Everything You Need to Know About Instant Flour
Have you ever come across the term “instant flour” in a recipe and hoped whatever was in your pantry would suffice? While you may have heard of a few all-purpose flour alternatives, instant flour can be a bit of a mystery to many. Keep reading below to learn what makes this flour “instant” and a few suitable alternatives to use in a pinch.
What Is Instant Flour?
Instant flour is pregelatinized low-protein flour designed to mix and melt smoothly into recipes. The pregelatinization process essentially precooks the instant flour by steaming and heating it before drying. This process, along with being ground into an extra-fine, powdery consistency, allows the flour to melt into gravies and sauces without lumping or clumping.
What Is Wondra Flour?
Wondra flour is a brand of instant flour produced by Gold Medal. While Wondra is branded, consumers often use the terms “Wondra” and “instant” interchangeably. Wondra flour consists of a combination of wheat flour, malted barley flour, and an assortment of vitamins and minerals.
Uses for Instant Flour
Instant flour is primarily used in recipes that need thickening or desire a silky smooth consistency. Here are a few common uses for instant flour:
- To thicken sauces
- Pie crusts
- Batter used for frying foods
Can You Use Instant Flour as a Substitute for All-Purpose Flour?
No, instant flour cannot be used in recipes that call for regular or all-purpose flour. Instant flour has a lower protein level, which means the gluten makeup will not have the same structural properties. Only use instant flour in recipes that specifically call for it.
Wondra Flour Substitute
In a pinch, you can create a Wondra or instant flour substitute by combining 2 cups of flour with 1 teaspoon of corn starch. Mix the ingredients together and sift through twice to aerate and loosen the flour. Use it right away, or store the mixture in a cool, dark place for future use.
Types of Low-Protein Flour
While it’s recommended you use instant flour when the recipe calls for it, here are a few other low-protein flours you could substitute in when necessary:
- Cake flour
- Pastry flour
- Self-rising flour
Instant flour can be a useful addition to your pantry, especially when it comes to making flaky pie crusts, silky soups, and hearty gravies. Its pregelatinized construction allows this special flour to melt away over heat, which keeps unsightly clumps out of your recipes.
Types of Flour
Flour is the fundamental ingredient of many baked goods - including bread, pastries, pies, and cakes - as well as pasta and pizza dough. However, not all flour is alike. Various factors, such as protein content, how the flour is processed, and the grain, affect how you use it while baking. Whether you own a bakery, cafe, or restaurant, it's imperative to use the best types of flour to produce high-quality food and desserts. We explore the different kinds of flour, their uses, processing considerations, and protein content to help you find the best flour to meet the needs of your establishment. Shop All Flour Use the following links to learn more about different types of flour: Bleached vs Unbleached Flour Different Types of Flour Types of Flour Chart Types of Gluten Free Flour Flour Protein Content What Is Patent Flour?
Batter vs Dough
Batter and dough are to a commercial kitchen what liquor and seltzer are to a cocktail lounge—essential. Whether you operate a bakery, pizzeria, or Japanese restaurant, you use a variety of batters and doughs each day. While you may know you should whisk batter and proof dough, you may not understand exactly what dough and batter are or how they’re unique. We’ll explain the differences between batters and doughs, what dough and batter are, and break down the main dough and batter categories. Use the links below to skip ahead learn more about batters and doughs: What Makes Doughs and Batters Unique? Batter Definition Dough Definition Leavening Explained Laminated Dough Definition Difference Between Batter and Dough The difference between batter and dough is batters are thin and contain eggs, and doughs are thick and don't have to contain eggs. Because of their different consistencies and ingredients, you will mix and prepare batters and doughs differently. We break down all the differences between batters and doughs below. Batter vs Dough: Egg Content Batters must have eggs. Doughs don’t have to contain eggs. Batter vs Dough: Mixing Doughs are dense enough for working (kneading/rolling). You combine batter ingredients by whisking them. Batter vs Dough: Working With Each You can shape doughs into pastries, pasta, and pie crust. You pour or use a spoon to drop batters onto griddles and baking dishes. You can also use batters as a pre-fry coating. What Is Batter? A batter is a thin blend of flour, egg, and liquid that you cannot knead. Derived from the French word battre, meaning ‘to beat’, you make batters by beating/whisking their ingredients together. Culinary professionals break batters into three categories: drop batter, pour batter, and coating batter based on how they use them. Drop Batter Drop batters can be dropped from a spoon without running. A drop batter is normally made from a two-parts flour to one-part liquid ratio. Drop Batter Examples: Muffins Cakes Drop Biscuits Cake Doughnuts Hush Puppies Dumplings If you want to start a donut shop, you must create both batters and doughs to craft yeasted and cake doughnuts, respectively. Pour Batter Pour batters have a fluid consistency and are pourable. Unlike a drop batter, pour batters run when dropped from a spoon. Typically, pour batters have a one-to-one liquid-to-flour ratio. Pour Batter Examples: Pancakes Waffles Crepes Funnel Cakes Coating Batter A coating batter is a wet food coating used to prepare items for shallow frying, deep-frying, or flat top grill quick cooking. At their most basic, coating batters are a mixture of liquid and flour/meal, but chefs often add eggs and seasonings to increase their coating batter’s flavor. From English beer-battered cod and Southern cornmeal battered catfish to Japanese tempura vegetables and all-American onion rings, battering is a popular food preparation method in a variety of settings. Coating Batter Examples: Beer Batter Tempura Batter Cornmeal Batter Plain Batter What Is Dough? At its most basic, dough is a mixture of flour/meal and a liquid. You can use any type of flour or meal to make dough. The most common liquids for dough making are milk and water. Doughs have pliable consistencies, perfect for rolling and kneading. While dough should always hold a form, you can make a soft or stiff dough by adjusting your fluid to flour/meal ratio. Discover the ratios for soft and stiff doughs below. Stiff Dough 1 Cup of Liquid to 4 Cups of Flour/Meal Stiff dough should feel compact but remain easy to knead and roll on a lightly floured surface. Stiff Dough Examples: Scones Pizza Crusts Cookies Soft Dough 1 Cup of Liquid to 3 Cups of Flour/Meal While they still hold forms, soft doughs are pliable and easy to handle. Soft Dough Examples: Rolls Biscuits Yeasted Doughnuts Back to Top Unleavened vs Leavened There are many types of dough, but we can broadly categorize them as either a leavened or an unleavened dough. Leavened Definition The term leavened describes baked goods made with a leavening (raising) agent. There are both natural and chemical leavening agents. Fermented yeasts and sourdough starters are natural leavening agents that provide rich flavors but are time- and labor-intensive. Baking soda and baking powder are common chemical leavening agents. We call breads leavened with chemical leavening agents “quick breads” because they require less time and labor than raising dough with a natural leavening agent. Unleavened Definition Unleavened describes baked goods that don’t use a leavening (raising) agent. Subsequently, unleavened doughs will not rise when baked. Doughs that don’t require a leavening agent include tortillas, pasta, crackers, and flatbreads. Perhaps the broadest category of unleavened sweet dough is short dough. In baking, the word “short” or “shortening” is used to describe fat content, so short doughs are doughs that have more fat than flour. The desired short dough consistency is dense and soft, so they’re usually unleavened (unraised). However, not all high-fat doughs are short doughs. Buttery but yeasted brioche doughs are not considered short doughs, and high-fat laminated doughs aren't classified as short dough either. What Is Laminated Dough? Laminated dough has thin alternating layers of butter and dough. Lamination is the process of rolling and folding layers of butter and dough together, developing the flour's gluten. It requires skilled hands because the alternating layers of dough and fat must be very thin. Unlike dense short doughs, which have large quantities of butter mixed into their dough, laminated doughs are airy. Laminated dough’s alternating layers of butter and dough trap evaporating steam during the baking process, causing the layers to rise. Baked laminated doughs have hundreds of flaky layers. While laminated doughs don’t require a leavening agent to rise, you can create a chewy texture in your laminated baked goods by adding a leavening agent to your laminated dough. Discover the top three laminated doughs below: 1. Croissant Dough laminated flour yeast milk salt sugar 2. Danish Pastry Dough laminated flour water salt yeast eggs 3. Puff Pastry Dough laminated flour water salt How to Make Laminated Dough: Follow these basic steps to make laminated dough: Roll your dough into the shape of a large rectangle. Apply a layer of butter. Fold your dough onto itself, encasing the butter layer inside your dough. *You should now have a three-layered rectangle with a butter layer sandwiched between two layers of dough. Roll out your three-layered rectangle and fold it into thirds. Repeat the last step twice more. Form your laminated dough into pastries Non-Laminated Dough Non-laminated doughs have fat creamed or rubbed into their flour rather than layered on top of it. You will not fold a nonlaminated dough on top of itself, and it won’t be flaky. There are both leavened and unleavened non-laminated doughs. Common non-laminated doughs include pie crust doughs, Choux pastry doughs, and short doughs. Popular uses for choux pastry dough are churros, eclairs, beignets, and cream puffs, and pastry chefs typically use short dough to make shortbread biscuits and cookies as well as tarts, quiches, and pies. Back to Top Batters and doughs share the same heritage of flour and liquid, but they diverge in their egg content and consistencies. We categorize batters by how we use them. In contrast, we categorize doughs by their use of yeast and other leavening agents. Understanding the differences between batters and doughs will help you achieve the right consistency and apply the correct preparation method for each.
What Are The Five Mother Sauces?
The five mother sauces are hollandaise, tomato (sauce tomat), bechamel, Espagnole, and veloute. French chef Auguste Escoffier identified the five mother sauces, forever associating them with French cuisine. However, mother sauces are relevant in all modern cooking practices. We can categorize nearly every sauce as an expansion, reduction, or alteration of one of the mother sauces. Whether you’re working on becoming a chef or looking to enhance your restaurant menu, mastering the mother sauces provides the foundation you need to build your own signature flavors. Shop All Saucepans You can click on any of the mother sauces below to discover the sauce that most interests you, read on to explore them all, or jump ahead to our five mother sauces chart. Hollandaise Sauce Tomato Sauce (sauce tomat) Bechamel Sauce Espagnole Sauce Veloute Sauce What Is A Mother Sauce? A mother sauce is a foundational sauce that serves as the basis for a variety of derivative sauces. A derivative sauce is a sauce that adds ingredients and flavors to a mother sauce. Chefs also refer to derivative sauces as daughter sauces, small sauces, or secondary sauces. French cuisine claims that there are five foundational mother sauces from which we form all other sauces. Each mother sauce has a unique liquid, thickening agent, and distinct flavorings. Three of the five mother sauces use a roux as their thickening agent. Use our informative list of the five mother sauces as your guide to their flavor profiles, ingredients, popular derivatives, and common uses. 1. Hollandaise Sauce Hollandaise offers the rich flavor of buttered cream laced with lemon and is the most well-known mother sauce. While some mother sauces are less famous than their derivatives, hollandaise is the star of its sauce family tree. Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion (meaning its ingredients don’t combine naturally). The word hollandaise is French, and it translates to “Dutch sauce” in English. While its name suggests otherwise, hollandaise is a definitively French sauce hailing from a small Norman town renowned for its butter and cream. Hollandaise Sauce Tastes Like - buttery cream laced with lemon Hollandaise Ingredients - egg yolks, unsalted butter, lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper, salt, freshly ground black peppercorns Uses for Hollandaise Sauce - eggs Benedict, poached salmon, flowering vegetables Hollandaise Sauce Derivatives - bearnaise sauce, maltaise sauce, choron sauce Hollandaise Recipe Follow these simple steps to make a classic hollandaise sauce. Melt 1/2 cup of unsalted butter. In a metal bowl, force four egg yolks and 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice to mix by whisking them vigorously. When the mixture doubles in volume, pour it into a double broiler and continue whisking. As soon as the color of the yolks lighten, steadily pour and whisk the melted butter into the saucepan (this keeps the eggs from scrambling). When the mixture doubles in volume, remove it from the heat. Whisk in salt, cayenne pepper, and freshly ground black peppercorns to taste. Keep your hollandaise sauce in a warm place until you're ready to serve it. Note: If your hollandaise becomes too thick, whisk a few drops of warm water into the sauce before serving it. 2. Tomato Sauce Tomato sauce, or sauce tomat in French, is a tomato-based sauce that serves as one of the five mother sauces. Tomatoes have high water content and tender flesh that cooks into thick sauces without emulsification. Tomato sauce is popular in Italian cuisine, which uses an array of secondary tomato sauces for pasta and pizza. In his publication, Auguste Escoffier didn’t signify a particular tomato variety, leaving room for seasonal availability and flavor preference. We provide the ingredients for Escoffier’s sauce tomat below. Tomato Sauce Tastes Like - pleasantly acidic tomatoes imbued with garlic, onion, and herbs Tomato Sauce Ingredients - white veal stock, butter, all-purpose flour, tomatoes, salt pork, carrots, white/yellow onion, bay leaf, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar Uses for Tomato Sauce - pasta, pizza, shakshouka Tomato Sauce Derivatives - vodka sauce, BBQ sauce, arrabbiata sauce Tomato Sauce Recipe While not the simplest version of tomato sauce, Escoffier's sauce tomat is as decadent as it is famous. Learn how to make the traditional tomato-based mother sauce below. Render 2-3 oz. of salt pork by placing it in a heavy-bottom saucepan with one tablespoon of water, covering it, and cooking it over medium heat to create steam (about 5 minutes). Peel and medium-dice 3 oz. of carrot and 3 oz. of white or yellow onion. When the salt pork is rendered, add the diced carrot, onion, and 2 oz. of butter to your saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the ingredients are tender and aromatic. Use this time to quarter 5 lb. of high-quality tomatoes. Create a brown roux by mixing 2-3 oz. of all-purpose flour into your saucepan and cooking the mixture until it achieves a brown shade. Incorporate the quartered tomatoes. Simmer them until they soften and burst. Add 1 clove of freshly crushed garlic and 1 qt. of white veal stock. Bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1 bay leaf and 1 sprig of thyme. Escoffier's recipe calls for a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Keep your sugar portion to a minimum to avoid over-sweetening the sauce. Cover your saucepan and leave it to simmer for 90 minutes. Once it's cooled enough to handle, strain your sauce through a chinois. Your traditional sauce tomat is ready to serve. Extra sauce will freeze and defrost well when stored in an airtight container. To Achieve a Smoother Sauce: we recommend blending the sauce tomat before passing it through the chinois. Back to Top 3. Bechamel Sauce Bechamel is the original cream sauce and serves as the foundation for every cheese sauce you know and love. In its simplest form, bechamel is a combination of milk and white roux. Traditional French, Greek, and Italian bechamel recipes incorporate salt and nutmeg into their sauces. Bechamel was originally an Italian sauce, Balsamella, that became a hit in the French royal court of King Louis XIV where it was renamed ‘bechamel’ after his chief steward. Escoffier standardized the name bechamel when he published his list of mother sauces. Bechamel Sauce Tastes Like - velvet cream with a lingering, buttery essence Bechamel Sauce Ingredients - butter, flour, whole milk, salt, nutmeg Uses for Bechamel Sauce - mac and cheese, lasagna, croque monsieur Derivatives of Bechamel Sauce - Alfredo, mornay, cheddar cheese sauce Bechamel Sauce Recipe Learn how to make bechamel sauce by following this simple recipe. In a large saucepan, melt five tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Mix 1/4 cup of flour into your melted butter until smooth. Cook the sauce until it turns a light sand color (approximately seven minutes). Stir constantly. Turn your heat to medium-high and whisk in a qt. of milk. Continue whisking the milk into the roux until it thickens. Lower your heat to medium-low and allow your sauce to simmer. You want the flour to soften and lose its gritty taste (approximately 10 to 20 minutes). Season your sauce with 2 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg before serving/storing it. 4. Espagnole Sauce Espagnole is a brown sauce thickened with a roux composed of brown stock, mirepoix, and tomatoes. Mirepoix is a French aromatic flavor base of onion, celery, and carrot cooked together in butter or oil over low heat, so they release their flavors without browning. Espagnole is the most complex mother sauce. It has a potent flavor that easily overpowers, so you will rarely directly apply it to your meals. Subsequently, Espagnole sauce is far more popular in its reduced, derivative forms. Espagnole Sauce Tastes Like - rich stock lightened with the mild acidity of tomatoes and saturated with earthy spices Espagnole Sauce Ingredients - butter, flour, brown stock, tomato puree, carrot, onion, celery, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf Espagnole Sauce Uses - steak + French fries, braised beef short ribs + mashed potatoes, roasted lamb shanks + creamy polenta Derivatives of Espagnole Sauce - demi-glace, sauce bourguignon, red wine reduction Espagnole Sauce Recipe Easily create the most complex mother sauce with our Espagnole recipe. Coarsely chop 1 small carrot, 1 celery rib, and 1 medium onion. Cook the chopped vegetables and 1/2 stick of butter over moderate heat until golden in a heavy 3 qt. saucepan. Stir occasionally. Create a roux by reducing the temperature to low heat and stirring in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Cook to medium brown. Pour 4 cups of hot brown stock into the saucepan. Whisk as you pour. Mix in 1/4 cup tomato puree, two cloves of coarsely chopped garlic, 1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorn, and 1/2 a California bay leaf. Continue stirring the sauce until it comes to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a light simmer. Leave the sauce to simmer uncovered until it reduces to approximately 3 cups (approximately 45 minutes). Stir periodically. Once reduced, strain the Espagnole sauce through a cheesecloth before using it as a topping or a base for another sauce. 5. Veloute Sauce Veloute sauce is a versatile white sauce made by blending a white roux and white stock. There are three types of veloute (chicken, fish, and veal) depending on the variety of white stock used. The most common variety is chicken veloute. Veloute is the most neutral of the five mother sauces, serving as a clean canvas to layer a diverse array of flavors onto. You’ll find veloute sauce as the base in a variety of chicken dishes, creamy soups, and other comfort food staples. Veloute Sauce Tastes Like - silken white stock Veloute Sauce Ingredients - white stock, butter, flour, salt, white pepper Veloute Sauce Uses - chicken supreme, cream of mushroom soup, cream of broccoli soup Derivatives of Veloute Sauce - white wine sauce, Allemande sauce, Normandy sauce Veloute Sauce Recipe Learn how to make the most versatile white mother sauce with our easy-to-follow veloute recipe. Melt 3 Tbsp. of unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour into the butter until the mixture is smooth. Cook the roux until it turns blond. Incorporate 2 cups of white stock (chicken is the most common choice) into your roux in small increments. Each time you add more stock, whisk your mixture and bring it to a gentle boil. Repeat this process until you've added all the stock and your sauce is a velvety texture. Season to taste with salt and white pepper and serve. Note: Veloute sauce thickens as it cools. If you aren't using it immediately, you can thin the sauce by adding more hot stock before serving. Back to Top 5 Mother Sauces Chart Mother Sauces FAQs As specialty sauces become one of the most popular food trends, it’s important for restaurants to master the mother sauces so they can create their own derivates and hone their signature flavor. We answer the common questions that arise when chefs make the five mother sauces below. What Is a Sauce? A sauce is a liquid combined with a thickening agent and flavorings. You can vary your thickening agent to create a sauce that is fluid, semi-solid, or anywhere in between. Sauces enhance the texture, flavor, and aesthetic appeal of other foods. You can incorporate sauces during the cooking process, add them after you plate your food, or serve them on the side. What Is a Roux? A roux is a thickening agent made from equal parts flour and fat. You will thicken three of the five mother sauces with a roux. To make a roux, blend flour into melted fat on the stovetop. Cook the mixture between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit until it reaches your preferred level of browning. You can stop or extend the browning process to make a white, blonde, or brown roux. History of Mother Sauces Published by esteemed chef Auguste Escoffier in the 19th century, the five mother sauces are the branches of the sauce family tree, and all other sauces are leaves growing from their branches. However, the mother sauces were not always as we know them today. In the 1800s, French chef Marie-Antoine Carême classified veloute, bechamel, allemande, and Espagnole as the foundational (mother) sauces. In the 19th century, Auguste Escoffier revolutionized the culinary world by updating traditional haute cuisine and redefining the mother sauces, making him the father of modern French cuisine. Escoffier identified allemande as a derivative of veloute and removed it from the list of mother sauces. He then added tomato sauce (sauce tomat) and hollandaise to the list of foundational sauces, solidifying the five mother sauces we still recognize today. Back to Top Mother sauces are the matriarchs of the five major sauce families. Perfecting the mother sauces will allow you to venture on your own sauce journey with a solid foundation of time-tested flavor as your guide. If you’re ready to get started, check out our saucepan buying guide and discover the right saucepan for your needs.