Béchamel Sauce

One thing I forgot under ‘basic tenets’: it is impossible to make lumpy Béchamel Sauce. I maintain this no matter what method you use: frying the flour in the butter first, adding hot or cold milk, waiting until the milk is boiling or not before whisking, chucking the butter flour and milk together and heating…it does not matter! As long as you beat the bejaysus out of it it will never be lumpy. So there you are…

Ingredients for Béchamel Sauce

60g butter
60g plain flour
500ml full-fat milk
salt & freshly ground white pepper

Method

1. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan.
2. Add the flour, and sauté over a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring gently.
3. Add about 125ml of milk and turn up the heat. When the milk is boiling, whisk vigorously until the milk is incorporated.
4. Repeat until all the milk is added.
5. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer very gently for about 3 minutes.
6. If not using immediately, lay clingfilm on the surface to prevent a skin forming

Variations

  • Thin the sauce further with a few tablespoons of double cream.
  • Replace up to half the milk with flavoursome vegetable or
    mushroom stock – good for cauliflower cheese.
  • Flavour the milk first by adding an onion studded with a clove,
    1/2 a bay-leaf and a few black peppercorns.
  • Add a little oomph with a pinch of cayenne pepper or English
    mustard powder.
  • Fry the flour a little longer until it is biscuit coloured – this will
    give a nutty flavour.

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