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Techniques - Thickening

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks


A little butter or cream stirred into a soup just before serving will enrich it, but there will be times when you want to thicken a soup a bit more. Here’s how to do it.

There are several quick and easy ways you can give body to a soup at the end of cooking. You could whisk egg yolk or a mixture of egg yolk and cream into the hot liquid. Another option is to use starch, in the form of rice flour, all-purpose flour, or cornstarch. Or you could make a paste from flour and butter and stir this into the soup before serving. But perhaps the oldest method of thickening a soup is with bread, either stirred into the broth at the last minute or incorporated into it earlier in the cooking process.

With starch

Mix a little cornstarch, rice flour, or all-purpose flour to a thin paste with some cold water. Stir the mixture into the pot of hot soup, bring back to a boil, and simmer, stirring all the time, for 1–2 minutes until the soup thickens.

With flour and butter

Combine two parts softened butter to one part flour. Gradually whisk small pieces of the paste into the hot soup at the end of cooking. Allow the flour to cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring all the time.

With egg

Added toward the end of cooking, egg yolk or a mixture of egg yolk and cream will thicken a hot soup and make it velvety. Remove the pan from the heat to incorporate the mixture, then reheat the soup gently, whisking until thick. Do not allow it to boil or it will curdle.

With bread

Bread has long been used to thicken country soups. For gazpacho, bread crumbs are blended into the soup at an early stage. But bread can also be added to a broth at the last minute, and stirred until it breaks up and thickens the soup.

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