Never Burn Roux Again With One Simple Oven Trick

Making a roux can be a challenging and sometimes frustrating experience. This cooked mixture of flour and fat forms the basis of such beloved foods as gumbo and even the perfect mac and cheese. And the quality of the roux will make or break your dish. Many cooks use the stovetop to create their roux, steadily stirring until it turns the ideal shade of brown. That color signifies that the flour has been toasted. But there's always the danger of overcooking roux, which leads to a bitter and unpleasant taste. When that happens, all you can do is throw out the roux and start again.

Thank heavens there's another way to tackle this process. Rather than use a burner on a stove, some chefs have discovered that the oven can work wonders in transforming the flour. Unlike a pan on a stove, the oven provides a consistent heat around the baking sheet of flour you put inside. By putting this trick into action, you can set down your spoon and let the oven do the work for you.

Bake the flour for an easier roux

Most recipes suggest baking the flour at a high temperature — 400 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to start with a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and then spread the flour out across the pan in a thin layer. Check on it after 10 minutes; you're looking for a light to medium brown color and it should emit a nutty aroma. The whole process may take up to 30 to 45 minutes depending on the color you're looking to achieve. Once the flour is ready, take the pan out of the oven and allow it to cool.

Some chefs like to use the oven for the whole roux-making process. Mix together equal amounts of flour and fat in a dutch oven or roasting pan and place it in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake the roux for about 90 minutes or even up to 2 hours until it reaches that rich brown color.