Roux () is flour and fat cooked together and used to thicken sauces. Roux is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight. The flour is added to the melted fat or oil on the stove top, blended until smooth, and cooked to the desired level of brownness. A roux can be white, blond (darker) or brown. Butter, bacon drippings or lard are commonly used fats. Roux is used as a thickening agent for gravy, sauces, soups and stews. It provides the base for a dish, and other ingredients are added after the roux is complete. Water roux is a roux which bakers use to thicken doughs and allow the bread to become softer, fluffier, moister, and retain its fresh baked qualities for a longer period of time by giving the dough greater strength to retain much higher quantities of water than what would otherwise be achievable. Water roux is especially useful for flours which contain relatively low amounts of protein (rye flour and other whole wheat flours) as the starch chains formed in the water roux replace the lack of gluten formation. Water rouxs are ancient and often used by artisan bakers. A variety of bakers percentages are used; however, commonly about 5-10% of the flour in a bread recipe is boiled in about 4-6 times the amount of water and is cooled and introduced to the remaining dough ingredients, or, alternatively, a portion of boiling water is introduced to an equal portion of flour and is cooled and introduced to the rest of the dough ingredients. Water rouxs can use other water based liquids (milk, milk substitutes, alcohols, vinegars, etc) to impart their unique characteristics to the bread in addition to the characteristics of the water roux.