The concept behind dusting meat with flour before browning it in a hot skillet is rather straightforward: Flour is packed with starch that will quickly caramelize and offer a deeper color and flavor. This method is most frequently employed in stews, where flour is added to the cooking liquid to thicken it.
Why do you flour the meat before cooking it?
I recently made the decision to braise some lamb shanks. I started to question why the meat was typically dipped in flour prior to browning in the recipes I see. Is it actually required at all?
There is a ton of conflicting information available in cookbooks and online, as with most cooking-related questions. Although I have no idea why this is the case, I think that the majority of cookbook authors and chefs learnt from people who simply employed different methods.
Flouring the meat before browning it might be common practice in one culinary culture, but it might be unheard of in another.
Thickening The Sauce
The majority of the publications I looked at agreed that flouring the meat before browning it makes the sauce thicker in the end. This makes sense because using a roux is a widely popular way to thicken food.
A roux is a mixture of flour and fat that is cooked to produce a specific color and flavor complexity. We are effectively generating a roux when we flour meat and then brown it in oil; when the flour cooks, it reacts with the fat in the pan and provides thickening power when more liquid is added.
In addition to its ability to thicken, flouring meat, especially with seasoned flour, can give the meat a delicious coating and protect it from the pan’s high heat. Every time a recipe calls for flouring, it pays to check the list of other ingredients to see if there are any tastes you can add to the flour that will go well with the rest of the dish.
Consider adding some cayenne pepper and Cajun flavor to the flour before dredging the meat in it if you are creating a Cajun-inspired dish that calls for flouring the meat. Since flour includes both proteins and sugar, Maillard reactions—just like when you brown meat—are what cause the browning.
The carbohydrates in the flour combine with the fluids from the meat during cooking and gelatinize, or swell up. The gelatinized starch creates a gooey covering that acts as a barrier between the hot pan and the meat.
This is very helpful for pan searing delicate items, like fish. The fish turns out with a thin but crisp and tasty coating after a beautiful, dry-free cooking process.
Meat that has been floured is cooked, but because it is insulated, it may not always brown. Although slightly different from the flavors produced by browning meat that hasn’t been floured, the flavors created by the Maillard reactions in the flour will still be complex.
If forced to pick between browning meat that has been floured and without browning it at all before cooking, I assume that the meal with the floured and browned meat will have a richer flavor.
Additionally, the use of meat that has been floured as a thickening has been brought up. In the opinion of many cooks, thickening and enhancing food should be accomplished by reduction, which involves slowly boiling a sauce to lower its water content and so thicken it and enhance its flavor.
The final decision is yours: reduce the sauce after cooking to get a slightly thicker silky sauce, or coat your meat in flour before browning and then add liquid to provide some body and thickening.
There are a few other choices in the thickening situation. Adding a slurry of flour (or corn starch, arrowroot, potato starch, etc.) and cold water (or broth) to the sauce and then boiling for a few seconds will thicken a sauce, however some experienced cooks may consider it cheating.
Boiling causes the starches to expand up and cook out the flavor of “raw starch,” thickening your sauce.
Another choice is to combine equal parts butter and flour to make a paste, then stir it into the simmering sauce. This enriches and thickens a sauce and is known as a beurre manie.
I won’t feel awful about “cheating” using one of these thickening alternatives if my goal is to put a supper on the table on a weeknight.
Do You Flour Your Meat, Chicken, Fish, or Vegetables Before Browning? If So, Why? I Have A Question For You.
Should I flour-coat the steak before slow cooking it?
The beauty of slow cooking is that there is essentially no prep work required; all you have to do is throw everything into the crock, press a button, go for a walk, and come back to a delicious, comforting supper.
It’s not always necessary to brown or caramelize beef before adding it to a slow cooker, but doing so yields the tastiest, fullest-flavored food, according to the expert. The finished meal will have a rich flavor and color thanks to the caramelized surface of the meat. Melvin also suggests seasoning the flour to coat the meat with before browning it. The flour will give the food body and help the sauce, which forms while the ingredients cook slowly, to become thicker. To ensure that the meat browns evenly and does not steam, make sure to brown it in stages and avoid cramming the pan.
Browning the meat in advance makes a significant difference when cooking a slow-cooked meal that requires for ground beef, such as chili, beef stew, or meat sauce. Prior to adding the ground meat and the other ingredients to the slow cooker, the meat should always be browned in a skillet and drained. This will reduce the quantity of fat in the finished meal and stop it from sticking together while cooking.
Why do you flour-dredge stew meat?
Dredging is the process of covering something in flour and then browning it, usually meat.
Dredging is done to provide meat a more appetizing brown color and to produce flavorful, caramelized  flour particles in the pan that may be utilized to deglaze the pan and produce a thick sauce. It’s a fallacy that it seals the meat’s surface, preventing the juices from escaping. This can only be accomplished by drenching the meat in a gallon of varnish.
Dredging is the process of coating meat—such as beef, chicken, turkey, veal, or pork—with flour before browning it in a skillet. Fish and seafood are also susceptible to it.
Dry the meat between paper towels a little before dredging it. When it comes to that portion, this will help it brown more rapidly and prevent large clumps of flour from sticking in different places. Just a thin layer of flour will do.
White wheat flour is typically used, but alternative ingredients, including breadcrumbs or cornmeal, are also acceptable. The flavor of whole wheat flour is excellent. It doesn’t matter what the coating is; it can be seasoned first or not. You can mix the flour with the meat and place it in a plastic bag, a paper bag, or a plastic container with a cover to coat it. The meat may also be simply rolled in the flour, pushing it into the meat, or it may be placed on a dish with the flour already on it.
Shake off any extra flour after coating the meat since it can burn. The meat is then quickly browned.
 Neither the caramelized bits nor the process of caramelization produce the caramelized bits. The Maillard Reaction causes them to happen.
Why is meat sealed before being cooked slowly?
While many are adamantly opposed to browning meat before slow cooking it, some are passionate supporters of the practice.
However, let’s examine the arguments on both sides of the issue so that you can choose what YOU want to do.
Motives for brown:
- more rapid cooking Pre-browned beef means that the total recipe won’t require as much cooking time.
- Extra moisture can be sealed in by sealing the meat’s surface.
- enhanced flavor
- The meat’s surface caramelizes and turns a delicious shade of brown during browning, adding flavor to the completed dish that might otherwise be lacking. The depth of these flavors in your recipe can also be increased by browning with herbs or spices.
- Having a steak ‘appear’ browned occasionally adds to the presentation of the finished dish even though there is no change in taste. When mixed with sauces and other ingredients, the release of meat juices from open flesh can occasionally alter the appearance of your dish and make it nearly appear as though cream-based sauces have split when they have not.
- Remove fat
- A wonderful approach to remove some of the fat from your finished dish is to brown meat before cooking and then discard the liquids created. Particularly when browning mince, ground meat, etc. and dumping the resulting liquid fat.
- Meat that has been dredged in flour, browned, and then cooked slowly will thicken the sauce in the finished dish.
if you want to brown, some notes: Make use of a sturdy cast-iron skillet. They retain heat more effectively, and if you take good care of them, they will last a lifetime. In a month, the inexpensive ones will be in the trash. Be tolerant. Don’t add the meat until the pan is really hot. This is because once you add large pieces of meat to the pan, the heat is turned off. You should even consider initially almost overheating it. Make sure the pan has enough oil. Without enough oil, you will burn the meat rather than caramelize it. You’re basically just cooking the meat because when the pan isn’t hot enough, the flesh releases water. (Reference: Knorr.co.uk)
Objections to browning
- Convenience This has to be the main justification. The simplicity of adding a variety of ingredients to the bowl, turning on the appliance, and walking away is what draws many of us to slow cooking. This convenience is diminished if one must take additional pre-browning steps.
- Time FactorWhile pre-browning can save you time, many slow cookers rely on the prolonged slow cooking period to make it work for them, such as while they are working all day. Browning increases cooking time, which can work against many slow cookers.
- Lower Mess
- The original ceramic bowl slow cookers do not have the option to sear in the same bowl as you slow cook, whereas many contemporary slow cookers do. Therefore, browning a dish requires cleaning a fry pan or other similar pan. Let’s face it, nobody like doing additional dishes. Not me!
- No Choice
- When they don’t have access to burners or ovens, many of our members use slow cookers. They might not have the option to brown their meats in this situation, but it doesn’t mean they can’t slow cook a recipe that calls for it.
Personally, I brown really infrequently. I only slow cook about 5% of the time, and even then, it’s usually just for recipes that ask for flouring and browning thin strips of meat first.
You may wish to just add your ingredients, set the recipe, and forget about it on some days or for some recipes.
But maybe today we have provided you with enough details to make an informed decision.
What effect does adding flour to meat have?
- Duration: ten minutes
- 3 out of 10
It’s a relatively straightforward concept to sprinkle flour on meat before browning it in a hot pan: Starch found in flour will soon caramelize and provide food with richer color and flavor. This method is most frequently employed in stews, where flour is added to the cooking liquid to thicken it. This method only requires a heated pan, some flour, and a drop or two of oil. Before placing the meat in the pan, sprinkle it with flour, and then turn it over to let it brown on all sides.
This technique appears to be a winner, but the short ribs were sloppy and unevenly coated with flour, resulting in pockets of flour that didn’t truly brown and leaving a thick sludge in the bottom of the pan. Use this technique while making stews, when the flour can assist the sauce thicken and the meat is sliced into bite-sized pieces.
For a beef stew, should I flour the beef?
It’s stew time! We’ve been cooking warm, comforting meals like chili, posole, and chicken stew for dinner to take advantage of the chilly weather. But beef stew is the stew that rules them all. Even though it’s a standard in most homes, this hearty, fatty supper can occasionally fall short. It can be overly thin or thick, the meat might be flavorless or dry and stringy, and the vegetables can be overcooked or undercooked. Although it’s challenging to get the right balance, you should be able to prepare this traditional cold-weather dish with ease. Alison Roman, a senior associate food editor, recommended avoiding the seven deadly sins when we asked her for tips on how to make the greatest batch of stew humanly possible. On that first truly chilly night, you’ll be thankful as you tuck into your tasty stew with soft beef morsels.
Use any old piece of beef The worst error you could possibly make when making beef stew is using the incorrect cut of beef. Even beef pieces that are suitable for braising, like sirloin, have been used, but they just didn’t break down in a stew the same way. Instead of beef that is meltingly soft, you are left with bits of tight, dry meat. The only cut you ought to apply? Chuck. Period.
Throw your raw beef in the pot. Even though we’ve said it a million times before, a good sear is what gives food its taste. Your stew will have a deep, rich flavor if you scrape out those caramelized brown bits from the bottom of your pot. Another crucial piece of advice is to cook your beef chunks in batches so that each one has enough time to brown thoroughly. If not, they will steam and become lumpy and gray. Yuck.
Thicken to your heart’s content.Actually, I beg you not to. It’s not necessary to make beef stew extremely thick. Since you’ll probably be using potatoes, your stew will naturally become thicker as a result of their starch. You shouldn’t add a roux, flour, or cornstarch because it’s not a gravy. However, you can coat your beef in flour or cornstarch before searing it if you prefer your stew to be on the thicker side. The leftover pieces will thicken your stew and give it a richer flavor.
All of your ingredients should be added at once. We add the vegetables when there are around 45 minutes remaining in the cooking process since we want a little bite to our vegetables. They won’t disintegrate and turn mushy in this way. However, they must be rather soft; otherwise, the stew will be a little more soupy. Don’t limit yourself to steak, carrots, and potatoes either. Experiment with vegetables like fennel and squash and go crazy with robust herbs like rosemary and thyme. Additionally, don’t be hesitant to add some Indian, Thai, or Moroccan flavors to your dishes by using spices. Just be sure to reserve delicate herbs like tarragon, chives, and parsley for very last—those are the lively notes that will give your stew more life.
Leave the fat alone. Richness is desired in your stew, but not to the point where it becomes a stomach bomb. Before serving, skim the top of your stew and trim off as much fat as you can. Skip this step if you’re making your stew in advance. The fat on top will firm when chilled, making it simple to remove. And take care: If you make your stew too thick, skimming will be difficult.
Cook up a storm until the cows come home. A beef stew can indeed be overcooked. Even if the concept of a stew simmering all day on the stove sounds appealing, too much time will result in dried beef and mushy vegetables. The ideal amount of time depends on how much stew you’re really cooking, but it’s around 23 hours.
Serve it on its own (del). Come on, you’re going to need some crusty bread to mop up the leftovers in the dish.