bechamel sauce recipe classic bechamel sauce recipe

The Béchamel sauce is a white sauce made by combinning hot flavoured or seasoned milk with a roux. You may want know that the original béchamel sauce, which owes its name to the Marquis of Béchamel, was prepared by adding large quantities of fresh cream to a thick velouté.

One of the basic sauces, the classic recipe of Béchamel sauce calls for milk. This can be flavoured by heating it with bay leaf, a slice of onion and some nutmeg. Celery, carrot, ham and/or mushroom peelings may even be added. Ther milk is then left for about 30 minutes to infuse. Noawadays, Béchamel commonly reffers to a white sauce with simple seasoning. The Béchamel sauce is widely used, particularly for egg, vegetable and gratin dishes, and for filled scallop shells. It can be used as a basis for othe sauces, made by adding different ingredients in it.

bechamel sauce step by step recipe

But who was this Marquis of Béchamel?

Louis de Béchameil was a french financier born in 1630 and died in 1703. Her was the farmer-general and steward of the house of the Duke of Orleans. Later, Louis de Béchameil, Marquis of Nointel, became major domo to Louis XIV. Therefore, he was rich, a gourmet, an informed art lover and a handsome man. However, it is very unlikely that he created the sauce which bears his name. This sauce is probably an improvement of an older recipe by one of the King’s cooks, who deddicated his discovery to the King’s major domo.

Apparently, this was a huge honour, which made jealous old Duke of Escars, who said: ”That fellow Béchameil has all the luck! I was serving breast of chicken a la creme 20 years before he was born, but I have never had the chance of giving my name to even the most modest sauce.”

Ingredients For Béchamel Sauce

  • 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thick slice of onion
  • 3 tbsp (40 grams) butter
  • 2,6 tbsp (40 grams) flour
  • salt, white pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste

Béchamel Sauce – how to make it?

1. For making the classic Béchamel sauce, gently heat 500 ml ( 17 fl oz, 2 cups) of milk with 1­ bay leaf and 1 thick slice of onion. Remove from the heat just as the milk boils. Cover the pan and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

2. Strain the milk through a sieave and discard the flavourings. Now we have the infused milk and we will start the actual preparation of the Béchamel sauce.

3. Melt the butter over a low heat in a heavy based saucepan. Add the flour and stir briskly until the mixture is smooth, without it changing colour. Insist stirring until all the flour is impregnated with butter, otherwise lumps may form, which we dont want in our Béchamel sauce.

butter and flour for a classic roux

4. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to the boil, beating well to prevent any lumps forming. Season with salt and white pepper and add a little grated nutmeg. Simmer gently the Béchamel sauce for 3-5 minutes, stirring from time to time.

adding the milk

5. If you want to keep the sauce for a later use, you need to cover it whith some cling wrap to prevent a skin forming. So, gently push the cling wrap so the surface of the sauce touches the plastic sheet. Further, I cool the sauce to room temperature then I chill it overnight in the fridge. No skin forms. I neved kept the Béchamel sauce in the fridge longer than 2 days.

stirring in the saucepan

Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel sauce is a white sauce made by combinning hot flavoured or seasoned milk with a roux. The sauce is widely used, particularly for egg, vegetable and gratin dishes as lasagna, and for filled scallop shells. It can be used as a basis for othe sauces, made by adding different ingredients in it.
Prep Time5 mins
Active Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: French
Yield: 6
Calories: 124kcal

Equipment

  • saucepan
  • sieve
  • whisk

Materials

  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 40 grams butter
  • 40 grams flour
  • to taste salt
  • to taste white pepper
  • to taste nutmeg
  • 1 piece bay leaf
  • 1 slice onion about 1/4 of a small onion

Instructions

  • Gently heat 500 ml ( 17 fl oz, 2 cups) of milk with 1­ bay leaf and 1 thick slice of onion. Remove from the heat just as the milk boils. Cover the pan and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  • Strain the milk through a sieave and discard the flavourings.
  • Melt the butter over a low heat in a heavy based saucepan. Add the flour and stir briskly until the mixture is smooth, without it changing colour.
  • Gradually stir in the milk and bring to the boil, beating well to prevent any lumps forming. Season with salt and white pepper and add a little grated nutmeg. Simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  • If you want to keep the Béchamel sauce for a later use, you need to cover it whith some cling wrap to prevent a skin forming. Gently push the cling wrap so the surface of the sauce touches the plastic sheet. Cool the sauce to room temperature then I chill it overnight in the fridge. No skin forms. The Béchamel sauce may be refrigerated for 2 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 116g | Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 84mg | Potassium: 117mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 302IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 1mg

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