Tuesday, April 17, 2012

White Sauce "Roux" - Grain Free, Gluten Free, Starch Free, Dairy free

I have finally done it. A delicious, smooth roux sauce without starch or flour. 
I have been failing miserably at doing this for so long that every time I end up using rice flour and waist a crap load of butter in the process.
Of course you can make a traditional white sauce base using rice flour or any other alternative grain. So if we can't use flour then use a Starch right? However, we are grain free of course and that also then limits starches
Tapioca Flour
Arrowroot Powder
Konjac Flour
Potato Starch
Organic Corn Starch

There is really no health benefits whatsoever from using starches. They all are high on the glycemic index, difficult to digest and add carbohydrates and calories that are not as good for you as grain free choices.

You can also use vegetable gums to thicken such as:

Xanthum Gum or Guar Gum

However, those really suck when it comes to thickening sauces. They get a very unappealing texture and gel really gross.

If you Google roux sauce alternative thickeners it will come up with most of these. As well as:

Flax Meal
Chia Meal
vegetable purees (such as potatoes)
heavy whipping cream
coconut milk

Those all work in a way. Flax meal is nasty and grainy and chewy though and completely looks like a brown mess. 
Chia meal gives it a gelatinous clumping effect but not smooth unless it is whipped really well for a very long time.
Vegetable purees are good for soups and chowders but not every recipe.
Heavy cream works but not so much on a white sauce unless it is reduced by half which works but can take hours, and uses much more expensive organic whipping cream then I desired. 
Coconut milk has the same effect.
Greek yogurt does work. Kind of like sour cream but it definitely changes the taste after you add enough of it to thicken your sauce. 

Coconut flour does work well on a batter or a smoothie but it cannot be used in the same matter as a direct replacement of white flour as it will turn brown instantly and burn as soon as it touches the hot butter. 

Alas... this has been my long struggle. 
I was looking at the fridge today looking at what I could make for dinner that will use up anything extra as I like the fridge empty before going on vacation. I had half a loaf of bread in there and it needs to be eaten pronto.
I also had two big cans of salmon left over from a case lot sale. They were calling to me along with my bag of organic onions and some slowly wilting parsley.
SO, I sighed.. and thought well it's obvious I need to give my white sauce another shot. 
I started early today in order to avoid making dinner three times in a hurry because every batch failed.

It's very frustrating after you have failed 3 times. You just give in and  out your big bin of rice flour comes and you start scooping as you get ridiculously hungry. That's exactly what usually happens.
In one of my newer cook books there is a recipe for an almond frosting that is used for brownies and quick breads. It was delicious and was my first nut based frosting I had ever made. I was so hesitant as I very much dislike the taste of almonds where they should not be. Much too my surprise every one ate them and never asked what was different about the icing. I never really gave it much thought besides a smiley face beside the recipe and hoping that I could play with the recipe in the future. 

Why even bother with a nut frosting? Unless you have a dairy allergy you probably have not even thought of a nut frosting. The difference is, it's crazy hard to make frosting without using confectioners sugar. 
Confectioners sugar is 50% mixture of ground up powdered white cane sugar and GMO corn starch. So it's not just the issue of the corn starch it's the sugar content as well.
I usually make my own powder sugar substitute using sucralose, arrowroot starch, and instant milk powder. However in any recipe where the icing needs more then 1.5 C of powder sugar the alcohol chemical taste of the sucralose is really unpleasant.
If you switch over to say natural stevia instead of sucralose, You end up with a really runny icing as there is not enough base for the sweetness of the stevia. 
If you use the powdered stevia powder that you can buy in the store it is mixed with another alternative sweetener such as exthrinol and a WHEAT preservative thickener maltodextrin.
Sooooo looking for alternative icings is always on my mind. The nut frosting becomes thick without added starch and is actually quite smooth and tastes nothing like nuts.

I was reading on one of my favorite blogs that using nut butters are a good use for a thickener. Well that's great except I do not really like peanut butter in everything and almond butter I only use in specific baking as it is really expensive and has a very specific taste. 
Then I remembered that frosting I made. You basically make a nut butter and it causes the icing to thicken. However you also use agave nectar and I wasn't sure how it would be if you did not use agave or a liquid sweetener.

I wanted a savory roux not a sweet roux so I did not want to use any sweeteners. 
It was a creamy greek yogurt thickness. I am also excited to say it was a neutral sauce that can be substituted into any recipe without altering the taste.
If you don't have a food processor I recommend a blender. You have to have the mix running as you add the ingredients in order to get the right consistency. You could probably use a powerful mix master on high instead but I am unsure of the exact results you can expect.
I had to add the crackers as a touch for the photograph. You can turn this roux sauce into a savory soup base, stew base, sauce base or into a creamy topping or gravy. It should take on whatever flavors you add to the pot. The best part about the sauce is you are able to change the ingredient to suit your diet I will list the first ingredients as the ones that I used and the substitutions directly beside them.

I made my roux sauce into a salmon sauce recipe my mom shared with me years ago. We will enjoy it over toasted and buttered grain free bread.

I added 1 lrg onion to a pan of melted butter and sauteed for 5 min until browning. I stirred in my roux sauce parts at a time until heated through, I threw in 1 bay leaf, 2 handfuls of chopped fresh parsley, Herbamere, ground pepper and paprika. 
Bring to a simmer and add two lrg cans of organic salmon liquid and all.
I then transferred to a crock pot and set it on high for 4 hours while I continued working. I can tell it's going to taste delicious!

White Sauce "Roux" - Grain Free, Gluten Free, Starch Free, Dairy Free

In a food processor add:
1.5 C of blanched almond flour**
               or 1.5 C raw cashews, raw macadamia nuts, or raw whole almonds without peel
1/3 C coconut oil liquified
        or melted organic butter, lard

Process on high until gelatinous and sticking together. It should be thick . If needed add more coconut oil to thoroughly saturate the almonds.

Scrape down sides. Turn on food processor and slowly pour in:
1 C of coconut milk
or organic 1% milk, half and half, almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, rice milk etc.

Beat on high until completely smooth. (It should have the consistency of thick heavy whipping cream)

Add while processor is spinning:
2 t of organic coconut flour (You may need to add more depending on climate)

Blend until smooth Transfer sauce to a glass bowl and refrigerate for 15-20 min. It should come out of the fridge twice as thick as it went in and should be about the consistency of a traditional roux sauce. If it is not as thick as expected you may need to add more coconut flour, whip in food processor again and add more coconut flour until desired consistency is right.

**Blanched almond flour must be used. If not available please use cashews or macadamia nuts as the brown peels on the almonds will stop the consistency from forming properly. 
If you are having troubles getting the nuts to puree soak them for 30 min in filtered water prior to blending to soften.**

To use in a recipe:

Melt 1 T of butter or coconut oil in a sauce pan until just bubbly. Pour in sauce parts at a time stirring constantly until starting to bubble. Continue following recipe instructions.

To use as a roux sauce:

Melt 1 T of butter or coconut oil in a sauce pan until just bubbly. Pour in sauce parts at a time stirring constantly until starting to bubble. Drop in one bay leaf, 1/2 t dry mustard, dash of smoked paprika, herbamere and pepper to taste. Heat over low heat for 15 min stirring constantly so not to burn.

To use as a topping for cakes, donuts, brownies, or desserts:

While pureeing in food processor add 1/4 -1/3C raw agave nectar and a splash of vanilla or mint extract. Refrigerate until needed.

1 comment:

  1. Been thinking of coming up with something like this to use for making souffles. I'll try it and let you know how it turns out. Thanks for all your time and experimentation.