Béchamel sauce or white sauce is a basic ingredient in many French and Italian recipes. It’s not difficult to make, and there is an easy trick that guarantees that you béchamel sauce will always be smooth, without any lumps.
Béchamel Sauce Recipe
- Melt your butter in a saucepan over medium heat
- Make a light rough, mixing in the flour and browning it for 2-3 minutes. What you want is a very light, golden-yellow color. Stir it frequently to prevent from burning.
- And here is the trick of making a smooth béchamel sauce: Use very hot milk, just below its boiling point. Pour it onto the rough at once, and whisk it fast.
- Cook your béchamel sauce over very low heat, whisking it regularly for a few minutes. It’s ready when it thickens and covers the back of a wooden spoon.
- If by any reason you find that your béchamel became lumpy, just use an immersion blender and it’ll smooth it out in no time.
- Season with salt and grated nutmeg.
Tip: You should start heating your milk right before you start making your béchamel.
Cooking time depends on the temperature of your milk. If you use hot milk, as I advise, it should only take 1-2 minutes for your béchamel to be fully cooked. If you use cold milk, add it in very small batches, whisking constantly, and then you’ll need 8-10 minutes to cook it.
Uses of Béchamel Sauce
Béchamel sauce is one of the 4 (or 5) mother sauces or main sauces in french cuisine. You can make a large variety of sauces based on béchamel, like cheese sauce (aka Mornay sauce) adding grated cheese, mustard sauce adding mustard and mustard seeds. Nantua sauce is béchamel sauce with cream, crayfish butter and crayfish tail, just to name few.
Though béchamel is a classic French sauce, when cooking Italian, it becomes a key ingredient of the classic lasagne bolognese, and many other lasagne and pasta dishes. Béchamel sauce can also be used in a large variety of international recipes, e.g. my favorite Hungarian layered potatoes.
One of my favorite and super-easy dishes is prepared by blanching broccoli or cauliflower, putting them on a casserole and covering with garlic-flavoured, thick bésamel and grated cheese. Put the dish in a 350 °F (180 °C) oven for 20-25 minutes, and you have a very tasty and healthy, simple vegetarian dish.
How To Store Béchamel Sauce
To store your béchamel sauce, make sure to cover it wit plastic wrap in a way that it touches the surface of your sauce completely. This is to prevent forming a hard upper layer.
You can store it in the fridge for several days.