Basic White Sauce (Béchamel)

For Alberta Co-op Basics Week day 3, I’m sharing a recipe for a White Sauce done 3 ways. This is the definition of a kitchen basic, serving as a foundation for numerous recipes. Adding in cheeses, herbs and spices can transform it into an endless number of sauces and gravies, limited only by imagination! Every cook needs a recipe like this in their arsenal.

 

Basic White Sauce
Print Recipe
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Basic White Sauce
Print Recipe
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Thin White Sauce
Medium White Sauce
Thick White Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour and cook until the mixture, called a roux, begins to thicken and bubble, but not brown.
  2. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Add salt & pepper, lower the heat, and cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and serve.
Recipe Notes
  • The milk should be warm, not hot. Heat over low until almost bubbling. Do not boil.
  • To prevent a film from forming on  the finished sauce, pour a very thin layer of milk over the top after removing from heat. Stir in before serving.
  • For a more authentic Béchamel, add a pinch of nutmeg and a bay leaf along with the salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving.
  • To make a cheese sauce , add 1/2C grated cheese to the finished Medium White Sauce and stir well. Mix with cooked macaroni or cauliflower and bake at 350-400° for 30 minutes, and you've got a quick and easy meal.
  • Squeeze the cloves of 1 head Roasted Garlic into the finished sauce for a decedent topping for simple steamed vegetables. Add a few cups chicken or vegetable stock and you have an elegant Roasted Garlic Soup.
  • Never buy "Cream of _____" soup again! Use this as the base to make your own.

How do you use Basic White Sauce? Let us know in the comment section below!

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