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I am looking to make a kosher bechamel made from almond milk. What kind of fat should I use in the roux? Margarine? Regular veggie oil?

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    Is there something about the milk and butter that would make bechamel not kosher? I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on kosher practices. Will you be using this bechamel in a meat dish? If so, you may want to edit the question (or search for existing questions) on how to make dairy-free (pareve) roux/bechamel and explain why. I'm guessing people on a vegan diet have asked similar (if not the same) question. – Kevin Nowaczyk Aug 31 '17 at 19:01
  • What do you mean by "should"? Are you asking which fats are kosher when mixed with almond milk? Or are you assuming that only few fats are usable for a roux? – rumtscho Aug 31 '17 at 19:02
  • @KevinNowaczyk— I imagine he's planning on using the sauce on a meat. – ChefAndy Sep 7 '17 at 4:13
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You can use any fat at all in a roux, including animal fats like suet and schmaltz. With a roux, all you're doing is toasting the flour to get rid of the raw flavor, and using the fat to make sure it doesn't clump up. The older, less sophisticated beurre manie technique involves kneading flour into cold butter, throwing knobs of it into your boiling liquid, and skimming any scum that floats up. The toastiness of roux is great, but as long as there's enough well-incorporated fat to keep the flour from clumping, your sauce will thicken just fine.

So which fat you use— dairy or meat avoidance aside— depends entirely on the flavor profile you're working with. If you use a butter substitute such as margarine, remember that like butter it contains a double-digit percentage of water: I was taught to let that cook off first or you'll end up with some early seizing, but it doesn't seem to affect the end-result too much. If you're not using a fat which contains water, you can use about 15% less fat than you would butter... but the results will be just fine if you want to use the same amount... your mixture will just have a little more fat.

Your other easy option is to use a cornstarch slurry as a thickener, but of course, that will change the texture.

As an aside, if you're not dead-set on having a bechamel, you might enjoy a veloute in its place. It would use any broth or stock in place of your almond milk. Nothing wrong with almond milk, but the broth/stock might add a little depth. A suet-roux beef stock veloute sounds like a pretty delicious sauce to me. Veloute made with fish stock is divine in the right context.

Happy cooking!

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