Liaisons: The Binding Agents

Liaisons thicken a liquid in order to add body and thickness.

Basic Stock + Binding Agent = Basic Sauce

Roux: Made by cooking together flour and fat (typically butter) usually in equal portions.

  • Fat is melted
  • Flour is added and cooked
  • Roux Blanc —> 3-5 minutes, pale sauce
  • Roux Blond —> 6-7 minutes, golden sauce
  • Roux Brun —> 8-12 minutes, rich brown sauce

Beurre Manié: Softened Butter kneaded into flour

  • Pea size amounts whisked into sauce
  • Mixture is never brought to a boil
  • Only a small amount is used

Singer: Dry flour is sprinkled into a sauce

Slurry: Whisking Potato starch, cornstarch, arrowroot, or Rice flour into a cold liquid to be dissolved.

  • Poured into boiling liquid in a slow stream.
  • Whisk constantly until thickened.

Double Cream: 

  • Simmered and reduced by half
  • Do not reduce further or it will break.
  • Whish into a hot liquid.


  • French Dijon has a slight thickening effect.
  • Beaten into the sauce off heat.
  • Sauce must not be boiled again or it will break.

Egg Yolks:

  • Temper egg yolk —> whisk a small amount of hot liquid into yolks to prevent from scrambling when added to sauce.
  • Whisk vigorously as you add to hot sauce.


  • Pearl tapioca will add consistency to a sauce.
  • If left to sit the thickening will continue.


  • Used to finish a sauce and create a silky velvet like thickness.
  • Not a primary thickener.

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