“Never Not Stirring”
As the base for many sauces I figured it would be good to have this separate from my next recipe to have as a reference point. Hope you enjoy this tutorial to make béchamel sauce.
The first part of a béchamel is to make a ‘roux’. This is a thickening agent made from mixing melted butter and flour over heat until the mix comes away from the sides of the pan.
When cooking the roux it is important to keep it moving to ensure even cooking, preventing it from discolouring which would translate into your sauce.
There are three types of roux; white, blonde and brown.
To make a béchamel we need a white roux which is made by adding milk to the roux.
The milk is added slowly to allow the sauce to become smooth and glossy and is much easier to handle in stages. Although not necessary, the goal is to cook out that flour taste so adding the liquid hot will speed up that cooking process.
As milk is added it turns almost dough like with the first ladle of milk but soon turns to a similar consistency to mash potatoes before eventually transforming into a smooth sauce. This is then passed through a sieve, ready to be incorporated into your recipe.
Not sure if it’s optional but we were told to add a ‘cloute’ which is an onion studded with cloves and a bay leaf. In this instance I only used cloves but I would say that the roux’s only flavour comes from butter and flour by default so adding in herbs and spices can’t go wrong.
The only other thing to note is storage if you don’t intend to use it right away. It should be covered and refrigerated but will need reheating as it will turn fairly solid.
Hopefully you’ll have a nice smooth béchamel that can be used in various recipes such as lasagnes and mornay sauces.
Tune in next time to see what mine will be used in!
- 100g butter
- 150g plain flour
- 1/2 onion
- 10 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1.5l milk
- Melt the butter in a saucepan.
- Add the plain flour and mix well.
- Lower the temperature and gently cook out the roux without colouring.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, pierce the cloves through the bay leaf into the onion half and place into a saucepan with the milk. Heat up the saucepan.
- Working in stages, slowly incorporate the milk into the roux, stirring continuously until the mix is smooth.
- Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Pass through a sieve.
- Cover with parchment paper until required.