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Jan 25, 2010 03:16 PM

Gummy Veloute Sauce - Wondering Why?

I suspect that I must not have had the right liquid to butter/flour ratio, but would appreciate any thoughts. The sauce (roux, with tomato paste, then fish stock, then a bit of cream, then stirred into sauteed shrimp) was delicious, but my husband and I both agreed that it was a bit gloppy and, for "company", I'd like to figure out how to fix it.


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  1. Veloute: half cup of blonde roux with one quart white stock or bouillon.

    Blonde roux: 1/4 lb butter & one cup flour; melt and cook the butter until clarified; heat slowly, cook gently at least 15 minutes.

    Back to the veloute, use the roux COLD - place into pot and mix with a bit of the liquid, boiling; whisk with a whisk and repeat adding a bit of boiling liquid and whisking, heating gradually until again boiling; repeat until liquid is incorporated.

    Sauce tomate: on the other hand, your sauce sounds more like a tomato sauce: do a mirpoix (the usual) browned with half cup of lard and 2 Tbsp butter; add a Tbsp of flour and cook like a roux; add 3 lbs tomatoes (juiced and sieved), garlic s&p, cup white stock, bit of sugar; deglaze with shot of wine vinegar; bring to boil; cover and into 275 oven for 1.5 - 3 hours; strain, bring to boil again; sieve; add some butter at end.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Sam I always enjoy reading your posts, and your advice is infallible. But the ratio of butter to flour seems off in your instructions for the roux. One-quarter pound of butter equals four tablespoons of butter, and one cup of flour equates to 16 tablespoons of flour. As a base for a thick sauce one would generally use equal portions of butter and flour, and less flour for thinner sauces. Using four times as much flour as fat just seems like way too much flour. As a home cook I'd use a 50-50 ratio; are roux in restaurant/institutional kitchens made using the ratios you describe?

      1. re: janniecooks

        I used 2T each of butter and flour, added some tomato paste - 2tsp? - and then a cup of fish stock.

        1. re: janniecooks

          This is interesting! For making mother sauces like a veloute I make quite a bit and actually start with 125 grams of butter and 125 grams of flour for the roux: 1/4 lb butter = 4 ounces = 1/2 cup = about 125 grams; and 1 cup flour = 4 ounces = about 125 grams. Equal amounts by weight; although I converted backwards to 1/4 lb butter and one cup flour in my post above.

          On the other hand when I whip up some gravy I use (for example) two Tbsp of the chicken fat from the drippings and two Tbsp of flour for the quick roux and then add the stock.

          Both my roux for a veloute and my veloute come out OK, as does my quick gravy.

          1. re: janniecooks

            I think it's traditional to use 50/50 butter/flour and vary thickness by adjusting the liquid. But as Sam notes, it's 50/50 by mass, not by volume. If you don't have a kitchen scale, they sell cheap digital ones at Ikea.

            1. re: tmso

              But, back to the question of why the sauce was gummy, I'm betting that the flour had too high a protein content and the roux might have been too flour heavy and overstirred and if you used butter you might have not allowed the water to cook out of the butter before you added the flour. It sounds like you developed some gluten in that sauce.

              I'd try it again (oh darn ;)) but this time make sure your flour is AP and that you use the recommended 50/50 by volume ratio, and whisk or stir enough but avoid really beating it especially while you're building the roux and encorporating the the fat into the flour. You can also try the clarified butter approach also to be on the safe side. But, if you heat the butter until it stops foaming you ought to have removed enough of the moisture so that there isn't water to make gluten with.

              Good luck!

              1. re: aggiecat

                Thanks - I used unbleached AP flour, and I'll try heating the butter up more next time before adding the flour.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  That butter should essentially be clarified - with no water left - when the flour is added.

                2. re: aggiecat

                  I'm pretty sure it's not the protein content, since I've made non-gummy sauces from type 45, 55 and 80 flours, depending on what's on hand. It sounds likely that it was under-cooked.

                  As for the 50/50 ratio, as Sam and I were both pointing out, it is *not* by volume. 50/50 should be by mass, ie, by weight. Same number of grams of each.

              2. re: janniecooks

                One quarter pound butter is 8 tablespoons, not four.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  For me, the tricky thing about a roux is that you have to whisk it until your arm wants to fall off. At first, the flour will form balls and you'll think it'll never be smooth. And you have to have faith, and keep whisking, whisking, whisking, whisking. You can't add liquid until the butter/flour is completely smooth. Once you get it completely smooth, the rest is easy peasy.


                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    You're so right ... duh! And I weighed a cup of flour this morning and was surprised to discover it weighed a bit more than four ounces, so I take back my questioning of Sam's proportions - the amount of butter and flour he outlined are roughly proportional for a roux for a sauce on the thick side. And I believe that a roux made as he suggested, would be used by taking out the quantity needed for a particular sauce, thus one would control the thickness or viscosity of the sauce by the proportion the of roux to liquid.

                    1. re: janniecooks

                      "the amount of butter and flour he outlined are roughly proportional for a roux for a sauce on the thick side."
                      It depends on how much roux you use. I assume Sam is just making a good sized batch and storing it for later use. He indicated 4 oz by weight of roux will thicken a quart of liquid (to medium consistency.) How much roux you use in the end depends on what thickness of sauce you want and the volume of liquid you have.
                      The general rule is, based on 1 cup of liquid by volume, 1 oz roux for medium and 2 oz or more for thick sauce, based on a 1:1 ratio of fat to flour, by weight.
                      Roux is not an exact science, it thickens different liquids differently, a little more roux is necessary for stocks and less for milk/cream based sauces. The type of flour you use can affect the outcome, as well. AP is best, cake flour has further thickening abilities due to it's starch content, bread flour, less so than AP.
                      Without going crazy, if you make your roux in a larger batch ahead of time, you can just add the cold roux very slowly while simmering the stock, until you reach the desired level of thickness.
                      Roux components don't necessarily have to be weighed. I often make roux by, for example, using two tablespoons of flour to one of fat for one cup of liquid; by volume measure the ratio is about 1 2/3:1 flour to fat.
                      The rest of what you wrote, "the quantity needed...would control the thickness or viscosity of the sauce by the proportion the of (sic) roux to liquid." is exactly how it works.