Béchamel sauce is one of Escoffier’s five Mother Sauces from which hundreds of other sauces are created. It is considered one of the white sauces. Béchamel isn’t really a sauce you use as much as a building block to create other delicious sauces. The process is not difficult and really does not take much time at all. You can make sauces to feel proud of and not have to rely on what can be purchased at the store.
Some of the sauces that you can make from this basic béchamel sauce include Cream sauce (heavy cream), Alfredo sauce (Parmesan cheese), Cheddar Cheese sauce (Cheddar cheese, dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce), Mornay sauce (Swiss cheese), Nantua sauce (crayfish, butter and cream), Mustard sauce (mustard seed) and Soubise sauce (onions, finely diced and sweated in butter).
2 TBL Flour
2 TBL Clarified butter
2 cups Milk
Salt and White Pepper to taste
1 pinch Nutmeg, ground
Create the roux. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat. Once the butter is melted add the flour while whisking and still over low heat. Stir the butter and flour until all is incorporated together. Allow to cook on low heat for a couple of minutes.
Heat the milk to near boiling. Add a small amount of hot milk to the heated roux and whisk it together. While whisking, add the remaining hot milk to the roux. Continue to whisk briskly until the mixture is smooth and creamy. If the roux and milk are hot you should not have any issues with lumping. If it does have lumps, use a blender to smooth it out or put it through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.
Add salt and white pepper to taste and nutmeg if you like that addition. I usually hold off adding the seasoning until I’ve added my other ingredients for the particular sauce I’m creating. It is at this point that I would add the cheese, heavy cream or etc for the sauce I am making.