As a respectable Southern woman, I pride myself on being able to make an excellent gravy. It’s a culinary flex, one I am thrilled to flaunt at the dinner table, to transform the humble trio of pan drippings, flour, and milk or broth into a rich, creamy sauce that pairs well with everything from roasted chicken to beautifully seared steak. But my journey to gravy perfection has not been without its challenges, thanks in large part to the ugly lumps of flour that tend to form in a poorly whisked gravy.
Enter Wondra. Made by Gold Medal Flour and sold in a distinctive blue canister, this flour is specifically designed for stirring into sauces and gravies, it’s milled more finely than the typical all-purpose flour that’s tucked away inside your pantry, which means that it mixes beautifully into even the thickest gravies. You use it just like other flour in gravy, stirring it together with butter or oil until that pasty “flour” flavor is cooked away and the combination smells irresistibly nutty, then adding liquid until the combination is perfectly thick and creamy.
The brand describes this flour as the “unsung hero” of the kitchen, and they’re not joking — nor is it, admittedly, much of a secret: If you use Wondra to make gravy, you almost have to try to screw it up. Even if you just dump a pile of Wondra into buttered broth and stir, you’ll probably come out with a pretty decent gravy. Thanks to its light, silky texture, this flour is also seriously forgiving. If you don’t stir in quite enough at the beginning, it’s easy enough to add some later to bulk up your sauce. If you accidentally use too much, meaning that your gravy is too thick or pasty, you can always add more liquid without having to stir like a madman to make sure that everything is well-incorporated. It’s especially great when you’re building a roux or sauce around aromatics like chopped celery and onion, whose nooks and crannies can trap stray bits of flour and produce lumps.
Even though I typically find kitchen unitaskers to be annoying, even an edible one, I always keep Wondra around for the sole purpose of making gravy. Because it’s sold in a slim canister instead of those unwieldy paper sacks, it’s easy to keep in the cabinet and maneuver around the stove without getting little piles of flour all over the place, thanks to a lid that resembles the top of a giant salt shaker. And because you’ll only need a couple of tablespoons for even a large pot of gravy, it sticks around in the pantry forever even if you are a proud gravy enthusiast.
It’s especially great when you’re building a roux or sauce around aromatics like chopped celery and onion, whose nooks and crannies can trap stray bits of flour and produce lumps. According to the brand, Wondra is also great for making super-light pie crusts and breading fried foods like chicken and fish, which makes total sense considering how it performs in gravies and sauces. It’s also used just like any other type of flour in gravy, so you don’t have to adjust your method or learn how to use a new ingredient after buying it — you just get better gravy.