Can flour substitute cornstarch in cheese fondue?

Hi All, we planned the classic cheese foundue for the dinner with friends tonight and just realized we ran out of cornstarch. Has anyone tried making cheese fondue with flour? I wonder what your experiences are. And, by the way we are in the mountains, with no shops available, so flour is really the only option...



QueenSashy September 3, 2012
Thanks all for the help. We did it with flour and it was excellent. As ChefOno suggested, used about 30% more than what was specified in the recipe, and sprinkled the cheese with it. When it melted completely, had to add about half a spoon more as a thickener, and kept on the stove for another 10min. No raw flour taste whatsoever.
SeaJambon September 3, 2012
Okay - so I was forced to go and do some research. Interestingly, in about half the fondue recipes I reviewed, flour was specified rather than cornstarch, and at least one said flour or cornstarch with the latter if wanting to be gluten-free (which totally makes sense to me -- classic fondue is, after all, a VERY old Swiss creation and I doubt if cornstarch was readily at hand -- ever). So, flour with no reservations. And, also interestingly, some tossed the flour with the cheese (anti-caking as Chef Ono indicates) but some clearly reserved it as a thickener. Ultimately, I didn't find a roux concept anywhere in any of the recipes and -- based on the frequency with which flour is the named ingredient (rather than cornstarch), I'd say risk of a raw flour taste (hence need/desire to precook the flour) is slim to none.
QueenSashy September 3, 2012
SeaJambon, special thanks for the research!
Greenstuff September 2, 2012

I have used flour in cheese fondues a lot, with no problems or floury taste. I just toss the cut up cheese with a little flour. Have a festive evening!
ChefOno September 2, 2012

Umm, the starch isn't about thickening, it serves as an anti-clumping agent. Flour will work, the problem is it can taste like, well, raw flour. Given the circumstances, I'd use it. And I'd use 20% more than cornstarch to make up for the lower starch content.

sdebrango September 2, 2012
Thats good to know, my only foray into fondue was chocolate. Good to know!
SeaJambon September 2, 2012
Yes, but... if making a bechamel first (like sdebrango suggested) that would also cook the flour so there wouldn't be a raw flour taste.

Otherwise, I totally agree with your comments -- just don't think the risk of raw flour is as high as you might otherwise think. And, QueenSashy, you can avoid the "raw" flour taste simply by cooking first with a little butter (i.e., make a roux).
ChefOno September 2, 2012

Yes, but… there is no roux in fondue. The technique involves melting grated cheese into hot wine.

sdebrango September 2, 2012
Are you making a bechamel that you will be adding the cheese to? If so I don't see that using flour instead of cornstarch would make any difference. I used a fondue years ago and if I remember correctly it's gently heated and if you use the correct amount of flour you will not end up with a cheese sauce that is too thick. I could be wrong am not a fondue expert but IMHO flour would be just fine since both are thickening agents.
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