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What Is A Béchamel Sauce

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Béchamel sauces are simple white sauces made from a roux of milk, butter and white flour. However, don't let the simplicity of the sauce lead you to underestimate the potential of the béchamel. In France, the béchamel sauce is considered to be one of the four basic sauces called "meres" or "mother sauces". These "mother sauces" are the basis
for all sauces in French cooking and béchamel is considered to be the mother sauce of all French cuisine. Mastering a béchamel sauce is the key to understanding how to construct sauces in French cooking.

Preparing
To make a béchamel sauce, you will need butter, flour, milk and salt. You will also want a heavy-bottomed saucepan in which to heat your béchamel. You start the béchamel by making a rue of flour and butter. Place your saucepan on your oven and turn the burner to medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the bottom of your saucepan and stir in your flour. Make sure you constantly stir the flour until it forms a paste. This paste is your rue. Let your rue boil, but make sure it does not brown. If your flour turns brown, it is burned and you will have to start over. Add your milk to the rue and continue to stir as it creates a thick, white sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and add a little salt. Make sure you constantly stir it while it's on the heat to prevent it from burning or clumping. If your sauce becomes too hot, the sauce will lose its texture and you will have to start over. You now have your béchamel sauce. It will take less than five minutes to make your béchamel sauce.

Mother Sauce
The béchamel sauce is the basis, or "mother", of a number of French sauces. The béchamel sauce is the basis for a Mornay sauce. A Mornay sauce is a French-style cheese sauce. To make a Mornay sauce, you simply add cheese to your béchamel sauce. To make a traditional Mornay sauce you will want to add Gruyere cheese to your béchamel. A Veloute sauce also uses the béchamel as its foundation.
To make a Veloute sauce, you replace the milk in béchamel sauce with chicken, vegetable or beef broth. The béchamel sauce is also the foundation for a basic cream sauce. To make a cream sauce, simply add heavy cream to the finished béchamel sauce. You may also need to add a little more flour to your cream sauce to maintain its thickness. By simply adding a few freshly chopped herbs to your béchamel, you can turn it into an herb sauce. The béchamel can also be transformed into a simple mustard sauce. Add a few dashes of mustard seed to your béchamel sauce and you will have a mustard sauce that is ready to be served.

Serving
The béchamel sauce goes best with white meat, such as chicken or fish. The béchamel can also be served over eggs and vegetables. Cabbage Mornay is a classic, French vegetable dish that uses béchamel sauce. Cabbage Mornay is cabbage baked in a rich cheese sauce. The recipe uses the béchamel sauce as the basis for the Mornay over the cabbage. The béchamel can also be poured over pasta for a light, cream sauce. A béchamel, mustard sauce works best with white fish or salmon. A béchamel sauce can also add a dimension of flavor when served over a poached egg. Make sure to always serve your béchamel sauce warm.
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