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During the thickening of my sauce I accidentally poured too much flour into my sauce. This resulted into lumps of flour.

Is there a way to get rid of these lumps?

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  • 4
    Mix flour with a liquid first, so there are no lumps. Then thicken the sauce with the floured liquid. Nov 26 '13 at 1:47
  • Cold liquid, not hot
    – TFD
    Sep 7 '15 at 8:13
  • Pouring dry flour directly into a sauce is generally not a good idea. There are better methods. You could start with a roux (oil/butter and flour cooked) then make your sauce, or mix flour with butter to form a beurre manié and add it to the sauce, or make a slurry of flour and cold water and add it to the sauce.
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 8 at 13:49
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Once this has happened, about the only practical way to remove them is with a strainer. Of course that will remove anything else in the sauce like onions as well.

In the future, you can use better ways to thicken your sauce. See some ideas in this question, which while phrased for mushroom sauce, has a very general answer: How can I thicken my mushroom sauce?

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I totally agree with @SAJ4SAJ his answer, but I would like to add that I've heard about people getting rid of the lumps of flour with an immersion blender. However, I did not do this myself. But if I ever try it, I'll update this answer.

This is not always a solution (same limits as other answers), you will destroy pieces in your sauce you do desire.

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  • also, as a caveat, some thickeners won't handle the shearing well and may actually thin out again (of course, if this happens, you can simple re-thicken it correctly)
    – SourDoh
    Nov 24 '13 at 21:01
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    @sourd'oh the question was specifically about flour, which doesn't care about shearing. It is usually the gums which show strange behaviors under agitation.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 24 '13 at 22:04
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    And separately to the answer itself, I have tried it with the blender, and it works if you do it while you are cooking the sauce - the lumps get broken up, you give them some time to hydrate and continue cooking. But if the sauce is already fully cooked, you will end up with raw flour from the lumps in the sauce, which doesn't taste good.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 24 '13 at 22:05
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    Sometimes, if you're lucky, whisking the bejabbers out of the sauce with a French Whisk will work. Rolling the whisk shaft between your palms can generate some pretty good RPM without resorting to electrical motors. Nov 25 '13 at 15:30
  • 1
    I tried it with a whisk but failed :P
    – Mien
    Nov 25 '13 at 21:48
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I was stuck in this position, with no strainer, blender or any other device. Instead, I used a spoon. With the spoon, I tried squashing the lumps, to the side of the pan and continued a motion. Dipping the spoon in to the middle of the sauce and bringing the back of the spoon the side. Do this for about 5 minutes and you should get most of the lumps, by using your eyes and catching as much as you can. I also add a little extra water, to help the lumps dissolve and continued to whisk and cook away. Eventually I had a very smooth and tasty sauce. It may not of been perfect but after getting rid of the largest lumps, the smaller ones soon disappeared.

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If its a sauce, try using a manual food mill, it works wonders to strain soups and sauces. i have tried it, it works very well for veggies and flour if the tool is of good quality.

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Chances are that you are Australian and your regular tap water is Anything above 25c in the peak of summer, of course, depending on where you live and what your water source is. Where I live, towards the end of heat waves we can get tap water getting very close to 30c (think 28 - 29 - ish). So sometimes you will still get clumps unless you add your cornflour real slow. If you are able to prepare earlier then stick some water (sealed somehow) in the fridge for a few hours. There is info all over but they call it "Making a Slurry" in cold water. This enables the Corn Flour (starch) to disperse (not dissolve) into the water without clumping. then, when you are ready you add it into the hot stuff (could be juice, stock, or water or combination) and bobs your aunt you got gravy! Woot!

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  • Corn starch will not gel at 30 degrees. It won't clump any more at that temperature than if you're using ice water.
    – Sneftel
    Nov 9 at 10:49
  • I don't understand the 25c parts. Is this cents per gallon? Why would that matter? Celsius? Still way below thickening temperatures. Also, the question was not how to thicken a gravy but how to remove the lumps from too much flour.
    – Robert
    Nov 10 at 22:10
  • This does not provide an answer to the question. Once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post; instead, provide answers that don't require clarification from the asker. - From Review
    – Robert
    Nov 10 at 22:10

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