The rubric of Common Culinary Knowledge.
One of the base recipes in French cuisine is Roux which is the original thickener for many sauces and gravy; especially, for 3 of 4 mother-sauces: white (bechamel), veloute and brown (espagnole) .
Rule of thumb to cook roux is 1:1 proportion fat and bread flour, for example, 10 gr of flour and 10 gr of butter.
Fat could be used: clarified butter, margarine, animal fats, shortenings.
A good roux is stiff, not runny or pourable. (Gisslen, 2015)
There are three basic types of roux which is differentiated by color: white, blond and brown.
White roux is used for Bechamel sauce and is cooked just for a few minutes enough to cook flour.
Blond roux is used for Veloute sauces and is cooked during 5-6 minutes when the flour slightly changes the color.
Brown roux is the longest one and is cooked till the flour gets a good brown color, is using for Brown sauce or gravy.
- Melt and slightly heat the fat.
- Stir in right amount of flour making a “slurry” consistency.
- Cook till required color is reached.
For brown roux apply low heat to avoid burnings, for white and pale – medium heat.
Today many chefs tries to avoid using classic “not healthy” roux from fat and flour and substitute one or both elements with “healthy” one like olive/vegetables oil, corn starch etc. You can try to find your own variant of thickener and share your ideas in comments, too!
Hope, the information was helpful!
P.S. upcoming recipes: Hazel-Hen soufflé, traditional way of Rissole in Russian cuisine, Knel, Fish Mayonnaise, French Vanilla Ice Cream (Plombeer), Roast Beef, Brain Pies (Pirogy), Celery Root Puree with Béchamel Sauce.