Roux is one of the traditional ways soups, sauces and other dishes where thickened before Cornstarch and Potato starch became popular. Most sauces are thickened using starches of one type or another. Learning how to make roux adds another technique to your cooking skills that allow you to thicken a variety of dishes properly. Béchamel Sauce and Velouté Sauce are two great examples of recipes using roux as a thickener. The thickening occurs because as the starch is dissolved and mixed into your end product, the individual starch granules, absorb that liquid and slowly start to thicken as they are heated. This is why thickening sauces usually requires low and slow heating, so that the granules don’t all clump together and get the chance to evenly absorb moisture and thicken. When using thickeners, you want to make sure that your end product is smooth and free of lumps, doesn’t have a grainy or floury texture in the mouth, and can easily coat a spoon when it’s dipped into the product.
How To Make Roux At Home
Luckily it is incredibly easy to learn how to make a roux and use it at home. It is important when making roux at home to be aware that the measurements in the recipe are by weight. This means you have to weigh the flour and the butter to get the proper ratio. If you simply measure out one cup of flour and one cup of butter the ratio will be thrown off and you will end up with a roux that won’t properly thicken a sauce.
The basic recipe for a traditional roux is:
1:1 flour to fat
Example: 100grams flour + 100 grams fat = 200 grams roux
The amount to be made depends on how much liquid you are trying to thicken. Generally speaking the 100 grams flour + 100 grams fat =200 grams roux example given above will thicken roughly 2 litres of liquid. The type of flour used will also determine the thickening power of the roux. Flours that are high in starch such as cake flour will thicken more liquid than a roux made with bread flour four example which has a lower starch content.
To make the roux, melt the fat (clarified butter is ideal) in a sauce pan, and then gently whisk in the flour, stirring until a paste is formed. Cook the roux until it starts to bubble slightly. At this point you have created a white roux. The roux can be cooked further, to create a blonde roux which has a slight golden color and light nutty flavour, or a brown roux which is deep brown in color and has a strong nutty flavour and smell.
Notes On Different Types Roux
White Roux is usually used when making Bechamel Sauce, and in dishes where no extra colour is desired.
Blonde Roux is used in making Veloute and thickening most cream soups.
Brown Roux is used to make Espagnole and other dark soups and sauces that can handle its deep flavor and color.
When roux is cooked past the white roux stage, it is important to know that the starch breaks down as it is heated. This means that larger quantities of brown roux then white roux are needed to thicken the same amount of liquid.
Roux can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or frozen in pre-weighed portions to be used in future. When using frozen roux, make sure to “thaw” the roux to room temperature or crush and crumble it into your liquid while whisking to avoid creating lumps.
How To Use & Make Roux – An Alternative To Cornstarch
- 1 :1 flour to fat by weight
- 100 grams flour
- 100 grams fat
- Weigh out the flour and fat, making sure you are using equal parts by weight.
- Melt the fat in a sauce pot or pan, and then add the weighed out flour to the pan.
- Stir using a wooden spoon until the flour is evenly incorporated into the roux.
- Cook the roux to the desired consistency.