The rule of thumb when making a roux is that patience is a virtue. Between the stirring and the gradual addition of ingredients, making a roux can take quite a while to allow it to reach the desired color and thickness.
There are four different types of roux: white, blond, brown and dark brown.
- White and Blond: These types are cooked for the shortest amount of time. They are considered done when the flour loses its "raw" smell and develops a toasty aroma. They are typically used to thicken sauces, soups and chowders.
- Brown and Dark Brown: These types are cooked for the longest amount of time. They often have less thickening power and are generally used in Cajun and Creole dishes.
In the directions that follow, I will be using butter as the fat but you can make a roux out of any fat that you like (i.e. bacon fat, juices from roasted meat, etc.):
- Melt the butter in a pan until it becomes frothy and bubbly.
- Stir in equal parts of all-purpose flour.
- Whisk or stir with a wooden spoon constantly. The longer you cook the flour in this stage, the darker it will become (and the less thickening power it will have).
If you're not using a liquid, immediately remove the roux from the pan after the roux has reached the desired color.
So, to wrap it up, here are some important tips to keep in mind when preparing a roux:
- Keep stirring
- Add the flour gradually