A bechamel sauce, or white sauce, is the base to a fair number of delectable creamy dishes and once mastered, there is no stopping you! Add freshly grated cheese and turn your bechamel sauce into a mornay sauce, which can be used in a homemade macaroni and cheese or drizzle on top of broccoli for a kid friendly parent approved side dish.
Learning how to make a bechamel sauce was one of my greatest culinary feats.
At first I was so intimidated. While frantically stirring and juggling the flour, the pan, the whisk, the… I felt as if I either needed a third arm or for the whole process to slow down. To top it off, the recipes were all so precise, which can be challenging when you are a cook and not a baker. What is a measuring cup?
But with a little bit of practice, I mastered my own rhythm and you can too – I promise it is not that hard! Below I will share with you a few of my secrets on how to make a perfect bechamel sauce every time.
I love making and eating this sauce almost as much as I love saying it. “BEH shah mell” Cooking is about feeding the body and the soul. It has to be fun.
Total Time: ~15 minutes Yield: 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- A dash of nutmeg
- 1 tsp of mustard powder
- 1 tsp of horseradish
- 1 cup of milk at room temperature
- Salt and pepper to taste
Required Cooking Tools: 1 medium sauce pan, a whisk, a fine mesh colander
As you play around with the methods and the recipe you may find you prefer using different tools.
- To make a bechamel sauce, you begin by making a roux. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- While the butter is melting, over a bowl to minimize mess, place one tablespoon of flour into the fine mesh colander. You will lose some to the bowl, but that is okay.
- Once the butter is melted, bring the colander to the pan and tap it a few times – try and cover the bottom of the pan in a thin layer of flour. This method evenly distributes the flour and breaks apart clumps.
- Return the colander back in the bowl and whisk the flour and butter together . Repeat this until there is no more flour in the colander and the flour butter mixture in the pan has created a solid mass. If you need to add more or less flour.
- Let the roux toast for a minute or until golden brown. Now it is time to make the bechamel sauce.
- Add two tablespoons of milk to the pan and whisk. The flour will initially absorb the milk and do the opposite of what you are expecting – that is okay. Add another two tablespoons and whisk again.
- You should begin to see the roux thinning. Continue to do this until the roux has been dissolved into the milk. Now you can add the rest of the milk.
- Let it simmer for a minute, stir.
- Add in the mustard powder, horseradish, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
- If you want to make a mornay, or cheese sauce, now is when you can add the cheese. Cook until cheese is melted. Enjoy!