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I have recently been diagnosed with celiac, so no wheat flour whatsoever. Also, I am allergic to corn.... I have read that arrowroot would not work in a roux; it is not just the thickening I want, but that flavor that a well browned roux has. Any alternatives?

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A roux is a stable mixture (an emulsion) of fat and water held together by an emulsifier such as starch.

So you could try any number of flours from grains that contain starch such as potato, rice, barley, buckwheat, etc.

As far as the Maillard Reaction taste and color that you'd like to substitude, potato and barley (IMO) are the better bets. The note on arrowroot may be that it doesn't brown through the Maillard reaction.

An approach I would suggest is to use more than one flour/emulsifier and try to achieve consistency and taste by varying two or more ingredients as opposed to a direct single substitute. This may also mean that you'd likely have to the color/taste/browning first and then bind it to achieve the final result.

Have a look at Bob's Red Mill's list of flours and experiment. A little bit of Hazelnut flour and you might never look back at an ordinary wheat flour roux again.

  • With what I have here at the moment, I was thinking of trying to brown some tapioca flour, and then use the arrowroot to thicken. I have never tried hazelnut flour, didn't know it existed, just learning all this! Thank you so much. – user17651 Apr 3 '13 at 22:56
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    Potato flour is commonly used in Germany for roux-like application (brown gravies and light gravies, for example), so I'd start there. – JasonTrue Apr 4 '13 at 4:14
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    I wouldn't use pure hazelnut flour, it has practically no starch and behaves very differently from normal flour. As for the maillard reaction, it needs both proteins and carbohydrates to happen, but many non-wheat flours don't have protein. Try adding small amounts of legume flour to starches for dark roux-es. – rumtscho Apr 4 '13 at 9:10
  • Great answer, I have used rice flower and the results were ok. – Jeremy French Apr 4 '13 at 14:08
  • I have made Gumbo with rice flour and it came out fine. – Lee Daniel Crocker Jul 11 at 18:44
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Alex and Aki at "Ideas in Food" have developed a gluten free flour that works as a substitute for wheat flour in almost any situation. I have used it successfully in a roux.

http://blog.ideasinfood.com/ideas_in_food/2012/02/what-iif-flour.html

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I was delighted to find that gluten free flour (I've been using Doves Farm gluen free plain flour) works for roux.

  • Doves Farm gluen free plain flour contains corn. – Richard Jul 10 at 14:25

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