Mother Sauce – Béchamel

Béchamel is a simple sauce made of a roux, milk, and seasonings.  It is a base for sauces such as Mornay, Cheese sauces and Nantua Sauce.

This recipe yields 1 gallon

Roux:
8 oz     Clarified Butter (or regular butter)
8 oz     Bread Flour
1 gal    Milk
1         Bay Leaf                                              
1         Whole Clove                                          
1         Small Onion or half large onion, peeled
To taste    Salt, Nutmeg, and White Pepper (use black pepper if you don’t have white)

  1. Make the roux – melt fat in a heavy saucepan over low heat.  Add flour and make a white roux.  Cool slightly
  2. Gradually add the milk to the roux, beating constantly
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Stick the bay leaf to the onion with the clove.  This is called an onion piqué.  Add this to the sauce. Simmer at least 15 minutes, 30 minutes if possible.  Stir occasionally.
  5. Adjust consistency with more hot milk, if needed. The consistency (nappé) should coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Season very lightly with salt, nutmeg and white pepper.
  7. Strain through a china cap lined with cheesecloth.  Cover to prevent skin formation.  Keep hot or cool.

Recipes and information come from Professional Cooking, Seventh Edition, Wayne Gisslen, Page 183 and 184.

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