Basic White Sauce - Back to Basics 24
Okay, so we are still breaking down our lasagne components, but this is an absolute classic, you can call this a bechamel, you can call this a white sauce, some people mistakenly call this a roux, it is not a roux, we use a roux to make a white sauce, but anyway, this is a must have Back to Basics that everyone should know how to do.
150g plain flour
Before we begin just let me direct your attention to the above ingredients list. Obviously I am making over a litre, if you are going to go on to the next blog and make lasagne with me, this is the quantity you will need. If you are making a white sauce for your fish on a night when you are having dinner for one at home, you are going to want to massively reduce this. For a mac and cheese (one of my daughter’s favourite DIY dinners), I would use about one quarter of this for one person. However much you need, just keep the ratios and you will be fine.
So, in a medium pot we melt the butter on a medium heat, then we tip in the plain flour and give it a stir, it will look like this -
This is our roux. Is it ready for us to add our milk? No, it most certainly is not. We need to cook some of the starch out of the flour, stir it around, let it chat to itself and it will start to look gritty, like this -
Yes, that’s better, now tip in all of your milk all at once, don’t be afraid, in it goes. It is going to have great lumps of roux in it, don’t worry, start stirring and keep on stirring until it is smooth. Turn the heat up and stir, stir, stir, never leave a white sauce unmoving, until it boils and is thick, once it boils turn the heat down a little and continue to stir for another minute or so to cook out any remaining starch, this will give you a nicer flavour.
Want to make that into a cheese sauce? You can use whatever cheese you want, I think a good rule of thumb is if you like to eat it, it will make a cheese sauce that you will enjoy. I guess it is like that old chestnut, don’t cook with a wine you would not drink.
Anyway, for this rather large amount of white sauce we are going to need about 400g of grated cheese, this is a mixture of tasty, mozzarella and Edam, which will be featured in our next recipe, lasagne. Tip the whole lot in while the white sauce is hot and -
stir until smooth.
Want to see what I made with this?