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Wondra

  • j
  • Jambalaya Nov 29, 2005 06:25 AM

I did a "Cntrl F" search on this board before posting this and found nothing here. Over the holiday I was assigned the task of making gravy for the dinner at my relative's house. Instead of flour I was given Wondra for the thickener. It worked quite well, but just did not seem to result in as much thickening as AP flour in the same quantities. Checking on the label revealed it was in fact flour, but with some additives. I am guessing it is finely ground flour with an anticaking agent added. So I have two questions.

First, what is this stuff? I know its been around a while but I really have never heard of it.

Second, for thickening gravies should you use a quantity different from what is called for in a recipe that says to use AP flour?

Thanks

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  1. Could you list the additives in the Wondra? For some reason I'm thinking it's a self rising flour, in which case it would have baking powder or soda in it.
    That would be weird in gravy. For gravies I make a roux. It's easy and you can thin it with more liquid or make more to make the gravy thicker if need be. In other words you could wing it and thicken your gravy recipe with a roux instead of the Wondra.
    A roux is fat to flour 1 to 1 ratio. Fry the flour on a medium hot flame (not smoking hot)in the fat of choice. Roux can be just well cooked through or cooked until golden brown for a richer flavor. Then continuing to heat, you add your liquid and whisk until smooth and thickened.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Niki Rothman

      ACtually, Wondra was made for making gravies. There is no baking powder or soda in in. I think it it just finely milled, and enriched with iron, an some other things. My MIL used it- I have never tried it- but she was a lousy cook, and was able to make gravy when she used it!!! (Even if the meat was overdone):]

      1. re: macca
        j
        JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

        Wondra is made by spraying the flour with water and then dehydrating it. This leaves the flour more porous and therefore more absorbent and easier to dissolve.

        Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

        1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

          Are you sure that's all that's done? I have a vague memory that it's treated to a greater degree than that to remove or "denature" the gluten. In practice, it amounts to wheat flour that behaves as though it had no gluten content, which is what causes lumps and whatnot when you're not careful using flour as a thickener. Great stuff for some uses.

          Anyway, apart from some barley flour, the only "additives" are vitamins which you'll find in most white flour.

      2. re: Niki Rothman

        The darker the roux, the less thickening power, though....something to bear in mind.

        1. re: Niki Rothman

          I have been a Wondra user for over 30 years. The only things in Wondra are as follows from the box in front of me:
          Wheat Flour
          Malted Barley Flour
          Niacin (A B vitamin)
          Iron
          Thiamine Mono Nitrate (B1)
          Riboflavin (B2)
          Folic Acid

          That is it. No salt, no soda, no baking powder

        2. I love Wondra for gravy and for sauteing. I saw it in Wegman's grocery store in containers lables "Saute Flour." I like to dust chicken or scallops with it.

          1. I seem to remember Julia Child using it on her original cooking show in the 60's as a "cake" flour. Low gluten, I guess. That was waaaay back before specialty foods started appearing in markets. She said it was as close to cake clour as she could find in the US (at the time), and I believe she pronounced it quite serviceable in her great offhand way.

            2 Replies
            1. re: toodie jane

              If you were to use Wondra as cake flour, I think you would need to add the leavening that comes pre-mixed in a standard cake flour like Presto.

              I found this interesting comparison at ochef.com:
              "Instant flour is a low-protein, pregelatinized wheat flour to which some malted barley flour has been added. It has been formulated to dissolve quickly in either hot or cold liquids, and is most often called for to thicken gravies and sauces. Because of its low-protein content, it is also sometimes used in making pie crusts and other recipes that call for cake flour, which is also lower in protein than all-purpose flour. Some bakers find the slightly acidic taste of cake flour objectionable and prefer the instant flour."
              Read more at the link below...

              By the way, I LOVE pancakes made from Presto cake flour. I use the recipe on the box. They are classic American pancakes -- a guilty pleasure with butter, maple syrup, and a side of bacon.

              Link: http://www.ochef.com/21.htm

              1. re: Val Ann C
                c
                Caitlin McGrath

                Cake flour comes in both plain and self-rising versions. Dunno if Wondra is an appropriate substitute for recipes calling for cake flour, but if so, it would do fine for the majority of american recipes that call for plain cake flour without leavening.

            2. It's far superior to AP flour for dredging things that are to be sauteed: it creates a better fond. Some very particular chefs therefore specify it.

              1. Here's a link that tells you about Wondra. I made two different gravies for Thanksgiving: pork with a roux, and turkey with Wondra. Both were good. The advantage to the Wondra is that it's much easier to adjust the thickness of the gravy, and it never lumps up.

                Link: http://www.ochef.com/21.htm

                1. Wondra - the solution to gravy problems. It's finely milled low gluten flour that refuses to clump unless very badly treated.

                  This replaced my previous gravy secret - powdered non dairy creamer.