Master Recipe: Making a French Roux
Andy Anderson !
A roux is considered a staple of most kitchens, and is used as a binder/thickener in countless recipes. At many of the restaurants that I worked in, we would make a large batch of roux in the morning, and use it as the cooking day progressed.
So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.
How to Make Master Recipe: Making a French Roux
- Roux Brun (brown): The flour and fat are cooked for an even longer period of time, until the mixture darkens even more, and begins to take on a nutty aroma. In French cooking a Roux Brun is typically not made with butter, but with drippings.
The Roux Brun is much more caramelized, and will develop a distinct brown coloring.
- There are many variables to how much a roux will thicken a liquid. For example, you have the content of the flour (higher protein flours thicken less), plus other ingredients (salt, sugar, etc); even the age of the flour can influence its thickening ability. With all things considered, let’s assume that you are using fresh all-purpose flour (not self rising), and you are using an equal amount of clarified butter.
The following example is the amount of Roux Blanc you would need when thickening one cup of liquid:
- Most recipes for a roux suggest equal amounts, by weight, of flour to fat. For example, if you were using 50g of flour, you would need 50g of fat… no rocket science there. However, unless you are making a ton of roux (that’s a lot), measurement by volume is perfectly acceptable. We’ll be using US measuring spoons for this lesson, primarily the tablespoon. For a metric conversion, a US tablespoon is equal to 14.7ml.
- Clarified butter will improve the roux's thickening power and it combines more easily with the flour, than regular butter.
In addition, regular butter contains water and milk solids (up to 15 percent), when using regular butter, you need to add an additional 15 percent of butter to the flour, and then wait until the foaming stops; which means the water has evaporated.
If you are using butter, always try to use clarified butter; it will give a cleaner taste to the roux.
- The butter or oil in the roux basically serves to keep the starch grains separate. If you simply added raw flour to the liquid, it would cause the flour to clump and you would wind up with lumps in your sauce. I HATE it when that happens.
In addition, a good reason to cook a roux is that raw flour gives a flour taste to your sauce or soup; however, cooking it helps to eliminate that flour taste.
- Use a good heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, as this will help to evenly distribute the heat, and prevent the roux from burning.
Add the fat (butter/oil) to the pan. If you are using regular butter wait for the butter to melt and the foaming to subside
Add the flour and whisk the flour and fat into a paste.
Continue to whisk until the desired roux is achieved.