What would French cuisine be without the inevitable bechamel sauce? A classic that can be found in many recipes: gratins of all kinds, “croque-monsieur”, pasta, meat, … If you don’t know the technique of bechamel sauce yet, it’s time to learn it! You’ll need it one day 😉 But don’t panic, the bechamel recipe is very simple, and very quick!
How to make a bechamel sauce? The technique to follow
Let’s start at the beginning: the ingredients for the béchamel sauce. You will need butter, flour (the same amount as the butter), and milk. For the seasoning, you can add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Instead, choose fresh whole milk. And T55 flour that you will have sifted beforehand.
➡️ Alternative ingredients
- Milk: any type of milk can be used, cow’s milk, oat milk, soya milk, etc.
- Flour: can be replaced by potato starch, corn starch, rice flour, etc.
➡️ The equipment
It is best to use a whisk. Because by whisking your sauce regularly, you avoid the risk of lumps. If you don’t have a whisk, a spoon will also do the job 😉 And of course, you’ll need a pan too!
➡️ Milk temperature
There are two schools of thought on this question: cold milk and room temperature milk. If your milk is at room temperature, your béchamel will set more quickly. But it must not be hot, otherwise it will be poorly absorbed by the flour and you risk getting lumps.
➡️ The order to be followed
First you melt the butter, then you add the flour. Then the milk is added last.
➡️ No rush
Take your time and leave the pan on a low heat to avoid burning. Thanks to the gentle cooking, the bechamel will slowly thicken.
➡️ The recipe step by step
Melt the butter in the pan over a low heat.
Once the butter has melted, add the sifted flour.
Heat while whisking until the butter has incorporated the flour.
You will obtain a more or less fluid paste.
You can now add the milk, either all at once or in two batches.
Increase the heat to medium.
Continue mixing and bring to the boil.
Then lower the heat.
The bechamel will thicken, leave it for a few minutes ⌛️
When your sauce has the right consistency, you can take the pan off the heat and season with salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg!
You can use it immediately, or store it.
➡️ Preserving the béchamel
Batch cooking version: to preserve the sauce and reuse it later, use cornstarch instead of flour. You can then freeze it in an airtight container and use it whenever you want!
If you just want to keep it in the fridge for a few hours (no more than 48 hours), cover it with cling film. Simply warm it up in a bain-marie before using it.
You are now the king of homemade béchamel 😅 No more excuses to buy it already prepared… What are you going to make as a dish now that you’ve mastered the technique?
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