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The cooked mixture of butter or other fats and flour is called roux. The flour is stirred into hot fat. During this process the starch is converted to dextrin which removes the floury taste. Roux is suited for à la minute dishes.

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Preparation of Roux

For the preparation of white roux (fr.: roux blanc) the fat should not be so hot as to start smoking. Therefore fats containing water, such as butter or margarine are suited best. Butter and margarine start smoking at about 120 °C. Fats not containing water, such as vegetable oils or lard are used for the preparation of blond roux and brown roux (fr.: roux blond, roux brun). They may also be used for white roux but since they start to smoke at 180 °C or above they are better suited for the high temperatures necessary for brown roux.

The best mixing ration is 5:6. For a perfect roux five parts of fat should be mixed with six parts flour. 50 g butter are for example mixed with 60 g flour.

Careful: Even if the pan is removed from the heat the remaining heat may be enough to further brown the roux. If roux gets too dark, the flour may burn and taste bitter.

Temperature, time and used fat determine the colour and usage of the roux. Light rouxs are used to thicken white sauces and soups or to further thicken already cooked brown sauces. Blond and brown roux is used to thicken brown sauces and soups. Roux may well be prepared in advance. It can be kept in the refrigerator like butter. It is best to form it to a roll and wrap it in polythene foil. It is then possible to cut off a piece of the desired size and store the rest in the refrigerator until needed.

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Storage of roux

Roux is soft and cannot be easily formed as long as it is still warm. Cut a piece of aluminium foil and moisten it with a wet sponge. Polythene foil is now put on top of the aluminium foil. Aluminium foil is not mandatory but makes the rolling easier as long as the roux is not completely cool. Tip the roux on the polythene foil and roll it so that no air bubbles are trapped within the roll. Twist the ends of the foil to make sure the foil is tightly closed. Store in the refrigerator. The ends of the foil should lie under the roll so that it may not unroll by itself.

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Proper use of roux

To prevent lumps in soups or sauces thickened with roux the following rules may be helpful.

  • Fresh hot roux should be topped with cold liquid so the flour is released to the liquid slowly.
  • Cold roux on the other hand should be stirred into hot liquid. Its fat melts slowly and releases the flour to the liquid gradually. The flour particles then absorb the liquid and thicken it.

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