The $4 Chef-Approved Trick to Lump-Free Gravy — Every Time
The internet is positively teeming with tips, tricks, and hacks for making cooking even easier, and there are some truly innovative ideas out there (hello, strawberry hulling hack!). One of my favorite cooking hacks, however, isn’t particularly novel — it’s been a tried-and-true staple of chefs and knowing home cooks for 80 years!
Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour, a type of instant flour developed by Gold Medal Flour in the 1960s, is practically indispensable to me around the holidays for its ability to produce velvety sauces, lump-free gravies, and a tender, flaky pie crust. If it’s not already, it will be indispensable for you too.
What’s So Great About Gold Medal Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour?
Because it’s been pregelatinized (treated with steam and then re-dried and finely milled), Wondra Flour dissolves more quickly in liquid, resulting in gravies and sauces that are silky and blissfully lump-free. This is because the flour has essentially been pre-cooked, which makes it easier to dissolve.
What’s the Best Way to Use Gold Medal Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour?
My favorite way to use Wondra Flour is for gravy at Thanksgiving (the only time I eat gravy all year). I make my gravy in the days leading up to the holiday so I don’t have to sweat preparing it at the last minute, and using the quick-dissolving flour makes it even easier. For my make-ahead Thanksgiving gravy, I make a quick roux with butter and Wondra Flour and add a fortified chicken or turkey stock. I bring it up to a simmer to thicken up, and my nearly infallible gravy is complete. I keep it stored in a glass container in the fridge. On Thanksgiving day, I heat it up with a bit of hot stock nearby, adding spoonfuls as needed to get the texture just right.
I also adore Wondra Flour for creating a perfectly smooth cheese sauce for mac and cheese. Making macaroni and cheese from scratch has a tendency to flummox me. Using Wondra Flour instead of all-purpose flour makes the process practically foolproof.
The final hat trick I rely on Wondra flour for is bringing flakiness to holiday pie crust. I substitute Wondra flour for about 75% of the flour called for in the recipe. I find that I still need some all-purpose flour to make the crust come together, but the addition of Wondra flour does, well, wonders for the texture of the final product.
Grand Dame of French cooking, Julia Child, swore by Wondra flour for crepes, according to the cookbook, The Way to Cook. The instant flour, Child said, could reduce the resting time of the batter from an hour or more to mere minutes. It’s also an ace up your sleeve for fry batter. Both Eric Ripert and Jacques Pepín rely on the super-fine flour for frying fish and chicken. You can even use Wondra instead of rice flour for a shatteringly crispy tempura batter.
Buy: Gold Medal Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour, $4.18 for 12.5 ounces at Walmart
What are your go-to pantry staples for holiday cooking? Tell us about it in the comments below.