Origin: According to Wikipedia, "Béchamel" was a financier who held the honorary post of chief steward to King Louis XIV. The sauce under its familiar name first appeared in Le Cuisinier Francois, published in 1651.
Recipe for a medium-thickness white sauce:
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
1 Cup heated milk.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat
Add the flour to the butter in the pan, stirring with a whisk for a minute or two, being careful not to
brown the roux, as this is going to be a white sauce
Gradually add the previously heated milk (heated in another saucepan or in a microwave - just until
it's warm to the touch
Continue to stir until the sauce has thickened and is smooth.
The proportion of roux and milk determines the thickness of the sauce, typically the ratio is 1-3 tablespoons of butter and flour to one cup of milk. One tablespoon butter and flour to one cup of milk makes a thin white sauce, three tablespoons of butter and flour to one cup of milk makes an extra thick sauce (used for soufflé base, for example).
With a little practice this white sauce becomes the sauce base for any number of recipes. The ingredients can be flexible; for example, using the same ratio of fat, flour and liquid, you could use two tablespoons of turkey fat drippings from your roast turkey with two tablespoons of flour to make the roux. Then you could use homemade turkey broth (from simmering the turkey neck, wingtips, and giblets). The ratio is not variable, though. It's always a ratio of equal amounts of butter and flour to a cup of liquid.
|Mimi July 2015 |