White sauce

White sauce - inevidimka white sauce 7e6a337e 8473 48a1 b6bf 44de7df8933c

White sauce, also known as béchamel, is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine, a foundation for many dishes in the culinary world. Its history can be traced back to the Renaissance period, but it was Chef Marie-Antoine Carême in the 19th century who classified it as one of the four essential sauces in French cuisine. This creamy sauce is made from a roux of butter and flour, to which milk is added, resulting in a smooth, velvety texture. White sauce serves as a base for various recipes including cheese sauces, mustard sauces, and is frequently used in dishes like lasagna, cauliflower cheese, and as a complement to fish and meat dishes.

Serves: +10
  • Butter 50 g
  • All-purpose flour 50 g
  • Milk 500 ml
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • Nutmeg (optional) a pinch for added flavor
60 minsPrint
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and stir continuously for about 2 minutes. The mixture should form a smooth paste without browning, which is the base of your white sauce.
  • Slowly add the warmed milk to the roux, whisking continuously to ensure the mixture stays smooth and free of lumps. The gradual addition of milk is crucial for achieving the desired creamy consistency.
  • Once all the milk has been incorporated, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Continue to cook and stir for about 6-8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
  • Season with salt and white pepper. Add a pinch of nutmeg if desired, which complements the creamy flavor of the sauce with a hint of warmth and spice.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it by whisking in a little more milk until you achieve the desired consistency.

Storage Tips

White sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To prevent a skin from forming on the surface, place a piece of cling film directly on the sauce. If the sauce thickens upon cooling, gently reheat it while whisking in a small amount of milk to loosen.

Useful Properties of the Main Ingredient

Milk, the main ingredient in white sauce, is a good source of calcium, protein, and vitamins A and D, which are essential for bone health, muscle function, and immune system support.

Interesting Facts

  • The term “béchamel” was reportedly named after Louis de Béchameil, a 17th-century financier who served as the steward to King Louis XIV of France, although the sauce predates him.
  • White sauce forms the basis for many variations of sauces by adding ingredients like cheese for a Mornay sauce or egg yolks and cream for an Allemande sauce.
  • It’s a versatile sauce that crosses culinary cultures, adapted into Italian, British, and American cuisines among others, showcasing its adaptability and fundamental role in cooking.

This classic white sauce recipe is a testament to the elegance and simplicity of foundational culinary techniques, providing a creamy, delicate complement to a wide range of dishes.

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