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Feb 24, 2012 10:50 PM

Wondra - what's it all about?

I've been using various flours, corn starch, potato flour for YEARS as thickeners for gravies, soups - whatever.

I just plop some in a small glass - add cold water - and stir for a few secs to a slur - and add to the food - bringing it to a quick boil.

No lumps - no uncooked 'additive' - and all as 'instant' as I could wish for

Why in the world would I need another box on my shelf which I surely would pay a premium for?

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  1. I started using Wondra within the last year or two. I view it as a wheat version of corn starch. For example it can be used as a slurry to thicken a sauce, giving a result that is closer to a flour roux than I get with corn starch or arrowroot. Sometimes I even sprinkle it directly on hot liquid.

    I've also read that it can be mixed with AP flour to reduce the protein level. Again that is using it like corn starch. In fact I've seen a crepe recipe that uses it in place of wheat flour.

    I cooked for years without it, so clearly it isn't necessary. But still, it is convenient enough that I recently bought a box to use when the canister runs out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      ok - thanks - but I prefer to invest shelf space (eg variety of flours) and monetary resources to other things. btw - if you want a real 'powdery' flour - just pop whatever kind of flour you want into one of those coffee bean grinders.

      1. re: jounipesonen

        Uggghh really that is not what Wondra flour is.. you can blend flour all day long but-- Wondra flower is pregelitanized flour.. It is first low in protein and also the pregelatinalization makes it not clump when added to sauces at low heat. No need for a slurry. Also when you dust it with anything for sautee' it will make it super crispy.. I use it for fish esp on skin side.. Makes it crackle.. So please dont say its just flour through the blender more.. Ask Eric Ripert he buys it by the bushel.. one of his fave ingredients.

        1. re: jamesvb

          me and eric have something in common!
          I love it...I would run out of regular flour before I let my self run out of wondra!

    2. isn't this why groceries stores are full of products that we can buy or not buy as we wish?

      Some people like using it -- if you don't...okay.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        my original question was just wondering what it was all about as with years of all kinds of cooking, everything had been just fine in the 'thickening department' - easy and simple - so didn't understand what was behind it -
        I got the answer and said I just didn't see the value IMO

        as for grocery shelves - I only WISH the offerings were more varieties of real foods rather than processed ones - that's just my OPINION - and that's what FORUMS are supposed to be all about - n'est-ce pas? :-)

        1. re: jounipesonen

          according to the Gold Medal website, the ingredients for Wondra are:

          "Wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin (a B vitamin), iron, thimamin monomitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid"

          which is *exactly* the same list of ingredients, in the same order of appearance, found in Gold Medal all-purpose flour -- I think the Wondra is milled finer, but I'm not sure how it qualifies as any more or less "processed" than regular flour.

          It's kind of nice to just grab it and use it rather than stopping and mixing up a slurry -- one more dirty dish, etc., etc. It's no big deal to do it the old way, but it's still an extra step or two.

          1. re: jounipesonen

            Are you looking for groceries to stock wheat so you can mill your own flour?

        2. All Wondra is is wheat flour treated so that it'll absorb moisture quickly. Julia Child recommended using it for crepes to cut the mix and rest cycle for the batter down to next to nothing. At the rate I use it, a can lasts me a good two years, so I don't mind the price for the convenience of being able to shake in *just* the right amount of flour into a gravy or sauce without risking having it lump up, even at the higher temps.

          1. I use Wondra all the time. One of my favorite instructional chefs, Sara Moulton, used it on one of her TV shows and I have ever since I saw her use it. It comes in a slender container and is inexpensive; no strain on cabinet space or wallet. Plus, you can add it directly to a simmering liquid without having to make a slurry. I wouldn't be without it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ttoommyy

              I happen to love Wondra for certain things. I'm a roux thickener kind of girl. I love that Wondra can be used to add additional thickening to things on the fly. It whisks right in to hot liquids without the added step and added liquid of making a slurry or beurre manie.
              It's just flour, but I think it's been hydrated and then freeze dried or something, which is what makes it not clump together when going straight into hot liquids.
              What I don't like about Wondra is that it behaves more like cornstarch when reheated, meaning it loses most or all of its thickening. Fortunately, the easy answer to that is...Wondra :)

              1. re: splatgirl

                A simple flour slurry takes about 15 seconds - am never in THAT much of a hurry :-)

                The bad effect of Wondra is exactly what happens often with 'extra' processing - if adding more flour is the 'answer' - one surely ends up with goopey sauces with all that extra flour.

                Long live the KISS principle :-)

                1. re: jounipesonen

                  but you don't add any more Wondra than you do flour in a slurry.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    I meant that the poster said if it goes blah because of reheating, then you just add more Wondra - thus the 'surplus'

                    1. re: jounipesonen

                      but the poster also said that cornstarch does the same thing....why is surplus cornstarch more okay?

            2. i guess my pantry has room for it because i don't have a container of potato flour. :P

              5 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Only have a tiny box of potato flour - and that can't be replaced in the same way that the Wondra 'wheat flour clone' would sit next to regular wheat flour - potato flour has its OWN uses - eg desserts. :-)

                1. re: jounipesonen

                  Just wondering why you asked then if you were simply going to dismiss everyone's reasons for keeping Wondra in their pantry?

                  Wondra is just one of the infinite varieties of flour; not a "wheat flour clone." It has a place in my pantry, along with about 20 other flour types, because once a year, I use it.

                  1. re: jounipesonen

                    how can it be a wheat flour clone if it IS wheat flour?

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      I was just wondra-ing about Wondra myself. I rarely use flour for thickening, but I do use it as part of the 3-step breading procedure to fry fish and pounded chicken breasts. I've been using rice flour for this. Is there any advantage in using Wondra?

                      Are there certain flours that give a better result for this purpose?

                      1. re: erica

                        I too use Rice flour for this type of breading, so I don't think Wondra will bring anything special to that use. My once-a-year use is just in case the Thanksgiving turkey gives off more juices than expected, I can thicken the gravy I made earlier that morning easily after adding all those precious juices.