Almost all types of thickening agent, with the exception of reduction, use starch as its main thickening agent. There are many sources and combinations for proper starch thickening. Starch becomes gelatinous when it is cooked, producing a thickening property that blends well into many foods. Cooked properly, a gelatinized starch has a very neutral flavor and can be used in moderation with most foods to produce a thick product. Too much gelatinized starch causes food to take on the bland flavor and dilutes much of the flavoring you initially used. Starches that are not thoroughly cooked properly have a very “starchy” flavor that can come through prominently in your food. This is why it is important to continually taste your food to ensure the starch has been cooked.
A roux is a mixture of fat and flour. A roux is comprised of, by weight, 50% flour, and 50% fat. In this video, students are making a roux to thicken a cheese sauce for mac and cheese.
A liaison is a mixture of egg yolks and heavy cream that adds richness and smoothness with a minimal thickening. In this video, students are creating a liaison to make ice cream.
Reduction is the process of removing the water that is present in many ingredients leaving a more pronounced and concentrated flavor. In this video students, are reducing strawberries in order to put them into homemade pop-tarts.
A cornstarch slurry is cornstarch is mixed with water and then added to the soup/sauce. In this video, students have incorporated a slurry into sauce for general tso chicken.