Unfamiliar Culinary Term

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by kyheirloomer, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    So, ok, comes a recipe that calls for creating a blanc. Basically this is a combination of water, lemon juice, and flour, whisked together. The purpose is to serve as an acidic bath to prevent vegetables---in this case celeraic---from browning.

    I'd never heard the term before. So my questions are twofold: 1. Is this at all a common term? And, 2. what is the purpose of the flour? Ive always acidified merely by mixing lemon juice and water. I'm sure the flour must serve some function, but I can't figure what it might be.

    Thnx
     
  2. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", pg 430:

    "A blanc is a solution of salted water with lemon juice and flour. It is used for the preliminary cooking of any food which discolors easily, such as artichoke bottoms, salsify, calf's head. Flour and lemon juice blanch the food and keep its whiteness."

    Basically the same as you posted. I also found a similar description in "The Professional Chef" glossary.
     
  3. web monkey

    web monkey

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    Found it here, but it sounds moderately revolting and seems to be a cooking method, not just to prevent browning.

    http://cueflash.com/Decks/culinary_test_1/

    Have you ever seen it done. Seems like the veggies would get covered in random gluey bits of four, unless it was thick enough to actually be a sauce.

    Terry
     
  4. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    A long time ago there was a chemical we used to use to keep certain foods from dicoloring the trade name was Spud-Nu it was sulpher based and eventually was taken off the market. We then used a  mix  refered to as a blanc.. omeone once told me that the ingredients are the same as a beurre blanc(which is a cooked sauce) Flour optional and add buttert. Dont know if true but makes some sense.I used it to dip sliced mushrooms it worked pretty good.
     
  5. siduri

    siduri

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    But again, as KY asked, what is the purpose of the flour?
     
  6. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    The "recipe" from Julia Childs is:

    1/4 cup flour
    1 quart very cold water
    2 tablespoons Lemon juice
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt

    Put the flour in a saucepan and beat in some of the water to make a smooth paste. Then beat in the rest of the water and remaining ingredients.

    Sounds very "loose" to me.
     
  7. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Terry, this version lacks half the ingredients listed in that glossery. And it isn't used to cook with. After soaking in the blanc the celeraic is rinsed well, then cooked until tender. The blanc is discarded.

    I see absolutely no reason for the flour.
     
  8. cape chef

    cape chef

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    The term has been around for many years although not a commonly used term in American kitchens. I have made blanc's before using just milk, because the lactic acid helps prevent oxidation.For the flour in a blanc, when the flour gets wet gliadin doesn't do much, but the glutinin forms long strong chains that bond with eacthother and basically encapsulate the item you don't want to oxidize. The lemon anti oxidizing properties are elevated because they co-exist with the amino acids in the flour
     
  9. web monkey

    web monkey

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    It didn't sound very tasty.

    Terry
     
  10. french fries

    french fries

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    The role of the flour is to opacify the water and protect the ingredients from the light. The oil (or butter) forms a protective film and protects the ingredient from contact with air. The acid prevents oxydation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  11. blueicus

    blueicus

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    Honestly, we should just stick to using ascorbic acid
     
  12. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    No argument, Blueicus. Normally that's all I ever do---in the form of lemon juice. But being as I was testing the recipe I figured it would be nice to both follow the instructions and understand what was going on.
     
  13. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    The flour then helps adhere or bind , this sounds logical.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  14. goodevans

    goodevans

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    During my apprenticeship in Switzerland (67-71), our much-cherished apprentices handbook informed us that the purpose of the flour in a blanc was to raise the temperature of the liquid, thus shortening the cooking time -- an adequate-enough justification, considering the gloop had the cute-as-a-mule's-kick knack of permeating every leaf and layer of every globe artichoke.

    When I worked with the late Alain Chapel, he was of the opinion that the flour 'nourished' the vegetable ensuring it remained moist ... with each seat at the table reserved for culinary legends, comes a badge which reads 'Don't argue'. 
     
  15. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    There, again, this makes some sort of sense if the product is being cooked in the blanc.

    I'm beginning to think the authors used the term incorrectly in the recipe I was testing.

    It's a CIA publication, though, and I would have expected better of them.
     
  16. coulis-o

    coulis-o

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    also 'Beurre Blanc' is a reduction of white wine/white wine vinegar and butter /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  17. french fries

    french fries

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  18. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    My brother, who is a chef, once told me the purpose of the flour when washing mushrooms was to cause any impurities and grit to fall to the bottom of the basin. I don't recall if he used lemon juice at all (it was many years ago). I've never used a blanc, and as a home cook, I wouldn't expect to. I acidulate water with lemon juice or other citrus (and maybe a hunk of the fruit tossed in). If I'm in a pinch and don't have any citrus, I add a bit of white wine. A friend used to crush a vitamin C tablet for this purpose.
     
  19. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Talk about coincidence. Happened to have FN on this morning, and Emeril was doing his thing. Lo and behold if he didn't use a blanc to cook artichokes.
     
  20. cape chef

    cape chef

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