Help! My "make ahead Turkey gravy" won't thicken

maddieleeNovember 19, 2012

What else can I say? I made no changes in the recipe, after simmering for 12 minutes its still not very thick. Not like water, but not thick as most gravy.

Is there anyway to thicken it? Without using cornstarch.

It does taste good!

Thanks.

ML

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Teresa_MN

It will thicken when chilled / frozen.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:23PM
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ann_t

And when you thaw and reheat your gravy it will thin out again.
It doesn't keep thickening once it is cooked.

That said, I actually prefer a thinner gravy. Not one that is really thick.
The easiest way is to thicken your gravy is to mix equal amounts of soft butter and flour together (beurre manie) and add it a little bit at a time, whisking into your hot gravy. Add it a little bit at a time until your gravy thickens up.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:44PM
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maddielee

Thanks teresa. It's cooling now, waiting to go in the freezer. Smells heavenly!

ML

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:45PM
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maddielee

Thanks ann...

ML

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:46PM
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ann_t

You are welcome Maddie. I'm sure your gravy will be delicious.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:52PM
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chase_gw

I agree with Ann, while it will thicken as it cools it will thin down again when you reheat it. Do as Ann describes or you can make a very smooth milk flour mix and add it slowly to the heated gravy stirring constantly.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 3:56PM
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lindac

Or you can mix chicken broth and flour....and add slowly to the bubbling gravy until as thick as you want.
But if you don't add more flour, the gravy will be just as thin if not more thin when you reheat it.
The butter/flour method is the most sure to get it just as you want it, but it does add more butter...not that that's a BAD thing!!

Start with a tablespoon of soft butter and a tablespoon of flour and sort of smoosh it all together with a fork on a plate....and add a little at a time to your simmering gravy until it's as thick as you want.
The gravy will get thicker as it chills because of the gelatin in the bones, but will thin out again when heated...just like melted jello does.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 4:10PM
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arkansas_girl

The way I thicken my gravy is mix a cold liquid (the gravy itself, milk, or water) with flour and whisk it together and pour it into the gravy and heat it to boiling(stir constantly with a whisk)until it's as thick as I want it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 4:33PM
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momj47

I believe I'm correct that gravy thickened with flour will thin out if it's cooked or reheated too long.

I'm always very careful with gravy. And I'm happy to make it with cornstarch to prevent thinning if I think I'm going to have a problem.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 4:49PM
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ann_t

Mom, it is gravy made with cornstarch that thins out. Not gravy made with flour. Gravy made with cornstarch does not reheat well.

Ann

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 5:26PM
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arkansas_girl

It is my experience that the longer you cook gravy with flour to thicken, the thicker it gets. I have never ever ever ever had a flour gravy "thin out" in my life!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:04PM
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lindac

Flour, cornstarch and especially arrow root will lose their ability to thicken with over cooking...grainlady will know but the starch grain molecules de..something yadda yadda...and your gravy gets watery.
It can happen with arrowroot in a couple of minutes...gets ropey....cornstarch takes longer....and flour can cook for 20 minutes or longer without losing the ability to thicken.
And I HAVE had flour gravy and sauce thin out.....really!!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 8:26PM
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ann_t

That's interesting Linda. I've never had that happen. In fact, I was coming back to tell Maddie, that another way to thicken gravy, that has been made with flour ( roux) is to let it simmer on low, uncovered to reduce and thicken.

Ann

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:08PM
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annie1992

I agree, the surest way to thicken gravy with no lumps is to mix equal amounts of flour and butter and add it a bit at at time to the boiling gravy/liquid, and cook a little longer to get rid of any "raw flour" taste.

That's how Amanda always makes her gravy, no lumps at all, she always ended up straining the gravy through a sieve if she tried the method I tried to teach her, which was mixing flour with cold liquid and adding it to boiling stock and drippings to thicken. I don't have problems doing it, Grandma always told me to put cold water and flour in a pint canning jar with a lid and shake it until it was smooth so that's what I've always done.

I've never had flour gravy break down either.

Annie

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:43PM
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lindac

My mother always said that "Tiny Dumplings" in the gravy were a rare treat!!
Need to look for documentation about the breakdown of flour thickened gravy.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:57PM
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ann_t

Using Flour

Flour is at its best in longer-cooking sauces and gravies, which give its impurities and raw flavor time to cook out. Flour's proteins rise to the top of your sauce early in the cooking process, making a grey-white foam that can be spooned off. Flour makes a sauce opaque and gives it a pronounced body, suitable to hearty meals like pot roast or stew. Of the major thickeners, flour holds up best in prolonged cooking, making it a natural choice for casseroles and slow cooker recipes. Special "quick-blending" flour, partially precooked, is available from several manufacturers for quicker sauces.
Using Cornstarch

Cornstarch is much faster-acting than flour, giving a fully thickened sauce almost immediately when it's stirred into near-boiling liquids. Sauces thickened with cornstarch remain clear and develop an attractive sheen, making cornstarch especially suitable for fruit pies and Asian-style dishes. Once cornstarch has thickened a liquid, it should be served quickly, because continued cooking and stirring will start to break down the gel. Cornstarch doesn't freeze and thaw well, so other starches are preferable for casseroles or pies that will be frozen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flour VS Cornstarch

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:24PM
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colleenoz

If I have any "tiny dumplings" the stick blender comes in handy :-)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:42PM
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arkansas_girl

I'd like to know what kind of thinning flour y'all are using...HAAHAAHAA! I've been cooking for 35 years and have not had this thinning of gravy, in fact sometimes I'll have to thin left over gravy because it's too thick!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:53PM
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sheilajoyce_gw

I have removed the gravy boat from the table and the ladle is standing straight up in it because the gravy thickened so much as it cooled. Ugh!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 12:14AM
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shambo

Flour makes gravy thick. Cooling gravy gets very thick too. However, what has been said is that floured gravy that is cooked at a high heat for a long period of time will eventually lose its thickness. The key is that the floured gravy is cooked at a high heat for a long time. Something happens that results in a breakdown of the flour's ability to keep the gravy thick. If you normally don't heat your gravy at a high heat for extended periods of time, you would never encounter this situation. It's similar to the idea that browned flour, such as is used for making a traditional dark roux, doesn't have the thickening power of a lighter colored roux. So boiling a thin, floured gravy may not result in a thicker gravy. Not unless it is boiled enough to actually reduce the liquid quite a bit.

"Sauces thickened with starches should be reheated carefully, as they will lose some thickening ability if reheated to a full boil."

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 2:35AM
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jadeite

I would keep the gravy until Thursday and reheat it slowly. If it's still too thin, add a little cornstarch slurry a teaspoon at a time and stir until it thickens to your liking. No one will notice.

Cheryl

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 10:00AM
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dcarch7

I don't use corn starch because I like tapioca starch better. Less raw flour taste and more shiny on food.

Since last night I experimented with cooking and freezing tapioca gravy, 3 times of freezing and simmering of the same gravy. There is no change in consistence. No thinning at all.

dcarch

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 4:50PM
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ovenbird

dcarch, did you by chance test bringing the gravy to a boil after freezing? Just curious to know if tapioca starch maintained thickening or if it thinned out like the other starches.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 6:09PM
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arkansas_girl

Tapioca? I saw a bag of tapioca today at the store, it caught my attention because it looked like tiny white beads and I said "what the h*** is that?"...is that what you are talking about?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:31PM
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dcarch7

Not the pearls.

This (see link)

dcarch

Here is a link that might be useful: tapioca flour

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:57PM
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