White sauce, also known as Béchamel, is used in a variety of dishes and is the base for many sauces. Here are the steps for a basic medium white sauce, with adjustments for other thicknesses.
Time Required: 15 minutes
- In a small, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat.
- Blend 2 tablespoons of flour into the melted butter.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Cook over low heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes. Cooking for this length of time will minimize 'flour' taste.
- Slowly add 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly.
- Continue cooking slowly until smooth and thickened.
- For thin white sauce, follow the instructions above, but use 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Thin white sauce is used in cream soups.
- For thick white sauce, follow the instructions above, but use 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour. Thick white sauce is used in soufflés.
- For heavy white sauce, follow the instructions above, but use 4 tablespoons of butter and 4 tablespoons of flour. Heavy white sauce is used as a binder for croquettes.
- To make the standard Béchamel, after adding the milk to the medium white sauce recipe add 1 small onion studded with 3 cloves, a bay leaf, and a grating of nutmeg.
- Light stock, cream, or a combination may be used in place of the milk.
- Add more flavor by seasoning with celery salt, nutmeg, a teaspoon of lemon juice, onion juice, or sherry, or a few tablespoons of chopped chives or parsley .
What You Need:
- Heavy saucepan
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk