Culinary Foundations Week 4: Roux

Today in class chef taught us about sauces and the importance of viscosity. Have you ever had a puddle of sauce on your plate because it just didn’t stuck to the food like it should have? The reason is probably because your sauce had little or no roux.

Roux (roo) is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat which is then cooked to be used as a thickening agent.

Starches are the most common thickeners used for soups because the granules absorb water and swell to many times their original size.

•Flour (most commonly used), cornstarch, arrowroot, waxy maze, instant starch, bread crumbs, and other grain products such as potato starch and rice flour are all effective thickeners.

•When choosing flour consider the amount of starch it provides. Cake and pastry flours have high starch content whereas bread and all-purpose flours however higher gluten proteins, making it chewy, and lower starches. All purpose flour is most frequently used in kitchens because of cost however I prefer cake flour as a thickener. Wheat flour also has a high amount of gluten and breaks down when frozen so naturally it’s my last choice.

•Be cautious when adding acids into your sauce because they inhibit gelatinization.

•Preferred fats for roux are Clarified butter, margarine and animal fats. Clarified butter lends the most flavor so I tend to use that more frequently.

•When choosing the type of fat consider the flavor of the sauce in which the roux will be used.

The three types of Roux:

•White Roux is cooked only for a few minutes to frothy slightly gritty appearance. It may be pale yellow because it is made from butter and unbleached flour. It is used in béchamel and other milk based white sauces.

•Blond Roux is cooked until the sauce changes slightly darker in color, pale ivory color.  It is used in velouté and some other white sauces.

•Brown roux is cooked until it becomes light brown and takes on a nutty aroma. For a deeper brown, cook flour in the over before adding it to the fat. A heavy brown roux cooks off two-thirds of its thickening powder and should be stiff not pourable or runny.

To make roux:

1. Melt fat.

2. Add equal parts flour.

3. Cook to degree of white, blond, brown.

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