By Cat, Feb 2015 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
I know of three ways to use flour or starch to thicken a sauce using flour or starch: roux, buerre manie, or starch/water mix. All 3 are included in this post.
If you’re doing keto, traditional gravies thickened with starchy flour is not for you. However, you can follow the same recipes but substitute coconut flour for the starchy stuff. Use 3 – 4 tsp coconut flour for every cup of broth/stock. See Mercola’s recipe (1) for more.
See also: 1. Non-Flour Starches & Other Thickeners; 2. Conversions between Starches & Other Thickeners; 3. Grains, Flours & Starches Menu
Use this method to make a gravy or other sauce apart from the dish it will accompany. See Rich Brown Gravy for an example of a dark roux.
- Generally, for each Tbsp of flour (or equivalent amount of starch), use 1 Tbsp butter to make the roux which will thicken 1 cup of liquid.
- Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour or starch and mix with a fork or whisk until the butter and starch are well blended.
- Continue to cook, stirring constantly until the flour/starch begins to brown, about 5 minutes (for a light-colored sauce), or until it is nutty brown and fragrant, about 10 – 15 minutes (for a darj-colored sauce).
- Meanwhile bring the stock/broth or the cooking liquids to a simmer. Then whisk into the roux, whisking constantly until thickened.
Use this method to thicken a sauce in the same pot as the other ingredients, such as a soup or stew. See Dad’s Beef Stew with Root Vegetables for an example of a buerre manie.
- Generally, for each Tbsp of flour (or equivalent amount of starch), use 1 Tbsp butter to make the roux which will thicken 1 cup of liquid. You will also need a shallow bowl.
- Place butter in a shallow bowl; add flour or starch. Using a fork, keep pressing the mixture until the butter and flour/starch are well combined.
- Roll small amounts of the mixture in your hand to make balls about 3/8″ – 1/2″ in diameter.
- Add the balls to the hot liquid over low or medium low heat, and stir until the balls disappear and the sauce is thickened.
Quick flour (or starch) and water method:
I learned this method from my Mom, who used it to thicken gravy or sauces, when she didn’t have the time or energy to use a buerre manie.
- Generally, for each cup of liquid to be thickened, use 1 Tbsp of flour (or equivalent amount of starch). You will also need a mason jar with lid.
- Place a portion of the hot liquid in the jar and add a bit of cold filtered water to slightly cool the liquid. You don’t need a lot of liquid in the jar, roughly double the amount of flour (or starch equivalent) you need.
- Add flour/starch, screw lid on the jar and shake until all the lumps are broken up and the flour is held in suspension.
- Add a bit more of the hot liquid, shake again, then pour into the pot of hot liquid and stir with a whisk (to avoid lumps) until thickened.
- Keto-Gravy recipe: https://recipes.mercola.com/keto-gravy-recipe.aspx