, until perfectly combined, four oz. of butter and three oz. of sifted flour. This butter is used for quick binding in the Matelotes, etc. The sauce to which manie butter has been added should not boil too long if this can possibly be avoided, but long enough to cook the flour otherwise it would have a very disagreeable taste of uncooked flour."  Item number 1037: Matelote With Red Wine "The fish used for Matelote are eel, carp, trench, bream, perch, etc. It may be prepared from many kinds of fish. Put the fish, cut into sections, into a saucepan. For two lbs. of it, add one minced onion, one herb bunch, two cloves of galic, one pint of red wine, a pinch of salt, and another of pepper or four peppercorns. Set to boil; add three tablespoons of heated and burnt brandy; cover the saucepan, and complete the cooking of the fish. This done, transfer the pieces to another saucepan; strain the cooking liquor, reduce it by a third, and thicken it with manie butter (consisting of one and one-half oz. of butter and two tablespoons of flour), cut into small pieces. When the binding has been properly done, pour the resulting sauce over the pieces of fish; heat, and serve in a earthenware timbale." The section on roux, which deals first with brown roux, is too lengthy to include here, however, the point of interest as I see it is when Escoffier talks about too high of heat in the beginning of the cooking process that burns the starch and two or three times as much roux is needed for thickening. "But this excess of roux in the sauce chokes it up without binding it, and prevents it from clearing. At the same time, the cellulose and the burnt starch lend a bitterness to the sauce of which no subequent treatment can rid it. From the above it follows that, starch being the only one from among the different constituents of flour which really affects the thickening of sauces, there would be considerable advantage in preparing roux either from a pure form of it, or from substances with kindred properties such as fecula, arrowroot, cornstarch, etc. It is only habit that causes flour to be still used as the binding element of roux, and, indeed, the hour is not so far distant when the advantages of the changes I propose will be better understood_ changes which have been already recommended by Favre in his dictionary. With a roux made of purest starch_in which case the volume of starch and butter would equal about half that of the flour and butter of the old method_and with a strong and succulent brown stock, a Spanish sauce or Espagnole may be made in one hour. And this sauce will be clearer, more brilliant, and better than that of the old processes, which needed three days at least to throw off the scum."  So, Escoffier treated buerre manie and roux as two separate and unrelated things. The manie seems to be used when a sauce needs to be reduced before thickening, this conclusion being reaffirmed by the use of it in BDL's recipe. So here was Escoffier calling flour and butter roux "old style" a hundred years ago. If he saw us still doing it, I'm sure he'd be slapping his head and calling us whatever passed for "stupid" in his time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
  17. titomike

    titomike

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    Sorry, I missed the 'then' after all those 'if's, losing my point, apparently, which was the irony of the reasoning displayed in the posts so far which, as it turns out, might not be ironic at all.

    Thanks for the help with punchline... I must have been too subtle if you thought I'm not old school!

    Oh yeah, I edited your quote for flow... I didn't think you'd mind since you used me for the 'fall guy'. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    This is a forum...no sh*t!...its not necessary to bicker over who's 'right', I'm mostly interested in results I can taste so back on topic...

    Greyeagle's response is more the way I hoped this thread would progress. It addresses potential opportunities open to us in the time and world we live in. A roux made with a more pure starch (or a beurre manie maybe) or a classic beurre manie added to a reduced stock 'demi-glaze' (sic) since this is how Escoffier would have handled it.

    For a while, I have been working on a sauce regime that is practical & economically viable that I can teach to younger chefs, one my step-son, in my kitchen with integrity...I see it as a responsibility. I want it to reflect the knowledge & techniques of our industry's heritage and be chosen because its the best option for now.

    So greyeagle... in your experience, a roux with which more pure starch?

    BDL... To clarify, how would a classic beurre manie fit with you regarding a reduced stock demi-glace vs. your BDLesqspagnole which, as you know, we currently use?

    .....I haven't done well with direct questions so...Please! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lookaround.gif
     
     
  18. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Titomike,

    I wouldn't use beurre manie in any sort of demi-glace, whether made by meandering down the espagnole path or as a more or less straight reduction.  If a demi isn't sufficiently structured or thick enough, you just keep reducing.  Maybe on some sort of demi derivative, if you didn't want to over-concentrate the flavors.

    Beurre manie is just one way of adding structure (as well as thickness) to a soup or sauce.  It's the right way for some things, and it's a convenient bandaid for a lot of others.  It doesn't bring much flavor -- or at least it shouldn't.  

    It stands up to heat better than arrowroot, to time better than cornstarch, potato startch, is more predictable than tapioca startch, and so on.  For that matter you use Wondra for most of the same things.  It's alright.  Real chefs do.  

    Beurre manie (and Wondra too) have their limits as bandaid thickeners.  Yes, they thicken and yes -- if you use a lot -- they can do a lot of thickening.  But they aren't "foundational" in the same way roux, tomato paste, reduction, or dissolved onions are.  The taste contribution of raw flour added near the end of cooking will almost never be helpful.  

    Escoffier is great stuff, but needs some context.  For instance, in the beurre manie matelote example -- it might help to know that a matelote gets its taste and color from ground lobster shells.  You can't thicken too early or the shell won't cook down, you can't use cornstarch because the wine would break it, arrowroot couldn't handle all the heat, and so on. 

    My example -- and I'm just crushed y'all aren't talking about -- go for similar results for different reasons.  I chose beurre manie to allow the flavors to marry and develop before the sauce was thickened, and for the control beurre manie brings.  I didn't want something as thin as a Carolina sauce, nor as gloppy as KC style, just a nice jus made by someone using technique in service to control.    

    In my opinion it's a big mistake to use it to replace all other thickeners -- but I'm not in the OP's kitchen.  In my own cooking, I would never use it to replace roux.  Nor would I ever make an ersatz with oil.  Furthermore, It's a big mistake to try to impose theory on reality, and better  to work the other way around.  Since cooking is results oriented, if it's working for him -- and I take his word for it -- whether or not it works for me, I'm thrilled.   

    Two cents,

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
  19. titomike

    titomike

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    I wouldn't use beurre manie in any sort of demi-glace, whether made by meandering down the espagnole path or as a more or less straight reduction.  If a demi isn't sufficiently structured or thick enough, you just keep reducing.  Maybe on some sort of demi derivative, if you didn't want to over-concentrate the flavors.

    I' m happy with process and results of the meander...which goes as you described above, imho it is better than the straight reduction.

    For chicken I' ll try a few beurre manie with different starches in a reduction.

    Thanks Mike.
     
  20. coup-de-feu

    coup-de-feu

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    What started me using it was I read somewhere (I thought it was On Food And Cooking) that as long as you don't simmer the manie more than 3 minutes then there is no flour taste, if you simmer too long you must follow through and cook out the flour.  I found that to be true, and being in a massive, under-staffed cafateria, manie was quite useful.  Untill now I didn't look back but... I can see now it does not really improve flavor.

    I had a hunch I was wrong about this - that's why I asked. 

    Top notch advice and input.  You guys really know what you are talking about.  Thanks.

    CDF