Béchamel sauce is one of the most versatile base sauces in cooking: easy and quick to make, it is perfect for enhancing many different dishes, from lasagna to baked pasta, like gratinated fennel, to even spinach or chicken breast! Its paternity is claimed by both the French and the Italians. The most credited hypothesis is that it was Caterina de ‘Medici who imported it to France with the name it had then, “glue sauce”. But it was thanks to the courtier Louis de Béchameil that it later took the name béchamel sauce, despite Pellegrino Artusi preferring to Italianize it in his cookbook with the name “balsamella”, now out of use. Discover all the secrets for making a perfect homemade creamy béchamel sauce without lumps and we bet you will never go back to the packaged one!
For 1 litre of béchamel sauce
- Whole Milk – 1 l
- Butter – 100g
- Type 00 flour – 100g
- Fine salt – 1 pinch
- Grated nutmeg – q.b.
How to make Béchamel sauce
To prepare the béchamel sauce, first pour the milk into a pot, add the nutmeg and the salt, then heat it up.
Put the butter in another pot and melt it over low heat, then add the flour all at once. Vigorously stir with a hand whisk to avoid the formation of lumps.
Continue stirring until you get a golden mixture, the roux. At this point, dissolve the roux by pouring in a little hot milk and then all the rest. Continue to stir over low heat until you reach the desired consistency. Cooking the béchamel sauce for 5-6 minutes will result in a medium density. Your béchamel sauce is ready to use!
If you don’t use the béchamel sauce immediately, pour it into a bowl and let it cool down. Then cover it with cling film in contact to prevent a film from forming on the surface. Once cold, the béchamel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator, closed in an airtight container, for a maximum of 2-3 days.
To make it smooth and creamy again, simply work it with the beaters of an electric mixer. If necessary, you can add a little milk to make it more fluid while working with the beaters.
Béchamel sauce can be frozen for about 1 month.
With this recipe, you will obtain a medium density sauce. If you prefer a more liquid béchamel sauce, reduce the amount of butter and flour. For a thicker béchamel sauce, increase the amount of butter and flour.
If lumps form in the béchamel sauce, don’t panic! Simply strain it with a colander to fix it!