Salted butter, or unsalted butter?
I cook with salted butter, and I wondered if you use salted or unsalted?
Julienne, chiffonade, emince...? Fancy names. Simple concepts. Find clarity here.
Based on my experience, I used whole wheat pastry flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is fine enough to produce a very smooth sauce and its low protein level will help prevent it from forming lumps and make the sauce heavy. You might want to reduce the amount of flour in the beginning and then just add more if it's necessary. Maybe you can sieve the flour first before using. I also used brown rice flour as well. Both flours will have a slightly different texture and also a little bit of color but it worked fine for me. I hope this helps.
I made my first ever roux today. I wanted to start with the white and then continue on to make the blonde and the brown roux. But I think I was too impatient and scared of scorching my roux, so I stopped at blonde. Then I added hot water to see the thickening properties. At first the roux got very thick, like mashed potatoes. It took about three cups of water to bring it to a sauce-like consistency.
Now my question is, how do I turn a roux into a sauce if I am not roasting a bird (I don't have pan drippings)?
And does roux keep in the fridge?
Swati, you're going to be a super chef before you know it.
Adding water to the roux was an exercise to illustrate the thickening power of roux. Although you could transform this thickened liquid into a soup or sauce is was really just an experiment.
As for turning a roux into a sauce or soup or dish, you will learn this starting in the Sauce Lessons (bechamel and veloute). But basically it works like this:
ROUX + MILK = BECHAMEL SAUCE (WHITE SAUCE). This is used for dishes like lasagne. You will also soon learn that you can start to create derivatives of this basic bechamel sauce (e.g. add cheese and you get mornay or cheese sauce).
ROUX + STOCK = VELOUTE SAUCE (the base for many dishes like chicken pot pie). In fact in our recipe on the site, we use chicken broth but you can use a white stock from chicken here. Veloute is also the base for many soups... e.g. add sauteed mushrooms, minced onions and you can transform the sauce into a delicious mushroom soup... You will soon see.
Focus on mastering the basics and you will see. I promise.
I can never get my roux to brown the same way as the brown roux in the video. In what I think is 6-7 minutes (I don't have a clock in my kitchen), it is definitely blonde but not quite brown. And I am somewhat confused about the nutty smell that I am supposed to look out for: I get a distinct smell as the flour blends in with the butter. Is that the smell, or does it get nuttier than that? Maybe I should use a timer one time and time myself to stir upto 7 minutes to make sure I am going as long as I am supposed to.
Otherwise, I finally managed to get my roux to the right consistency. I used to make it too thick.
Couple of things to note Swati... First, a brown roux is not used very much in cooking. You will use the white and blonde mostly so don't worry too much about it.
As for timing, 6 to 7 minutes is just a general guideline as everyone will have slightly different temperature that they cook with. So this is not an exact science. You just need to look for the indicators (e.g. color) to change from white to light brown. And it doesn't have to perfectly match the color you see on the screen. In fact, your screen color might be off a bit as well. If you get a light brown color you are done. You will also have achieved that nutty flavor that is subtle (not very strong), but that nutty flavor will come out more when you make a sauce from this.
Sounds like you are right on track. Keep up the great work.
All - Thanks for showing this. I've always measured out equal volumes of flour and butter, and my roux has usually been a bit tighter/more paste-like than the white roux shown. I'll have to try for the wetter variant.
At what point do you add the flour to the butter - just when it's melted, or when foaming subsides, or further? Since the goal is to bind the starch and the fat, is it better to cook out the water in the butter first (without browning the butter)?
You just need to melt the butter and then the flour can be added. You don't have to cook out anything in the butter before the flour is added.
As for the consistency, I also learned equal part flour to butter, but now I always make my roux like in the video.
Do try the thinner roux, I find it is easier to work with than the more tradition thicker/paste-like roux. It is easier to incorporate and there is less tendency to lump. Good luck!
Yes, a brown roux will appear thinner than the white or blond roux. As the roux cooks, so do the starch molecules in the flour. Their chains break up, becoming shorter and shorter, thus making the roux more runny. A brown roux will also have less thickening power than a white or blond one, but its flavour is what you're after mostly, such as for a gumbo.
Hope this helps.
Salted vs. Unsalted butter:
Traditionally in my training (classic French) we always used unsalted butter. As mentioned, you can control the amount of salt in a dish, although personally I feel that is an overrated point. Salt also acts as a preservative, so there are claims that unsalted butter is usually fresher in the store.
I use both in my cooking now. Often, I will use salted when sauteing things to add flavor enhancement (many times this is very nice when making say crepes).
Roux - Classically, equal parts flour and butter, but by weight, not volume. (Although it is close using volume)
Yes, the roux will thin as it gets darker, and also the darker the roux, the less thickening ability it retains.
Hope this helps!
Ditto for me. I have always subscribed to the classic equal parts flour and fat, but this looks a lot easier, as it is a real pain with the resultant paste to cook it even long enough to get rid of the taste of raw flour, much less cooking it to the point of brown roux. This looks much easier, and worth the slightly lesser thickening power this must have. And what the heck, need more thickening, add more "runny" roux; I have nothing against extra butter. :)
A point, here, however. If you wish to stick to the classic proportions, it's much more easily accomplished in a non-stick pan.
Regarding salted vs. unsalted butter, I agree with Charles in that this is an overrated point. I always end up adding salt to a bechamel or a veloute anyway, whether I used salted butter or not. Come to think of it, this is pretty much the case with any recipe that insists on unsalted butter. (well, except in baking...)
So, I would say, if you decide to make a roux and discover you only have salted butter on hand, it's probably not worth a trip to the store for unsalted. You'll probably add salt to whatever you use the roux for, anyway.
Classic country gravy substitutes the fat from sausage for the butter, after all, and that's generally a good deal more salty than the saltiest of butters. :)
Personally, I bake my brown sauces... whether it's brown or brick, it finds its way into a cast iron pot and into the oven at 350 degrees. But, unless you're cooking cajun or creole you probably won't need it... even most brown sauces now use a blonde roux and pick up their color and flavor from caramelization of other ingredients.
As to the fats... you know I actually steer away from butter and turn to vegetable oil more often now. . . it's less rich and allows me to have more control of the finished flavor.
I tried making a bechamel sauce today for home made macaroni and cheese and I'm slighty confused on how the roux should look after the Butter and Flour have been combined.
I added equal parts butter and flour but once it was combined it was extremely clumpy, but in the videos its shown as being almost like a soup. What exactly am I doing wrong? Are your videos showing the roux post liquid addition?
I ended up adding 1 stick of butter and 4 TBS of flour. Am I adding too much flour? I add it in very slowly. I noticed that in the video all the flour was added at one time, and that turned out horribly for me.
With the name Rouxbe, we should know a lot about Roux :-)
Daniel, I suggest reviewing topic 3 in this lesson. We do not add equal parts butter and flour. This would result in a very dry Roux. We mention in the video that some cooks like using a dry Roux, but what we would like for you to do is to forget about the measurements all together. Just melt some butter and than add flour until you get to the consistency shown in the video.
The big challenge for many cooks is they get all hung up on measurements, when if fact you should simply learn to look for key indicators just like a chef. I can tell you from first hand experience, chefs do not measure many ingredients (except maybe with baking or pastry).
After making the Roux to the consistency in the video, then add the milk a little at a time until it just comes to the boil, then continue to adjust by adding more milk until you get a great sauce-like consistency (so no milk measuring either).
You can do it. Look forward to your report back.
What is the cooking temperature you're looking for for best results? Must it reach a simmer or slight boil? I tried cooking a large batch on my first try (making gumbo) and it never thickened. It eventually turned brown but the flavor was flat. It cooked a long time.
Brown roux for jumbo doesn't have the same thickening power as a blond or white roux. The long cooking to caramelize the starches in the flour actually compromises its thickening properties. You'll need to either use more roux or simply add some flour right into the roux and stir for a few seconds before adding your liquid, which is always added slowly. The idea behind a brown roux is to give a rich flavor to the sauce of the gumbo.
The roux only needs to bubble - so whether your simmer or boil, it really doesn't matter. It just needs to bubble to cook the starch flavor out. If you haven't done so already, there is a lesson in the Cooking School on How to Make Roux which gives you plenty of information and visuals. Happy Cooking!
I have to remark that I have never had any trouble with adding cold liquid (milk) all at once to a bechemel and getting lumps. I use 1:1 fat to flour ratio. The only reason I can think of why this may be so, is that I am very used to using whole wheat flour in my cooking and making sauces. The thickening power of whole wheat flour may not be as great as that of white flour. Also, I have noticed that it is easier to get sauce without lumps when there are other things in the pan along with the fat (ie when you saute vegetables first) My guess is that the particles of germ and bran that are in the whole wheat flour keep the starch particles separated so they are not as likely to clump. I just pour the cold liquid into the roux all at once and use a whisk to combine them thoroughly until it is thickened. I will have to try the white flour to see if I have more trouble with lumps.