If you want to make your own sauce yourself, you may have a preference for the type of thickener you use. The easiest way to make sauce uses a roux made from wheat flour and butter to thicken the frying fat when cooking a chicken, goose, or roast. However, you can replace the flour with cornstarch and arrowroot powder to make the sauce gluten-free. With low carb, egg yolks are also ideal as a sauce thickener. Each thickener results in a slightly different texture when it comes to the finished sauce. Here we tell you not only what you can use to thicken a gravy, but also how to do it correctly.
Thicken the gravy with flour
All-purpose wheat flour is almost always available in most households. This is why using flour to thicken the sauce comes in handy. You can work the flour into the gravy by first mixing it with water (as a porridge) or by mixing it into a roux (in French roux). How do you make the roux? Hot butter is mixed with flour (in a ratio of 1: 1) and seared until the desired color is achieved.
A light roux would be more suitable for white sauces such as bechamel and hunter sauce. For this, 30 seconds are enough to sweat. Roasting the flour longer results in a darker roux, which is ideal for turkey, chicken, and beef sauces. Then the roux is extinguished with broth and cooked for a few minutes so that the sauce binds and thickens.
Keep in mind, however, that flour gives sauce a cloudy appearance, so it’s not always the best choice. It also doesn’t have the same thickening power as other starches and needs to cook for around three minutes to get the right consistency. Some types of sauces do not benefit from the high temperature and longer cooking time required to do so, so using flour as a thickener does not work in certain recipes.
Flours other than wheat do not have the same starch content, so not all flour is a suitable substitute for wheat flour as a sauce thickener. You can also use spelled flour and whole wheat flour. A good alternative to wheat flour is also sweet rice flour.
Thicken the gravy with cornstarch
Chinese and other Asian recipes often use corn starch or tapioca starch to thicken sauces. The addition of this thickener results in a lighter, translucent sauce with a nice sheen. To use corn starch as a sauce thickener, first mix a porridge of corn starch and cold water in a 1: 1 ratio. Stir well until the cornstarch has dissolved in the water and the mixture looks completely smooth. Then slowly work into the frying fat in the pan, stirring constantly. Cornstarch becomes lumpy in hot liquid, so don’t skip this first step. A tablespoon of cornstarch thickened 400 – 500 ml of sauce.
Keep in mind that if you don’t cook the sauce long enough, the starchy taste can persist, so let the sauce simmer for a minute or two after you’ve added the cornstarch slurry. However, be careful not to cook it for too long or it may turn runny. Take a sauce thickened with cornstarch off the stove before adding any sour ingredients.
Thicken the gravy with arrowroot powder
Arrowroot is an almost tasteless starch that is obtained from the tropical plant of the same name. Use as a thickener results in a smooth, transparent sauce with a light texture. The arrowroot powder doesn’t need to be boiled and is great for sauces with eggs or other ingredients that shouldn’t be cooked as the mixture will thicken below the boiling point.
However, sauce thickened with arrowroot is not very stable and cannot be reheated. You shouldn’t finish your sauce with an arrowroot slurry no more than 10 minutes before serving the meal. Prolonged heating and vigorous stirring negate the thickening properties of arrowroot. If your sauce suddenly becomes runny, you’ve overdone it. For a medium-thick sauce, use 2 1/2 teaspoons of arrowroot powder per 250 ml of cold liquid.
Thicken the sauce for low carb with egg
Flour or cornstarch are both high in carbohydrates. Some keto sauces are thickened with flour alternatives such as coconut or almond flour. Either of these can be used, but each has its own flavor that can affect the taste of the sauce. You can also make the sauce gritty. Egg yolks are ideal as a thickener. Similar to thickened egg yolk mayonnaise, it also makes low carb sauces more creamy without affecting the natural taste of the sauce.
To thicken a broth with egg yolks, you must first temper the yolks. First, you should bring the beaten egg yolks to room temperature to prepare them for tempering. Use 2 egg yolks per 500-600 ml of broth. Then skim off part of the hot broth with a ladle and pour onto the egg, stirring constantly. Then add the egg mixture to the saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring.