When I was a kid growing up we knew white gravy as cream gravy. I ask for cream gravy in a restaurant now and they look at me like I’m crazy and don’t know what I’m talking about. I think it has something to do with being raised by my single parent dad who was old enough to be my grandfather when I was born (he was 42). He lived on a farm as a young man raising his first family (in the 1930’s) and I think back then they called it cream gravy because they used fresh milk straight out of the cow.
I’ve experimented with different types of milk and the type of milk you use does indeed make a difference flavor wise. It also makes a difference calorie wise too. My late husband and I preferred our white gravy made with half and half. It’s just richer tasting than gravy made with whole or any other reduced fat milk. I never tried to make it with cream, we like gravy but at $4 a half-pint for cream we just weren’t willing to try it. Also, half and half gives it a richer taste and smoother texture.
A good rule of thumb for making white gravy is for every cup of liquid you use 1 tablespoons of flour and 1 tablespoon of oil. If you like your gravy thicker increase your flour slightly, if you like your gravy thinner increase you milk slightly. This is the recipe for how we preferred our gravy, some people like it on the thin side but we preferred a gravy that was “gonna stick to your ribs”.
Some so called experts say that you have to use a whisk to keep gravy from forming lumps. I’ve never used a whisk to make gravy, I was taught to use a tablespoon and to make sure that I kept stirring. The only time my gravy comes out lumpy is if I have to walk off from stirring it while I’m cooking it. So, I say just use what you are comfortable using. Hubby used a fork, his mother used a slotted spoon. There isn’t one way that is absolutely better than the other. What is best is whatever works for you.
2 cups half and half
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil
Salt to taste
Measure oil into cold skillet (sauce pans can be used but take longer due to the increased depth). Add flour and stir until completely dissolved (flour not being completely dissolved can cause lumps), add salt. You can add a tab bit more oil if you need to do so to dissolve your flour, just go easy as you do it because a little drip goes a long ways. Pour milk into flour/oil mixture and place skillet onto stove burner. Cook over medium heat making sure you continue to stir until gravy boils into bubbles that you can’t stir out. Failure to constantly stir will cause lumps. Remove from heat and pour up into serving bowl and serve. Adding pepper after your gravy is done cooking helps from turning the gravy an off white or grayish color. Gravy will thicken upon standing so you might want to take that into consideration too.