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kryptos1

Making Roux Slow vs 'Fast'

17 posts in this topic

I have always done Roux on medium to medium/low heat and takes 15-25 minutes depending on the color of course. I have just watched a video with someone who takes 2 hours to make roux on very low heat and does not stir very often....apparently "this is how its done in New Orleans." Are there flavor differences between frequently stirred roux at medium/medium-low temps and a very low temperature made roux? Just guessing but if its a function of time and temperature, does it chemically come out the same in the end?

Thanks! (yea not a fun topic, but its got me curious)

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No flavor differences that I've ever noticed in a lifetime of making roux (and not just as a thickener for gumbos and stews, but for completely roux-centric dishes like roux peas & baby green limas in a roux). I can't think of anyone who takes 2 hours to make a roux, unless they're a complete novice and totally afraid of burning it. Most people I've observed roux-making probably come in around 20-35 minutes, depending on the amount being made & the stove's heat output. I usually get it done (most often a "2 cup roux", ie, 1 cup of oil and 1 cup of flour) in 20 minutes on my crummy Amana gas stove.

Here's a big one, made w/2.5 lbs of flour. Takes about 35-45 minutes over a propane burner, depending on how hard the wind is blowing.

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And then there's Paul Prudhomme's high-temp technique, which can get you a medium roux in 6 to 7 minutes. I've never noticed a difference in any quality of a roux that related to how fast it's made. For me, it's just a matter of how much time I've got, what other prep needs to be done, and how willing I am to pay attention to it.


Dave Scantland
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Bear in mind there's a big difference between the roux for bechamel and the roux for gumbo. As for the latter, I agree with HungryC that half an hour is sufficient if one is making it conventionally, i.e., using medium heat and stirring constantly. Have never heard of or tried a low heat, little-stir approach, but don't see the advantage unless one were doing this often and in large quantities (say, in a restaurant). And, if I were to go that route, I'd probably figure out a way to do it in a slow oven (like oven cooked polenta). As it is, the conventional method works fine for me (occasional small batches), so I'm unlikely to invest in the learning curve of a low heat method.

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Plenty of folks in south LA use the oven method; it seems to be especially popular with ppl making a dry (oil less) roux or those using very little oil. Have also heard from some folks using gluten free flours (rice, various blends) that the oven method seems to produce better result than stovetop, thou I have no direct experience with comparing GF flours and methods.

Plenty of cooks use the microwave. Here's a micro roux methodology: http://www.nomenu.com/joomla1/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1066:microwave-roux&catid=98:building-blocks&Itemid=167

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Plenty of folks in south LA use the oven method; it seems to be especially popular with ppl making a dry (oil less) roux or those using very little oil. Have also heard from some folks using gluten free flours (rice, various blends) that the oven method seems to produce better result than stovetop, thou I have no direct experience with comparing GF flours and methods.

Plenty of cooks use the microwave. Here's a micro roux methodology: http://www.nomenu.co...ocks&Itemid=167

Regarding rice flour: I can only speak for the traditional, stovetop approach, but when I switched to rice flour, I didn't know if or how it would behave differently, so I just carried on as usual, intending to make adjustments as necessary; honestly, the behaviour of wheat and rice flours (I've used everything from whole ground rice to pure rice starch) seems to be roughly identical in this instance, whether I patiently stand over it for half an hour at a lower temperature, or risk creating instant carbon dust/paste because I'm in a hurry.


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I have just watched a video with someone who takes 2 hours to make roux on very low heat and does not stir very often....apparently "this is how its done in New Orleans."

Can't say I know anyone who takes anywhere near that long to cook a roux, and Ive been in plenty of kitchens in new orleans, both pro and home kitchens.

Hungry C has pretty much nailed it as far as what people in south louisiana REALLY do when it comes to making a roux.

For those experienced in making dark roux, the high heat method paul prudhomme/john besh champion really does work, but its kind of scary and you really need to have some experience making a roux before you go that route


Edited by Twyst (log)

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Wow this is very helpful...had no idea the microwave and oven was used. The 2 Cajun/Creole books I have just use the pan on medium heat....sounds like there is a better and easier way. Thanks all!

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Mjx, I tried one time to make a roux with rice flour and had the weirdest thing happen. It was a perfect brick red color, I put in my trinity and the roux went black as soon as the veggies hit the pan. I haven't tried again since.


Edited by Charcuterer (log)

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There are quite a number of previous eGullet discussions concerning roux. Here's one about roux made in the oven: Roux in the Oven


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And then there's Paul Prudhomme's high-temp technique, which can get you a medium roux in 6 to 7 minutes. I've never noticed a difference in any quality of a roux that related to how fast it's made. For me, it's just a matter of how much time I've got, what other prep needs to be done, and how willing I am to pay attention to it.

That's what I've always done for gumbo. Works absolutely fine, so long as I keep whisking and don't try to multi-task. :wacko:

Edited to add: I just noticed that this was my (2*11)th post on eGullet. Dare I post again and destroy this beautiful number?


Edited by Alex (log)

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I've always though the cooking of roux was to get the flour taste out, expand their molecule size and color (or not) to change the 'nuttiness' of the flavor.

I do mine on the stove top for a few minutes (time depending on color) and don't make mine too thick with the flour:butter ratio because I find it easier to whisk out any lumps this way. I mainly use roux for bechamel though and use beurre manie with gumbo.

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When I'm taking the time to make a slow roux -- which doesn't happen very often -- I usually make 2-3x the amount I need, scoop out the extra a bit early into a pyrex measuring cup, and then save the cooled roux for later. (You grab the extra early because it's going to cool on its own, which means it keeps cooking longer than the roux to which you add your trinity, which cools the roux down.) Then you really have fast roux: open the jar and go get 'em.


Chris Amirault

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When I'm taking the time to make a slow roux -- which doesn't happen very often -- I usually make 2-3x the amount I need, scoop out the extra a bit early into a pyrex measuring cup, and then save the cooled roux for later. (You grab the extra early because it's going to cool on its own, which means it keeps cooking longer than the roux to which you add your trinity, which cools the roux down.) Then you really have fast roux: open the jar and go get 'em.

Or you buy it in the jar already made from a local producer. Six or seven different brands sold at WalMart here, in light, medium, and dark, plus dry roux (browned flour). Jarred roux is widely used in south LA. Here's a photo of a Southern brand roux advertisement displayed in LSUs Tiger Stadium a few seasons ago. http://bouillie.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/p9250428.jpg

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I made pressure cooked roux in maison jars as described in Modernist Cuisine. In one jar I added a bit of baking soda to increase maillard, it didn't make very much difference. Both sat in the pc for two hours. I now have instant roux ready in the fridge.

K

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