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Old 02-26-2008, 10:27 PM   #1
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Quick ? about bechamel

Hiya

I need to make bechamel and just realised I have no plain flour that I usually use (all purpose flour). I do have self-raising flour and also cornflour. Would either of these work for it?

Also just to be healthier can you use margarine instead of butter for the bechamel or would it affect the taste a lot?

Thankyou!

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Old 02-26-2008, 10:31 PM   #2
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I wouldn't use the self-rising flour. The corn flour could work but I'd do a test batch first. Bechamel starts with a roux, fat and flour. Margarines typically have less fat and more water than butter. Depending on which margarine you use, the transfats in it may be less healthful than the fats in the butter. The taste with the butter will be much better.
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:33 PM   #3
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I should just mention I think cornflour is called cornstarch in the US?
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:34 PM   #4
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Andy: I'll stick to butter then :) I'll try the cornflour and hopefully that will work fine.
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turando View Post
I should just mention I think cornflour is called cornstarch in the US?

Yes. Cornstarch is a thickener as is flour but with different characteristics. It will initially thicken a liquid but will break down and lose its thickening ability with prolonged cookng.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:05 PM   #6
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I did it really quickly and it did the job. It did lose it's thickening though slightly.

Thankyou for your help! :)
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:28 PM   #7
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If you're using cornstarch, do you have to make a roux first, or will it just thicken the sauce anyway?
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:39 PM   #8
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Corn starch is added in a slurry. Mix the corn starch with a small amount of room temperature or cold liquid (whatever is appropriate to the dish). I use a fork to stir it up the pour it into the pot. Then stir and cook until boiling to determine the degree of thickening you have attained. If necessary, add more of the slurry and repeat.
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Old 03-15-2008, 02:48 PM   #9
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The cornstarch is a great idea, but I am still curious what would happen with the self rising flour.

It has some baking powder and salt in addition to the flour.

Am not sure the baking powder would be a problem but could be neutralized by adding a bit of white vinegar, maybe a teaspoon or so I would imagine to a cup of flour. Sure, citrus would work. It would all depend upon the dish one was making.

The resulting roux and bechemel would have some salt, but, depending upon the dish, one could just add less salt towards the end.

Would try the experiment but never use self rising flour and am too lazy to go to the store.

Just a thought.
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:36 PM   #10
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A Bechemel relies on not only the thickening power of the flour, but the flavor as well. The milk or cream, butter, and flour combine to make the roux, which then can be made into everything from choux paste to soufle's, to Bechemel, or Espangiole, or Veloute. The flour based roux is critical.

If you are simply thikening a sauce or gravy, then the cornstarch slurry will work fine. But it isn't as versatile. The Bechemel can be made into Alfredo, or Mornay Sauce, or into chowders, or creamed veggies or meats, or into a hundred different cheese sauces to be used with pasta, or potatoes, or veggies. It is spiced with a hint of nutmeg. It can be used to bind soups.

Let us know what the end goal of this sauce is, and we can help you make a better determination of what thickener will work.

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