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Using a roux

JuniorBalloon Jan 18, 2013 08:28 AM

How much roux do you make? I realize this will vary from dish to dish depending on how thick you want it to be. When I do 8 quarts of Jambalaya I have been using a 5 tblsp flour, 5 tblsp fat. Does that seem like a lot to you or a little?


  1. JuniorBalloon Jan 21, 2013 08:42 AM

    Made Jambalaya this weekend and used two of the techniques/ideas from this thread. I used 6 tbsp of fat and 6 of flour, but reserved one tbsp of flour until the last 2 miuntes of the roux. After adding the roux to 2 quarts of stock with was thickening up very nicely. Too nicely really, so I added a 3rd quart of stock, which thinned it out too much. I then took a tbsp of butter and flour and worked them together into a paste and added that to the pot. It worked great to thicken it up a bit more to my liking.


    1. Hank Hanover Jan 18, 2013 01:09 PM

      I'm not going to get into the debate on whether roux goes in jambalaya or not... looks like that is moving right along without me.

      For gravy, you use 2 tbls of flour and 2 tbls of fat per cup. You are using 5 tbls of each. For gravy, that would make about 2.5 cups. 5 tbls of each would only slightly thicken 8 quarts of liquid. I don't think I would use anymore than you are already using on jambalaya. The starch from the rice will tend to function as a thickener also.

      As for how I use roux, I primarily use it as a thickener. I do have an interesting use for it. I make a big batch and store it in a 1 pint mason jar in the fridge. When I want to make gravy, I will spoon out 3 tbls of roux per cup of liquid. The advantage is to save the 10 minutes it takes to make a roux every time I want gravy.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Hank Hanover
        paulj Jan 18, 2013 01:43 PM

        I just watched a Japanese cooking video (CookingWithDog) where she made a dark roux (1:1 ratio of fat and flour), then added enough liquid to form a thick paste, and set that aside. Then she prepared the rest of dish (cooked the meat, vegetables, added broth), and as a nearly last step, add the roux paste back to thickening.

        She didn't use any curry flavoring, but the appearance of her roux reminded me of the prepared Japanese curry paste.

        1. re: Hank Hanover
          JuniorBalloon Jan 18, 2013 01:54 PM

          I'm glad it's not getting derailed into the jambalaya/gumbo roux/authentic discussion. I only used it as an example of what I do. Perhaps I shoudl call my dish Jumbolaya? :)

          I like the idea of making some ahead of time. When making soups I often use bacon and if I'm going to make a roux I use some or all of the bacon fat. Just as often I render some bacon and have extra fat I don't have an immediate use for. I could use that to make some roux for the next time.


          1. re: JuniorBalloon
            monkeyrotica Jan 19, 2013 04:47 AM

            I've been to at least two restaurants where they served a soup called "Jambalaya" that was basically gumbo with LOTS of rice in it. I'd be inclined to call it "Gumbolaya."

            1. re: JuniorBalloon
              cleopatra999 Jan 19, 2013 07:55 AM

              I found an interesting use of roux in my Joy of Cooking cook book. It is called kneaded butter, you mix butter and flour together with your hands until pebble like then drop into a stew (or I assume soup and many other uses) at the END of cooking if you still need to thicken further. Works great, best stew I have ever made for consistency. I used to use a slurry, taking part of the liquid from the stew and adding to flour in a cup then adding the whole thing back in, never worked all that well. The kneaded butter is not meant to boil, just lightly simmer until the flour flavour is gone and desired thickness achieved.

              1. re: cleopatra999
                Hank Hanover Jan 19, 2013 08:13 AM

                Yes, I have heard of people keeping a small jar of the flour-butter balls in the fridge for last minute thickening.

          2. Antilope Jan 18, 2013 12:48 PM

            You can use a flour and water roux in bread baking to make a more tender, fluffy loaf. Just a flour and water roux, no oil is added. The starch in the roux also traps water and retains it in the finished bread causing it to stay fresh and moist longer.

            It's a technique developed in China called "Tang Zhong" Method Bread.

            The flour and water (5 to 1 ratio water to flour by wt) is heated to 65 C / 150 F to form the smooth roux. The roux can be heated in a saucepan or in the microwave. 2 1/2 Tbs of flour to about 1/2 cup of water is enough roux for a 1 lb to 1 1/2 lb loaf. The cooled roux is just added to the dough mixture with the other wet ingredients. It can be used on any type of yeast bread recipe.

            1. r
              rasputina Jan 18, 2013 12:28 PM

              I do 1:1 fat to flour ratio. For dark roux for gumbo I do 1 cup each for about 6 quarts of gumbo.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rasputina
                JuniorBalloon Jan 18, 2013 12:35 PM

                How much liquid are you using? How thick would you describe your gumbo?


                1. re: JuniorBalloon
                  rasputina Jan 18, 2013 12:59 PM

                  I'm generally using 6-8 cups of stock ( it's adjusted depending on the other ingredients) and the liquid is not really thick. Of course it's served over rice in the individual bowls so that makes the dish thicker and you can control how thick you want it by adjusting how much rice to gumbo you put in your bowl.

              2. biondanonima Jan 18, 2013 10:32 AM

                A good rule of thumb for a basic white sauce with a blonde roux is 1:1:1 - that is, one T of butter to one T of flour to one cup of milk. That will give you a standard white sauce, and you can adjust from there.

                Dark roux is an entirely different story, though - it has very little thickening power, and is only there for flavor.

                4 Replies
                1. re: biondanonima
                  JuniorBalloon Jan 18, 2013 10:53 AM

                  Little thickening power? That is very interesting. Is that because of a change to gluten when heated for along period of time?


                  1. re: JuniorBalloon
                    JungMann Jan 18, 2013 11:50 AM

                    Heat enables the starch molecules in the flour to absorb water and thicken a solution. Exposing those starch molecules to high heat over an extended period, however, degrades the starch into polysaccharides, which cannot absorb water or thicken.

                  2. re: biondanonima
                    JuniorBalloon Jan 18, 2013 10:57 AM

                    I'll have to do the math on my current jambalya ratio. Off the top of my head I'm not sure how much liquid I use. I generally add chicken stock/broth. At the 1:1:1 that would be 5 cups of chicken stock. Pretty sure I'm adding more and I would like it to be thicker. In light of the darker roux's having less thickening action (I'm doing a peanut butter colored roux) I'll take that into account as well.


                    1. re: JuniorBalloon
                      biondanonima Jan 18, 2013 11:34 AM

                      If you want a thicker final product, I would suggest adding some blonde roux instead of increasing the amount of dark roux.

                  3. charles_sills Jan 18, 2013 10:28 AM

                    if im doing gumbo, and a bunch of it, i do my roux in the oven. at a low constant temperature, that way i dont need to stir as often and i dont burn it when trying to get a nice dark, nutty, roux.

                    if im just doing a gravy or bechamel or something i basically just cook it till the raw cereal taste is gone, and i eye ball how much i need.

                    1. JuniorBalloon Jan 18, 2013 10:03 AM

                      I am talking about Jambalaya. I have no idea if a roux is traditional/authentic, but you can find lots of recipes where it's used. I'm not so much looking for if my amount is correct, just looking to have a conversation about how people use roux.


                      7 Replies
                      1. re: JuniorBalloon
                        monkeyrotica Jan 18, 2013 10:08 AM

                        Never heard of using a roux in jambalaya. But for gumbo, my oil/flour proportions are usually 3-to-2. I also use a cast iron skillet over low-to-medium heat, stirring constantly. Takes me around an hour to 90 minutes to get it dark enough for me.

                        1. re: JuniorBalloon
                          sr44 Jan 18, 2013 11:59 AM

                          How do you incorporate the roux into the Jambalaya? Before the rice?

                          1. re: sr44
                            JuniorBalloon Jan 18, 2013 12:12 PM

                            Yes, right before I add the chicken stock, I add the roux. After adding the chicken stock I let it heat up and add the rice.


                          2. re: JuniorBalloon
                            paulj Jan 18, 2013 12:05 PM

                            Jambalaya is a rice dish, gumbo is a stew. In gumbo the roux is a thickening agent. The dark roux is also a flavoring.

                            1. re: paulj
                              JuniorBalloon Jan 18, 2013 12:17 PM

                              I understand they are different dishes. I like my Jambalaya with a roux. I like mine the consistency of a medium thick gravy. I have seen it all the way from soupy to as thick as a paella.



                              1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                paulj Jan 18, 2013 12:24 PM

                                Is the roux being used as a thickening agent, or flavoring.

                                Rice dishes can have different consistencies depending on the liquid to water ratio. While Spanish paella is 'dry', with all of the liquid being absorbed or evaporated, the Spanish also make 'caldoso' (soupy) rice, and 'melloso' (medium soupy).

                                But since you are using the roux along with rice, and want a particular consistency, your own experience is a better guide than textbook proportions.

                                1. re: paulj
                                  JuniorBalloon Jan 18, 2013 12:28 PM

                                  I use it both for flavor, I like that nutty cooked flour flavor, and for thickening. I also like to use arborio rice as it produces a nice creamy element as it cooks.


                          3. JungMann Jan 18, 2013 09:35 AM

                            Are you talking about gumbo? There is no roux in jambalaya.

                            It is hard to give you a precise proportion of roux to liquid without first talking about how dark your roux is. Generally the darker the roux, the less thickening power it has. For 8 quarts of gumbo, I would generally do a chocolate colored roux of about 3/4 c. of oil and another 3/4 c. of flour.

                            1. charles_sills Jan 18, 2013 09:24 AM

                              ive never used a roux in jambalaya. gumbo yes, but never in jambalaya. different strokes i guess.

                              the real question isnt does that seem like alot or a little to us, its do you enjoy the dish? do you feel the sauce is the right thickness and texture? do you love the taste? if yes, then you are using the perfect amount of roux.

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