Mother Sauces – Béchamel

This is part one of a series called “Mother Sauces”. The first one I want to write about is Béchamel.

A Béchamel is the classic white sauce, named after its inventor, Louis XIV’s steward Louis de Béchamel. The king of all sauces, it is often referred to as a cream sauce because of its appearance and is probably used most frequently in all types of dishes. Made by stirring milk into a butter-flour roux, the thickness of the sauce depends on the proportion of flour and butter to milk. The proportions for a thin sauce would be 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour per 1 cup of milk; a medium sauce would use 2 tablespoons each of butter and flour; a thick sauce, 3 tablespoons each.

One of the “mother” sauces, this most basic sauce in cooking is based on a roux, which is equal volumes of butter and flour. To make the sauce, a liquid (milk, cream, or stock) is added and, in just a few minutes, the liquid thickens up nicely. Béchamel is used most commonly in applications like Alfredo Sauce and to make creamy Mac and Cheese.

INGREDIENTS

Thin Sauce

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, cream, or stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Medium Sauce

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, cream, or stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Thick Sauce

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, cream, or stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Note: if you undercook the roux, it will make your sauce taste like raw flour – not pleasant!”

Stir in milk or other liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 1 cup sauce

Bonus: For a great cheese sauce – Stir in 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard with the flour. Once sauce is made, remove from heat and stir in 1/2 to 1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, stirring until melted.

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12 thoughts on “Mother Sauces – Béchamel

  1. I’m gonna have to practice this. The last time I tried to make alfredo sauce, it was pretty nasty. I didn’t do a good job with the roux. x.x Thanks for sharing! 😀

  2. Pingback: Bechamel Sauce ! | Shazz Hamid

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