Bechamel Sauce.

Some would have it that béchamel sauce and white sauce are one and the same thing, but I beg to differ. True béchamel is rather more elaborate, as you will see. It is one of Escoffier’s five Mother Sauces, the magic five upon which all other sauces are based, and one that should be learned on day 1 of cooking classes. 


1l milk.

1 onion, peeled.

6 cloves, whole.

12 peppercorns, whole.

¼ tsp ground nutmeg.

1 bayleaf.

200g unsalted butter, diced.

8 tblsp plain flour. 


Bring the milk slowly to the boil. Stud the onion with the cloves and add to the milk together with the peppercorns, nutmeg and the bayleaf. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove from the heat, pour through a Chinois and discard the solids. In a clean pan, heat the butter over a medium flame. When it has melted, add the flour, stir through until the roux starts to foam and turn golden, but do not allow it to brown. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time, until fully incorporated and thickened then remove from the heat. 

Yields: 4 cups.

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