Jul 6, 2011

Bechamel sauce - White Sauce

Another week, another sauce. So I am down to the last three of the mother sauces and as the wonderful Mr.B is working on a huge project I could not make my Espagnole as planned. But next week I promise its coming as its Mr.B's favorite. Instead I decided to make a decadent treat for myself, cauliflower cheese using the delightfully opulent Béchamel sauce. I had a glut of cauliflowers this year so my freezer is full to capacity, plus I need the room for more of my concoctions!


Having tried and tested Béchamel sauces from packets and used the supposed fresh variety found in the chilled section what always annoys me is the inflated price and the lack of any real flavor of these so called cheats sauces. They are aptly named as they cheat you out of what a good Béchamel sauce is all about FLAVOR! Not being able to stand another bland tasteless sauce I decided many years ago to make my own and I have never looked back. I have even given the recipe to people in supermarkets to save their tastebuds! Now many people think sauce making is hard but with a little practice and sense of humor anyone can make a knockout sauce. The most important element of sauce making is to learn how to make the dreaded roux. But once you learn to make a roux you can pretty much make any sauce your heart desires and some that have not been thought of yet! 

Béchamel sometime refered to as a white sauce is the basic version  which can be used on its own or as a base for other flavor combinations such as cheese for a Mornay sauce, Dijon for a mustard sauce and sweated onions for a Soubise sauce. But in its basic form it is mainly used in Italian cuisine especially in my favorite lasagna. To make the Béchamel sauce you will first need to know how to make a roux. A roux is made up of equal parts clarified butter and flour heated to a paste and loosened with milk to achieve the desired consistency.  

Making the roux depends largely on which method you choose. I find this one the easiest and the one with which you achieve the smoothest texture. Flour is folded into melted butter over a medium heat into a thick smooth paste and until all the flour has cooked out. Depending on the amount of flour this can take anywhere from 1-3 min's. Then cold milk is added very slowly to the roux, mixing first with a spatula incorporating all of the milk before adding more. This is very important, if you decide to make a hot roux the milk added must be cold. Never add hot to hot or you will achieve the lumpiest Béchamel sauce ever created. Trust me i have tried it and it doesn't work! Eventually you will reach a point where the roux becomes loose and you can use a whisk to incorporate the last of the milk. 

Depending on what you want to use your Béchamel sauce you can alter the amount of milk added to make a looser or thicker sauce. Or add different herbs and spices to create different sauces. The recipes here are for Lasagna and Mornay sauce. Bon appetit!


Basic Béchamel Sauce: 
                                 
2oz All Purpose Flour                                                                                       
2oz Butter
600ml Full Fat Milk
Sea Salt and White Pepper

Mornay Sauce:

2oz All Purpose Flour                                                                                       
2oz Butter
400ml Full Fat Milk
100g Cheddar Cheese
1 Tbsp Cream Cheese
Sea Salt and White Pepper

Firstly prepare the roux. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot, ensure the butter does not scorch. To the melted butter add the flour and using a spatula mix until all the flour is incorporated into the butter. It should resemble a ball of dough which will turn to a thick smooth paste. With constant mixing, on a medium heat cook out the flour for 1-2 min's to remove any taste of uncooked flour. This can give your sauce a bitter unpleasant taste.

To the roux add the cold milk a little at a time and ensure the milk is fully incorporated before adding more. When the sauce becomes a little loose you can switch from spatula to whisk. At this point incorporate any additional milk, salt and pepper for the basic Béchamel sauce. Allow to cook out for 10 min's with stirring for a thicker sauce.

For the Mornay sauce, prepare the basic Béchamel sauce, after all milk has been incorporated add the grated cheese and allow to melt into sauce with whisking. Finally for a creamier more indulgent sauce whisk in a little cream cheese. Season to taste and enjoy!


7 comments:

  1. I`ve never done this but now I am dying to try it. You did a great job.

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  2. Bechamel sauce is one of my favorites... when I was little, I would only eat fish if my mom added bechamel to them. :)) Weirdo! :)

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  3. DeeBee@ThymeandPatienceJuly 7, 2011 at 11:28 PM

    @Kate Thats not as weird as you think! My grandmother used to make homemade fish fingers and used bechamel instead of egg to stick the breadcrumbs! I still do it too.. haha we must be two weirdos so!!

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  4. I have to admit that I have never done the bechamel sauce. I am always cheating with my lasagna and don't add it at all ;). It looks great on your pictures and I will try it next time.

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  5. This is comfort food at its best! Great post!

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  6. Great post. I dont think people realize how often we use those two sauces, or something very similar. Look at mac and cheese. I dont mean the box stuff. Biscuit and gravy, another southern favorite is also made with what we call a white sauce.

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  7. I heard them talking about this on the food network! thanks for the Bechamel sauce - White Sauce recipe!

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