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thickeners = thickening agents = liaisons   Notes:   Thickeners add substance and body to sauces, stews, soups, puddings, pie fillings, and other dishes.  




beurre manié = beurre manie = kneaded butter   Pronunciation:  BARE mahn-YAY Notes:    This flour-butter mixture is used to correct overly thin sauces at the last minute.  To make it, blend equal weights of butter and flour, then knead them together.  After you whisk it into a sauce, let it cook for no more than a minute or two, since sauces thickened with flour pick up a starchy taste after they've cooked for a few minutes.  Substitutes:  roux (This is another flour-butter thickener, but the sauce should cook for at least 30 minutes to rid itself of the flour's starchy flavor.) OR tapioca starch (This also works quickly, and it's a good choice for correcting sauces at the last minute.)


egg yolk   Notes:   Egg yolks make wonderful thickeners--imparting both a rich flavor and velvety smooth texture--but they're tricky to use.  You can't just whisk them into a simmering sauce--they'd curdle on contact.  Instead, you need to "temper" them by adding some of the hot liquid to the egg yolks, whisking the mixture together, and then adding it to the sauce.  To prevent the yolks from coagulating, you need to keep the sauce below 190°, although this rule can be broken if the sauce has a lot of flour in it.  Finally, never cook sauces with egg yolks in aluminum pans or they'll turn gray.  



instant-blending flour = instant flour = instantized flour = quick-mixing flour   Notes:  You can mix this granular all-purpose flour into liquids without getting many lumps, so it's perfect for making gravies and batters.  It's also good for breading fish.  Wondra flour and Shake & Blend are popular brands.   Substitutes: (as a thickener) a roux of ordinary flour and butter (higher in calories) OR all-purpose flour (Mix this with water first to make a paste.) OR cornstarch (use half as much)


pectin   Equivalents:   2 tablespoons liquid pectin = 4 teaspoons powdered pectin   Pronunciation:   PECK-tin   Notes:   In order to make preserves like jams and jellies, you normally cook together fruit, acid, sugar, and pectin, a substance found in certain fruits that gels when heated.  Some fruits -- like quinces, gooseberries, tart apples, and sour plums -- contain enough natural pectin that they'll thicken all by themselves into preserves.  Others, like cherries and some berries, need an extra boost to firm up.  Jam recipes for pectin-deficient fruit normally call for liquid or powdered pectin, which you can find among the baking supplies in most supermarkets.  The recipes usually specify what brand of pectin to use, and it's not a good idea to substitute one brand for another, since they have different formulas.  Some brands (like Sure Jell and Certo) need acid and sugar to set, some (like Sure Jell for Low Sugar Recipes) need acid and just a little sugar to set, some (like Pomona's Universal Pectin® or Mrs. Wages Lite Home Jell Fruit Pectin®) don't need any sugar to set.   Liquid pectin contains sulfite, which can cause an allergic reaction in people with sulfite sensitivites, but powdered pectin does not.


roux   Pronunciation:   ROO  Notes:   This is a thickener that's made from equal weights of flour and a fat, like butter or meat drippings.  It's especially good for thickening rich, hearty stews and gravies.  To make it, heat the fat in a pan, then gradually whisk in the flour.  Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for at least several minutes, then gradually whisk in the hot liquid you're trying to thicken.  You must then cook the sauce for at least 30 minutes to prevent it from acquiring a grainy texture and a starchy, floury taste.   Some cooks make large batches of roux, and store it in the refrigerator or freezer.   Substitutes:  instant flour OR cornstarch (mixed first into a paste; doesn't tolerate prolonged heating as well) OR potato starch OR rice starch (all of these make clear, not opaque, sauces) OR lentils (for soups and stews) OR beans (for soups and stews) OR rice (for soups and stews) 

starch thickeners

ThickenThin™ = ThickenThin not/Starch thickener™ = NotStarch   Notes:  This thickener has no calories, fat, or carbohydrates.  It's great for thickening gravies, sauces, and soups, but it won't set up sufficiently to make puddings or custards. A little goes a long way, so use about half as much as you would a starch thickener. 

Copyright © 1996-2005  Lori Alden