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How to make a basic thin, medium and thick white sauce with how to pictures.

Updated on October 3, 2012

I have an old cook book, The Herald Tribune HOME INSTITUTE COOK BOOK published in 1947. I use it all the time because of its simplicity.

This book was written when there was no fast food and cooking three meals a day was an everyday task. It was important to have a good knowledge of the basics in order to get the job done.

The basic white sauce is a must since it is the base of so many different dishes from creamy soups to mac and cheese.

The recipes for white sauce in this article are from this book.

No fancy names just -- Thin white sauce, medium white sauce and thick white sauce.

Ingrediants and proportions

Thin white sauce

Use as a base for cream soups, thin cheese sauce, and other sauces

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon salt (recommended - adjust to your taste)

1/8 teaspoon black pepper (recommended – adjust to taste)

1 cup milk, or rich cream

___________________________________________________________

Medium white sauce

Use for gravies, creamed dishes and scalloped dishes


2 Tablespoon butter

2 Tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon salt (recommended - adjust to your taste)

1/8 teaspoon black pepper (recommended – adjust to taste)

1 cup milk, or rich cream (substitute stock for all or part of milk for meat gravies)

____________________________________________________________

Thick white sauce

Use for soufflés and croquettes

4 Tablespoon butter

4 Tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon salt (recommended - adjust to your taste)

1/8 teaspoon black pepper (recommended – adjust to taste)

1 cup milk, or rich cream

_____________________________________________________________

Method for making white sauce and gravies

  1. Melt butter and then stir in flour until smooth, for white sauce you want to keep the heat very low so you do not burn the butter when you stir in the flour.
  2. Gradually add milk, you can now increase the heat a little and stir constantly until mixture boils and thickens. (If you put to much milk at one time you may get lumps, a wire wisk will take care of that.) Then cook about 3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add seasonings. Set aside until you are ready to use the white sauce
  4. Cover with a lid to keep skin from forming.

VISUAL INSTRUCTION

Add butter to pan
Add butter to pan
Add flour
Add flour
Add salt
Add salt
Add pepper
Add pepper
Mix flour and butter with low heat do not let it brown
Mix flour and butter with low heat do not let it brown
Add milk and stir, turn up heat to medium.  Stir until it comes to boil to get out the lumps.
Add milk and stir, turn up heat to medium. Stir until it comes to boil to get out the lumps.
Once it comes to boil stir occasionally and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and cover with lid to keep from forming a skin.  If skin forms just stir well.
Once it comes to boil stir occasionally and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with lid to keep from forming a skin. If skin forms just stir well.

ALL FINISHED

Your white sauce is ready for all of your creative touches and dishes you wish to create.

SOME SUGESTED MODIFICATIONS OF WHITE SAUCE

  • Parsley Sauce -- Add 2 to 4 Tablespoons parsley.
  • Egg Sauce -- Add 2 diced, hard cooked eggs.
  • Horseradish Sauce -- Add 1/4 cup grated horseradish, drained, and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, if desired.
  • Cheese Sauce -- Add 1/2 to 1 cup grated cheese of your choice.

Comments

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    • daughterson profile image
      Author

      Faye Mitchell 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Thank you so much Silva Hayes.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 5 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Voted Up and useful. Your pictures and instructions are terrific.

    • daughterson profile image
      Author

      Faye Mitchell 8 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Thank you so much Gladys Wentzel for your comments. More is on the way in food preparation.

    • profile image

      G ladys Wentzel 8 years ago

      thank you for showing me how to make a simple white sauce i have never had any luck be for. give us soom more simple ones G W

    • daughterson profile image
      Author

      Faye Mitchell 8 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Thank you so much Lisadpreston for your comments. I am sure your auntie is pleased that you got so much use from the joy of cooking. Old cook books are great because they rely on real ingredients -- not combining a box of this and a can of that,frozen mixed whatever and pre-made sauces.

    • lisadpreston profile image

      lisadpreston 8 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Great hub. When it comes to cooking I love to keep it simple. I have cookbooks that have wonderful looking pictures of the food but when i get to the ingredients and the terms of what to do with them, it gets so complicated that I say forget it. I love the fact that you have a cookbook from 1947, before fast food mania. I got a couple of cookbooks from the ohio historical center. One was Rebecca Boones recipes and another was just an old southern one dated back to God knows when. I like them cause they are simple. I remember for a wedding present, my dear, sweet auntie got me a wonderful cookbook called the joy of cooking. It was filled with simplicity as well. I wore it out and cherished it. Keep up the good work.

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