Bechamel is the classic white sauce. It’s made by creating a roux with equal parts butter and flour, then adding milk. The sauce is finished with simple seasonings: salt, black or white pepper, and, in some cases, nutmeg.
Bechamel is one of the French “mother sauces” because not only is it a component of many recipes, it’s also versatile, and can morph into other sauces with just a few ingredient changes.
Bechamel is a Simple Staple
You might not realize it, but Bechamel is a staple in many kitchens. The versatile sauce is easy to master. It can be easily thickened or thinned, and, when transformed into a cheesy Mornay, is the perfect base for breakfast or hearty macaroni and cheese. It pops up in lasagna recipes, as the base of many casseroles and soufflés, and as the starter sauce for creamy Alfredo. It can also top chicken-fried steak or fried chicken.
How to Make Bechamel
- Preheat a pot over medium to medium-high heat, and melt butter.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- As soon as the butter melts, add flour and begin to whisk. As the butter and flour blend, they will create a paste.
- Continue whisking the paste, making sure to get to the edges of the pan. Continue to cook the roux until the paste becomes golden in color, with the goal of cooking the “raw” flavor out of the flour.
- Begin to add milk in small amounts, continually whisking the mixture. At first, the mixture will be clumpy, but will begin to smooth when more liquid is added.
- Once all the milk is incorporated, bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking frequently.
- Let the sauce thicken until it gets to your preferred texture.
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper and, if you choose, a dash of nutmeg.
- Add the sauce to whatever dish you are making and continue with the recipe.
Transform Your Bechamel Into a Mornay
To transform a Bechamel into a Mornay, stir grated cheese into the finished sauce. Once you’ve added cheese, the Mornay can be the base for macaroni and cheese, Alfredo, casseroles, and over breakfast dishes like eggs.
Our Turkey Sausage & Pepper Breakfast QuesadillasÂ are a great way to work a Mornay sauce into the start of your day.