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Sep 15, 2008 05:57 PM

Wheat Free Roux/Sauce

I have tried unsuccessfully to create a roux substituting wheat flour with spelt flour. I have tried a basic white sauce and then just tonight a sauce for chicken fricassee. It never thickens and is more like soup than cream sauce. Anyone out there have a successful solution to making a wheat free or gluten free roux and sauce?


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  1. I have had good sucess with white rice flour

    1. you could also try a different thickening agent like a slurry of corn startch. Totally different flavors but it works and creates a glossier texture.

      16 Replies
      1. re: Shane Greenwood

        I use corn starch or arrow root as a dredge. I use combination of rice flour, bean flours and cornstarch in my ap. flour blend.
        I have not tried a roux with any color to it.
        I have also keep some instant potato flakes on hand, they work well to tighten up some foods that ussually I would use bread crumbs in. I use quinoa flakes as a crunchy coating and in my meatloaf (oats have gluten, I'm wheat,gluten,eggs, dairy, sugar plus)
        I did a rice milk, rice flour mornay sauce ( used sheep cheese ) it was awesome and no one could tell.....garlic and cheese mask a lot .....

        1. re: coastie

          coastie, I have recently been taken off gluten and dairy including eggs. What was your best source for learning to cook without these things? I have never seen quinoa flakes, that sound like a great idea.

          1. re: JEN10

            I thickened a sauce with cashews this week and it was great. Just simmer a 1/2 cup portion of unsalted cashews in your liquid, then blend the crap out of it in a good blender for a few minutes, strain. You can play with the ratio of nuts to liquid to get the consistency you want. I saw this on a cooking show about vegan cooking and was a great tip.

            1. re: JEN10

              Eggs aren't dairy, they don't come from a milk-producing animal but some people who have dairy sensitivity are also sensitive to eggs. If your doctor just lumps in eggs with dairy you can try eating eggs without the dairy to see if you're sensitive. This happened to my sister, she eats eggs but avoids milk-based products and does fine.

              1. re: MandalayVA

                Unfortunetly I have had the egg intolerance for awhile. The whole family has egg issues, so I try and avoid them as much as possible. I did check out some other posts here and found some interesting info.

                1. re: JEN10

                  I will eat more eggs in your honor. :D

                  1. re: MandalayVA

                    I miss Frittata's most as I grew up with them. When I got pregnant I could not stand the smell of raw eggs and ever since I have had problems with them. Oh well, there are worse things, enjoy my eggs!

                    1. re: JEN10

                      I started having issues with eggs when I was pregnant with my 2nd. I can't do cooked eggs (scrabled/fried/boiled) but don't seem to have an issue with eggs in baked goods. Too bad because I SO miss eggs for breakfast. :(
                      I'm also gluten and dairy sensitive so I do my best to avoid both -- again, with a few exceptions. I use kudzu as my main thickener because of its high nutritional content and it's affordability but I also use arrowroot. I like the idea of mixing a few different kinds for an AP flour so I'll bookmark this thread to see if any new ideas come up.

                  2. re: JEN10

                    I used to have major problems with dairy. My friend suggested I try raw unpasteurized milk from pasture fed cows. I now consume all the milk my heart desires without a single upset. I don't think I'm allergic to milk, just all the wierd stuff they do to it to make it cheaper for them to sell.
                    I wonder if it would be the same for eggs. I never had egg allergies, but the pasture fed organic eggs sure are a lot yummier with richer yolks. I know this will sound wierd, but they also seem less slimy. Plus I like supporting small farmers in my community.

                2. re: JEN10

                  It was a lot of trial and error. I was completely overwhelmed at first. All my years of training seemed useless. I am able to eat duck eggs which helps - most recipes try and replace gluten with some egg to hold things together. I have a few sites I found helpful...on my days off I'll come back and post a couple of those.
                  It is a broadening experience and it has me experimenting with different cuisines -
                  beware of adding to much soy cheese and other products - most of its not very good for you .

                  1. re: coastie

                    Diffently staying away from the soy products. I did read an article in Sunset magazine about some artinsenal soy products that are not "altered" so to speak. I hope to find some so that I can enjoy a healthy breakfast with protein.

                  2. re: JEN10

                    Dear Jen10,

                    One source to consider for learning about cooking gluten, dairy and egg-free is Dr. Mark Hyman's "Ultrametabolism Cookbook." (Link to Amazon below.) While I don't follow it strictly, I too am supposed to be following a similar diet. This book doesn't deal much (if at all) with technique but it has lots of recipes and should help you to develop a great base to start from. You can also look at cookbooks from the Canyon Ranch spa in Lenox, MA for additional ideas. Not all of the recipes in these books are appropriate for the triple allergies you cite, but many are and many are more appetizing than some of the recipes in Hyman's book (though many are good and you can easily tweak them to suit your personal taste--I find many of them to be bland for my palate.)

                    I have been on this diet (admittedly not perfectly so) for almost 2 years and have learned most of the technique side on my own. If you do find such a book, please be sure to post it! I assume you've found the site by now, but if not, there's always some useful info and links there for the gluten-free portion.

                    Good luck!


                    1. re: wholefoodie

                      Thank you, I will check these out! Technique is not a problem, it's the rethinking. I found I have to start something for breakfast early on, there just are not things you can grab and eat.

                      1. re: JEN10

                        I agree wholeheartedly about breakfast; it's the most difficult meal of the day for me too and there are very few prepared foods that make it easy. While I don't live in the south anymore, I am from a big southern farm family. Not eating eggs nearly killed me for the first little while, as it was a no-less-than 2 to 3 mornings per week of eggs for me growing up. We even had it for dinner on a lot of nights where we had to squeeze in a quick, easy meal. Still miss 'em dearly, but it's gotten easier as time goes on...The dairy and gluten are a pain but less of a struggle for me. I miss cheese more than anything...And, I still have a piece every now and got to live.

                        My new go-to breakfast items are: homemade smoothies, gluten-free granola and two different types of gluten-free bars I've found that I like. I also have some gluten-free cereal that's made from amaranth, and other gluten-free grains. I also eat bananas or apples with soynut butter, whole, freshly ground peanut or almond or cashew butter or sunbutter. And occasionally, I have a nut butter with celery for breakfast but more often for a snack.

                        In terms of bars, I like Lara Bars the best, of the ones I've tried. They are all gluten, dairy and egg free so you should be able to eat nearly any of them. Most are made from dates and one or more types of nut. I really like them much better than most other bars I've found that I can eat. After two years, my only comment about them is that, while they have many, many flavors to choose from, many of them taste very similar to me. The other type I like are called Omega Smart. I like the Banana Chocolate Chip best of the ones I've tried. They have a bit more sugar than the Lara bars but more fiber too, and the sugar is non-refined, largely from agave nectar and dried fruits. There are many others I've tried that taste great, but that have far too much sugar sweetening for me. I like the Bakery on Main stuff but it's highly sweetened. (Tastes great!) Their gluten-free granola is really good too but sweet. I let myself have a bowl of Bakery On Main gluten free granola with unsweetened vanilla soy milk (I like the West Soy version) on occasion and LOVE it.

                        I make smoothies at home for breakfast a lot too. My typical smoothie consists of:

                        Unsweetened vanilla soy milk (usu ~ 1C)
                        Plain soy yogurt or unsweetened soy protein powder
                        one whole banana (pref frozen but not necessary)
                        some combo of frozen fruit or berries (whatever combo you like)
                        frozen peaches
                        frozen wild blueberries
                        frozen mango
                        frozen strawberries
                        frozen raspberries or blackberries
                        frozen acai berries (or pulp)
                        ground flax seeds (meal)

                        You can obviously experiment with many, many combinations of different ingredients to suit your individual tastes, but this combo--after lots of personal experimentation--is the best I've found for me.

                        Make it an adventure and an experiment to try to find things you love that replace the things you miss. I have spent many, many days at Whole Foods and other markets getting creative...Please pass along any discoveries you make too and best of luck.

                        1. re: wholefoodie

                          Thank you whole foodie! I am going to print out your post.

                3. re: Shane Greenwood

                  Roux involves browning the flour in fat, and then adding the liquid. I've never read of making a roux with other starches. But the slurry approach works with many starches - corn, rice, tapioca, arrowroot. It even works with wheat flour, but you need to cook the sauce for some time to get rid of the raw flour taste.

                  A good cookbook should discuss the use of various thickeners. Corn starch gives translucent, glossy finish. It is widely used to thicken Chinese sauces. Arrowroot is more transparent. I haven't tried others. Some thickeners get thicker when cooled, others thin. They also differ in how they react to stirring, and to freezing.

                4. It was really yucky out on Friday, so we were not going out. We were low on milk and had a tub of low fat cream cheese that was about to go bad, so I used them to make a white base for pasta sauce. It worked great. It was just thick enough, and the spices (Creole) and Parmesan totally covered the cream cheese taste. It was also extremely stable. I was impressed!

                  1. I especially recommend tapioca (read CH to learn which kind), rice flour, potato flour,
                    and potato flakes. You may also wish to learn to make a liaison (egg yolk and cream).

                    1. This won't help for your white sauce, but when I take spaghetti sauce, chili or beef stew out of the freezer, I find they need just a touch of thickening as I find some of the liquid separates out. I use a spoon of ground flax seed . It absorbs the liquid without changing the texture or flavour of the final product. And it's good for you.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sooeygun

                        Flax seed is great, especially if you have to make do without egg. Xanthum gum is really necessary for any baking without gluten