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Consider this recipe and this one. In both butter and flour is mixed before cream is added. What is the idea behind mixing flour and butter?

Here are quotes of the relevant parts (in case of link rot):

1.Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually whisk in cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted.

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and salt until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in cheese. Pour over meat mixture; mix well. Reduce heat; cook, covered, until heated through. If desired, serve with biscuits.

From first and second recipes respectively

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  • You should edit this question to include the content at the other end of the links that you feel is important. Someday those links will no longer be valid and this question won't be particularly useful then either.
    – gnicko
    Jan 2, 2023 at 2:05
  • Try adding ground red hot chili peppers when half-ready as they burn even faster than flour.
    – Vorac
    Oct 2, 2023 at 8:17

1 Answer 1

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This is called a roux, a common way to thicken sauces; there is nothing about it that is specific to cast iron pans. By first cooking the flour in butter (or another fat), the taste improves and the grains of flour are coated in fat so that they do not clump together when the rest of the liquid is added.

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  • 6
    Additionally, the initial cooking inactivates the gluten precursor proteins, so they can't form gluten once water is added.
    – Sneftel
    Dec 30, 2022 at 13:39
  • 4
    The flavor improvement comes in 2 ways: 1 by cooking the flour so it isn't raw, 2) the longer it is cooked the darker the roux gets, and color is flavor.
    – GdD
    Dec 30, 2022 at 16:17

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