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January 29, 2016

Basic White Sauce (Béchamel)

A béchamel sauce is one of the five mother sauces. While there are only 3 basic ingredients it takes time to develop a smooth and silky sauce.

This sauce is the basis for many other sauces including
Morney sauce: Gruyere and Parmesan cheese added at the end of the cooking process
Cheddar Cheese sauce: Cheddar cheese also added at the end of the cooking process
Soubise Sauce: addition of pureed cooked onions
Nantua Sauce- addition of crayfish
Mustard Sauce- addition of mustard

Makes 2 cups


2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ onion, peeled, and cut into 3 or 4 pieces
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


Place milk, onion and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and heat to a simmer. Lower the heat so that the milk just stays warm.

Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it becomes frothy. Take care not to let the butter turn brown, though — that'll affect the flavor.

With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter, giving a pale-yellow-colored paste. This paste is called a roux. Heat the roux for another few minutes or so, until it has turned a light blond color. Don't let it get too dark.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the warm milk to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it's free of lumps.

Simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn't scorch at the bottom of the pan. Use a ladle to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Remove the onion and bay leaf.

Cooking Wiser
The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety. If it's too thick, whisk in a bit more milk until it's just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat.

For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a sieve.

If not using right away place a piece of wax paper over the top to keep a film from developing on top.Keep the sauce covered until you're ready to use it.

Posted by terri at January 29, 2016 04:06 AM