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What is it?
Béchamel sauce, otherwise known as ‘white sauce’ is a classic sauce that is considered one of the ‘mother sauces’ in cooking. By this we mean, once you have perfected it so many other variations can stem from it and result in hundreds of uses.
At it’s most basic level it is a seasoned milk-based sauce thicken with a paste made from flour and butter, which is called a roux.
What is it used for?
Béchamel sauce has many applications… at it’s most simplest level it creates a sauce to accompany dishes such as lasagna, moussaka, pies and a variety of pasta sauces. Additions of cheese, mustard, tomato or spices enable them to be applied to a host of other recipes, including soufflés, croque monsieur, pies or cauliflower cheese for example.
Some SORTED examples that use a Béchamel sauce are linked in below.
1) Peel a small onion and stud it by poking in 4-5 whole cloves.
2) Submerge the onion in a pan of 500ml of milk and heat gently to warm the milk and infuse. It doesn’t need to boil.
3) Melt a knob of butter (30g) in another saucepan over a gentle heat.
4) Spoon in 30g of plain flour and stir until it combines with the melted butter to form a paste, this is called a roux.
5) Cook over the heat, stirring continually for about a minute to begin to ‘cook out’ the roux.
6) Pour in a little of the milk and stir it in. This will thicken a lot at first.
7) Keep adding the milk a little at a time, making sure the last batch is fully incorporated and the sauce is lump-free and bubbling before adding in the next.
8) Allow the sauce to bubble very gently for at least 2-3 minutes once all the milk has been added to get rid of any raw flour taste.
9) Season the sauce with salt and pepper and use as required in your recipe.
*** Note: although the above method is traditional and correct you can also achieve a smooth and lump-free sauce without warming and infusing the milk separately and simply adding in the cold milk a little at a time.