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Fat Flour ratio to broth/liquids for thickening?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Can a pro cook or two, help with fat (butter, bacon grease, meat grease, etc) and flour to volumes of liquid (broth, or other liquids).

I made clam chowder using my normal recipe, except I needed to make 24 cups clam broth for a party. So I tripled the recipe. I read somewhere not to triple the bacon portion as it would overwhelm the clam broth flavor. I used butter instead and made a butter/flour roux seperate and added about 2 tbsp at a time to attempt to get to a medium thickness. After two cups of roux I was only able to achieve a thin thickness. At this point I didn't want to change the flavor two much by adding even more butter, so I served very mediocre chowder.

Q. Rule of thumb, how much fat/flour to broth for thickening?
If I have 1 quart of broth, how much fat/flour to get to medium thickness? what if I had a gallon of broth, or only 4 cups of broth?

Q. If the starting roux amount doesn't achieve the desired thickness, after you have all your broth already in the pot. What is the best way to continue to thicken? Do you make a seperate roux and add a little at a time?

I generally have no problem with gravy's or small quantities because I make the roux and then add enough liquid to achieve the desired thickness, when the item is at boil. But when making biq quantities such as chowder, how do you know in general how much to start with?

Q. How many clams to a cup of water to make a rich clam broth?

Q. If you were cutting cost on a large quantity of clam chowder by using fresh and canned clams/broth. What ratio of clams/broth to the canned broth/clams would you use to achieve a good chowder?

thank you in advance for your help
post #2 of 3
I never measure, but if I remember right, it's 3/1 broth to thickener. If I am correct, that would mean you would need 1/2 cup fat and 1/2 cup flour to thicken 1 quart of broth. If you are making chowder, there are variables because of the starch in the potatoes. Your best bet is to type "recipes for a crowd" into your browser and check one of the sites for a large quantity recipe. I don't know how much you are making, so can't direct you to a specific formula. If roux doesn't thicken enough, there are several things you can do to correct it. I use a cornstarch slurry to bring it to the consistency I want. You can also use instant potatoes or pureed boiled potatoes. I don't care for this method as I think it makes the chowder grainy, but some people like it. Or you can make a buerre maniere. This is a mixture of equal parts softened butter and flour. A cold roux, so to speak. You drop pea sized pieces into a simmering broth and stir until it's as thick as you want. Most people use clam nectar to get the classic clam chowder taste. Buy your clams from a restaurant supply place if you can. They're much less expensive than the little cans they have in the grocery store. How many clams you use is a matter of taste. You will also get increased flavor if you use salt pork or bacon in your chowder. Hope this helps.
post #3 of 3
Here are general guidelines for thickening 1 gallon of liquid with a roux. This is a weight measurement.

For a thin sauce 12oz roux (6oz fat + 6oz flour)
For a medium sauce 16oz roux (8oz fat +8oz flour)
For a thick sauce 24oz roux (12oz fat + 12oz flour)

When dealing with small amount of roux equal parts, by volume, will work, but when making large amounts of roux weight must be used or you will not be using enough flour.
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