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About roux


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The best way to make roux is to start with the butter from your said ratio and add your flour as it cooks. Is true about heat distribution. You always want your roux to be thin enough to completely cover the bottom of the pan with no crumbing. I always start way thin. This allows the water in the butter to evaporate without splattering roux around in big lava like clumps. As the flour cooks the roux will become thinner and you can add more flour in increments to desired thickening power. This method gives you much more control and it will never scorch the flour. It is also a quick way to establish a very dark color. If you use a low flame constant stirring is far from neccessary.

I stongly disagree on the oil instead of butter thing. Yes it is easier to establish a very dark roux with lots of cooked flour flavor, but the nuttiness from the butter that makes roux so delightful is not present. If you appreciate the flavor and aroma of perfectly made ghee, you know the rewards of properly made roux.

RM

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uuummm... In Cajun cuisine, butter is not used for a dark roux. Only for the light variety. Originally, lard was the fat of choice. More recently, peanut oil. I still prefer lard.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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3.flour:fat > 1.25:1 if its a darker roux and you want to retain the roux with its optimum thickening properties

That won't make any difference at all in thickening properties. The thickening property is relative to the carbonization of the starch and has nothing at all to do with the fat ratio. However, a low fat ratio may leave some starch untoasted. To me that means a badly made roux without optimum flavor development and the attendant risk of burned bits.

Why anyone would want to skimp on the fat is beyond me. The 1:1 ratio is strictly a physical thing in that it is easier to stir and get even toasting of the flour grains. When you do the math on the ratio of roux to a particular recipe, skimping on that doesn't usually mean much at all in a particular dish as far as limiting fat. If you are after limiting fat, you probably shouldn't be cooking with a roux at all.

oops..my bad..he must have meant 25% more roux...

btw..today i tried making a roux with duck fat(mmmmmmm.....) and flour instead of the beurre maine in the recipe sheet for the perigourdine sauce that went with the duck confit...i used double the flour to attain roux consistency....i just didnt need the fat....

gah...edited to add... roux entry I > a kinda tragic attempt to explain roux...as it was explained to me..Roux II and Roux III . Feel free to correct it if i had gotten something wrong....my online tutor deciphered this from a McGee text for me...

Edited by Lalitha (log)
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uuummm... In Cajun cuisine, butter is not used for a dark roux. Only for the light variety. Originally, lard was the fat of choice. More recently, peanut oil. I still prefer lard.

it's also interesting that in cajun cooking roux isn't used so much as a thickener as as a flavoring. a deeply browned roux will have very little thickening effect (dextrinization of the starch, if i remember correctly), but it will have a very pronounced taste.

one wonders who the first cook that learned that was and what were the circumstances? did a really bad cook scorch a roux and folks decided they liked the taste? or did a really good cook progressively push the browning? weird stuff.

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one wonders who the first cook that learned that was and what were the circumstances? did a really bad cook scorch a roux and folks decided they liked the taste? or did a really good cook progressively push the browning? weird stuff.

the idea of thickeners have been around for a long time...but flour browned with fat was imported from Italy to France when Cathetine de Medici married Henri II...the recipe for the modern roux is also found in 15th century italian cook books...who knows...maybe it was an accident...happy accidents are not uncommon in culinary history..tarte tatin, off the top of my head...can you think of anything else?

Edited by Lalitha (log)
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it's also interesting that in cajun cooking roux isn't used so much as a thickener as as a flavoring. a deeply browned roux will have very little thickening effect (dextrinization of the starch, if i remember correctly), but it will have a very pronounced taste.

one wonders who the first cook that learned that was and what were the circumstances? did a really bad cook scorch a roux and folks decided they liked the taste? or did a really good cook progressively push the browning? weird stuff.

russ is correct in this. That is why gumbos (especially the dark sort) are often served with file at the table or have added okra to the mix.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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uuummm... In Cajun cuisine, butter is not used for a dark roux. Only for the light variety. Originally, lard was the fat of choice. More recently, peanut oil. I still prefer lard.

Never said it wasn't a common practice, just doesn't taste as good. Even the blackest rouxs taste better with butter. Hell, everything tastes better with butter!

Worked at a Cajun restaurant long time ago where we made vegetable oil roux. We made it in a big 5 gallon cast iron pot. We used mirepoix to cool it down when it achieved the level of blackness we needed for the gumbo. Worst burns in the world from roux.

RM

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I thought it was Prudhomme who suggested using oil for darker roux because of the quick-roux technique he wrote about in Louisiana Kitchen. To summarize, he has you crank the oil up almost to smoking, then add the flour all at once and stir like crazy. You can get a black roux in a matter of minutes, as opposed to the slow, traditional, two-beer stir (as Emeril calls it). Try this with butter and you'll end up with a bitter, scorched mess.

I'm not sure Prudhomme wouldn't prefer butter (or lard) if time weren't a factor. He's very careful about his fat selection, and I suspect he decided that quick browning was a fair trade for the time saved (and the converts, who might not have the patience for slow roux, won over).

Dave Scantland
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dscantland@eGstaff.org
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Eat more chicken skin.

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I have tried the Prudhomme method a couple of times. The first time was a complete disaster. The second time was not a disaster but just didn't have the same flavor. I guess that roux is one of the few things that Paul and I don't agree on.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I understand that one can keep roux in the fridge almost indefinitely. Or is there a time limit.

What about white sauce/veloute/bechamel? Once the milk or stock is in I would imagine there's a short time limit. How long?

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I have tried the Prudhomme method a couple of times. The first time was a complete disaster. The second time was not a disaster but just didn't have the same flavor. I guess that roux is one of the few things that Paul and I don't agree on.

I learned how to make (Cajun) roux from the Prudhomme method, probably 20 years ago. It was at least ten years before it occurred to me that there was another way!

I understand that one can keep roux in the fridge almost indefinitely. Or is there a time limit.

I don't know about a butter- or lard-based roux, but certainly and oil-based roux will keep for a long time. Hell, on the Gulf coast, you can buy it, preservative-free, in quart jars that I know for a fact will keep at least two months after opening.

Another method is to brown the flour without fat in a slow oven, stirring it every once in a while until it reaches the stage you want. Let it cool and store it in the freezer in an air-tight container. From the browned flour, a decent roux is just a few minutes away.

As for bechamel and so forth, I think you've only got a few days -- a week at best, and that's if you've stored it carefully. Much longer, and you'll be lucky if all it does is taste off. There's a good chance your sauce will have taken up housekeeping with a furry gray roommate.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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here is a question, why would anyone not want to use the 1:1 ratio? it's easy to remember and it works everytime. I'll admit, at work, I make roux by site instead of measuring, but that is because I make roux all the time and know the correct consistency by sight.

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I make it the Prudhomme way. 1:1 over high heat. It works. If I am making blond roux I will occasionally use a little more flour than that ratio as the dishes that it is destined for generally use it for a thickener as well as flavor.

I often make it with Peanut Oil when I am going for dark, as it takes a beating better than veg or corn. Cottonseed does o.k. as well, but the flavor is not nearly as good as the peanut.

I only use butter when I am making very small amounts. Butter does not react well to the last method reccomended my Mr. Prudhomme. Too easy to burn.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I don't know why one wouldn't want to use 1:1 unless they are trying to save fat calories. :angry: Any less and it is not "loose" enough to keep it moving so that it browns evenly. I suppose it is less important if you are making a light roux.

edit to add: I vote with Mayhaw Man on the peanut oil.

Edited by fifi (log)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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  • 3 months later...

Talk to any chef about roux and they'll tell you 1 lb of butter to 1 lb of flour, or equal parts by weight. Crack open a cookbook such as Betty Crocker's or Joy of Cooking and it's 2 T. butter to 2 T. flour, equal parts by volume.

Equal parts by weight apparently goes back to Careme. Does anyone know when/where the volume perspective crept into the picture?

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I was always taught equal weights; back at the balmoral making estouffade we'd use 12lb of flour and 12lb of butter at a time.

Might I be bold and venture the suggestion that volume might have started to creep in allied to the habit of American cookbooks and recipes giving measurements in volume (cups, tablespoons) rather than weight?

Professionals tend to use weight more than volume when scaling out ingredients anyway = it's generally more accurate (accuracy of 5g in 1000g on scales as opposed to perhaps 20ml in 1000ml reading a measuring jug) and more convenient, to the extent that bakers in this country (UK) have weighed water rather than measuring by volume when making bread dough for at least the last hundred years (at least according to the books of the time).

I'll have a hunt through my books and see if I can find the earliest reference to volume in roux, though I doubt I'll find a reference to it in a professional work.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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All of my life, I have dealt with volume measurements. For instance, 1 cup of oil and one cup of flour comes to about the right consistency, fairly liquid, to make a Hershey Bar colored dark roux for a big pot of gumbo. Certainly, the weight route is the more precise way to go, it just isn't "done" that way here, for whatever reason. In the laboratory, I always was cognisant of weight versus volume. But in the kitchen, I tend to fall into the inaccurate volume heritage. I suppose that if I ever got into baking in a big way, I would go back to weight.

I remember my dad saying "a pint's a pound the world around". Funny, I have never tested that. I assume he was talking about water. He was a rather scientific sort as well.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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A pint is actually 16.7 oz by weight. That's close enough for small-medium batches of pretty much anything, but will cause problems in larger quantities. For those of us in the rest of the world, it's easier, since 1kg is actually defined as the weight of 1 litre of water.

At school I was taught to use equal quantities by weight for roux, equal quantities by volume for beurre manie. Dunno why.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I, a man who makes lots and lots of dishes that begin with the words, "first you make a roux" :wink:, was taught to BEGIN with equal amounts, regardless of whether the measurement is by volume or weight.

Notice I said begin. Often times I will adjust one ingredient or the other to get the consistency that I desire. Sometimes I want a very thick, less oily roux (ettoufee, for example) , and sometimes I want it the other way round (gumbo is something that needs a more viscous roux, for some reason).

Now these are my personal preferences and in fact may not have much more importance to the dish other than that's the way that I learned how to make them. Oily, thin rouxs are much easier to keep from burning and with gumbo I am, generally (there are exceptions-like gumbo z'herbes) going for a darker colored roux. Oily roux in ettoufee causes the dish to be oily, but this probably has more to do with the total volume of the dish vs. the amount of oil in it than anything else.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Interesting enough when I took a class from Chef Jake he now makes Roux with OO and Flour and a little butter. I have started doing the same thing using 75/25 Oil / butter. Works fine and makes for a slightly less caloric dish :raz:

Never trust a skinny chef

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I, a man who makes lots and lots of dishes that begin with the words, "first you make a roux" :wink:,  was taught to BEGIN with equal amounts, regardless of whether the measurement is by volume or weight.

Notice I said begin. Often times I will adjust one ingredient or the other to get the consistency that I desire. Sometimes I want a very thick, less oily roux (ettoufee, for example) , and sometimes I want it the other way round (gumbo is something that needs a more viscous roux, for some reason).

Now these are my personal preferences and in fact may not have much more importance to the dish other than that's the way that I learned how to make them. Oily, thin rouxs are much easier to keep from burning and with gumbo I am, generally (there are exceptions-like gumbo z'herbes) going for a darker colored roux. Oily roux in ettoufee causes the dish to be oily, but this probably has more to do with the total volume of the dish vs. the amount of oil in it than anything else.

Would you go as far as to say that the many chefs/cookbooks that prescribe the 'one roux fits all' philosophy are culinarily shortsighted?

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Actually, a butter roux would be less caloric. Fat is fat so all fat has exactly the same calories. Butter is 10% water though so would have 10% less calories. However, the amount of poly/mono/unsaturated fat is going to be different which would have health benifits but would not affect calorie count.

PS: I am a guy.

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most butter is 18-20% water, depending on salt content.

A pint's a pound the world over? not in the UK, where we idiosyncratically have 20-oz pints - 25% larger than US pints.

confusing, eh? :)

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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