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Making the Perfect Bechemel Sauce
What is Bechemel?
Bechemel, or white sauce, is a cream-based sauce that forms the foundation for a number of other sauces. In the 19th century, Chef Antonin Careme defined bechemel as being one of the four "mother" sauces and today bechemel is known by Chefs for it's versatility in the kitchen. Many recipes exist for making bechemel and the ongoing debate is whether to use milk or creme. Personally, I like to use creme because it produces a more velvety sauce with a richer flavor and you don't have to use as much roux. Bechemel can be used for a variety of dishes and is one of the easiest of the mother sauces to make.
- 2 Cups Manufacturing Creme (or Milk)
- 1/4 Cup Finely Diced White Onion
- 1/2 Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Whole Clove
- 1 Tbsp Roux
- Salt and White Pepper to Taste
In a medium sauce-pan, sweat the onion in butter over medium heat until translucent. Deglaze the pan using the broth. Add the bay leaf and whole clove and reduce broth by half stirring occasionally. Add the creme and bring to just a simmer. Strain the sauce into another sauce-pan using a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids (onion, bay leaf and clove). Bring back to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for approximately 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the roux and using a wire whisk, whisk rapidly until the roux is fully incorporated. Simmer for a few more minutes or until desired thickness is achieved and season with white pepper and salt to taste.