Thursday, April 5, 2007

Béchamel Sauce - Let’s Turn This “Mother” Out!

This is the sauce I mentioned in the Broccoli post yesterday, and no, I hadn’t posted it. So here you go. This is one of the five “Mother Sauces.” In traditional culinary training, students first master these mother sauces and then use them to create literally hundreds of variations. Béchamel is the basic “white sauce” and is used in many popular dishes. I’ll admit, this is not the most thrilling lesson ever, but it is an important one as far as building a solid foundation of classic culinary skills.

As far as product recommendations go, make sure you have a decent sauce pan to make this in. Don’t use cheap pans, since they have very thin bottoms and the sauce will scorch. In the clip, I used this 4-qt. Stainless Sauce Pan, and it should work for you too. Also, a Wire Whisk is a must, but you probably have one of those already. Lastly, you’re going to see me grate fresh nutmeg into the sauce. If you’ve never done this, you’ve never really tasted nutmeg! The ground stuff in the grocery stores goes stale very quickly and really loses its flavor.

Ingredients:
1 quart milk
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup flour
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
4 springs fresh thyme

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I made this a while ago when you posted the Crouque Monsouir demo (They were amazing!) and I used it all at once. My question is how long this sauce keeps in the fridge?

Thanks,
Clay

BTW Keep up the Great Work!!!

Chef John said...

it will keep for at least 2-3 days.

QUINTESSENTIAL C U I S I N E© said...

HAY - ISN'T THAT GREAT, BUT CAN YOU USE THE SAME RECIPE FOR A CHEESE SOUFFLE ... ONLY CHANGE THE INGREDIENTS AND DON'T REFRIGERATE IT CAUSE THEY WON'T HAVE ANY LEFT (IF IT'S A CHEESE SOUFFLE)

GET IT?

WORD ON THE STREET IS YOU REALLY DON'T KNOW HOW TO MAKE A CHEESE SOUFFLE -- YOU GONNA STAND FOR THAT?

Chef John said...

You do realize I can delete any comments I want. Especially ones from souffle crazed cyber stalkers!! PATIENCE will be rewarded.

Max said...

Would you be able to freeze this sauce to save for later use? And if so how long would it last?

Chef John said...

You can freeze, but no idea of the max time.

Nancy said...

I have lost hours and hours on your blog site! I love you! You are so talented and belong on the Food Network with your own show!
I am of course your newest follower (aka stalker). You are so easy to listen to and your videos are just wonderful! Thank you so much!
Nancy
funwithnancy.blogspot.com

PrincessTx said...

I was wondering if I wanted to add mushrooms to make a sort of Alfredo sauce, what step would I add it in. And is this the way to make an Alfredo sauce? I hate the ones that come premade in the store.

Gloria said...

Chef John,

I absolutely love you! I made this beschmel sauce recipe as well as your bolognese sauce recipe today for a New Years Eve Lasagna Bolognese. Your lessons turn me into an amazing cook. My beschamel sauce turned out perfectly even though I have never made one before. You're a witty and effective teacher. Thank you. P.S. I also made your buffalo chicken dip, spinach and artichoke dip, and deviled eggs over the holidays and your eggplant parmesan....delicious, many thanks. P.P.S. I live in Toronto and used to live in Elmira, NY and love the NY flavours you bring to light. Next recipe I try will be your chicken riggies...

Peter Sices said...

Hi Chef,
I am learning about the mother sauces and want to understand in great detail. So, as you mentioned, often cooks will recommend heated milk for the roux. What is the rationale behind that thinking? And why do others often specify "clarified" butter. Does that change the needed temp of the milk?

thanks in advance for your time!

Chef John said...

Can't give you the science, but it's ALWAYS cold liquid into hot roux! This way you never get lumps. I have no idea why people still do that. Also, not sure about "clarified" butter. Bottomline, use cold milk!