Bechamel sauce is a French sauce made from butter, flour and milk. It is a versatile sauce that forms the base of most creamy sauces, gratins, macaroni and cheese, and many other dishes. Read on to learn how to prepare this delicious sauce.
- 2 butter spoons
- 4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups of milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
Method 1 of 4: List the Ingredients
Step 1. Measure the ingredients
The proportion of milk, flour and butter is very important in the bechamel sauce, since the texture and the taste depend only on these three ingredients. Make sure to use exact measurements: 2 tablespoons of butter, 4 1/2 tablespoons of flour, and 3 cups of milk.
- If you prefer a thicker sauce, reduce the amount of flour to ½ cup. For a more liquid sauce, add ½ cup of milk.
- If you use whole milk, you will get a thicker sauce than if you use low-fat or skim milk.
Step 2. Heat the milk
Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Place the pot on the burner over medium-low heat. Heat the milk completely, but don't bring it to a boil. Remove the milk from the heat when it is hot and cover it.
- If you prefer, you can heat the milk in the microwave. Heat it on low power for 1 minute. Check that it is hot; If it isn't, put it back in the microwave and heat it for 1 more minute.
- If the milk comes to a boil, it is best to start from scratch with new milk; otherwise, the taste may be affected.
Method 2 of 4: Prepare the roux
Step 1. Melt the butter
Place the butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Heat the butter until it is completely melted, but don't let it brown.
Step 2. Add the flour
Pour all the flour into the pot with the butter. Lumps will form at first. Stir with a wooden ladle to remove lumps and create a smooth texture.
Step 3. Cook the roux
Keep cooking the roux over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. As you cook, the roux will start to darken. It's ready when it reaches a golden hue, known as a “blonde” roux.
- Do not allow the roux to burn, as the flavor and color of the béchamel sauce will be affected.
- If necessary, lower the heat so the roux doesn't cook too quickly.
Method 3 of 4: Finish making the sauce
Step 1. Add a tablespoon of milk
Add it and stir quickly with a balloon whisk to moisten the roux. Make sure to distribute it well throughout the roux; the mixture should be slightly moistened, but not too runny.
Step 2. Add the remaining milk
Slowly pour the remaining milk into the pot with one hand while stirring with the other. Keep pouring and whisking until the milk is gone and keep stirring for a few more minutes.
Step 3. Season the bechamel sauce with the nutmeg
You can season the thick and creamy white sauce obtained with salt and pepper. Pour over steamed vegetables or rice and serve immediately, or use as a base for another dish.
Step 4. You are done
Method 4 of 4: Using the bechamel sauce
Step 1. Make mac and cheese
After making the bechamel sauce, add a few cups of cheddar cheese and beat until melted. Pour the cheese over cooked macaroni and transfer everything to a baking dish. Top with more grated cheese and bake until the top is bubbly and golden brown.
Step 2. Prepare potato gratin
Pour the bechamel sauce over thinly sliced potatoes and sliced chives, all in a baking dish. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake until the potatoes are crisp, and the sauce and cheese are bubbly.
Step 3. Make a cheese soufflé
Mix the bechamel sauce with beaten eggs, cheese and spices. Pour into a souffle plate and bake until the top is browned and puffed.