Bechamel

Bechamel

Bechamel (bay-shuh-mehl) is an incredibly useful base for many dishes. Luckily it is also incredibly easy to prepare. Just treat it like you would a good friend and give it your full attention.

Traditionally, bechamel starts with melted butter. But when Mark and I were staying in a beautiful little villa in Venice, we had no butter on hand and decided to try making it with olive oil. Necessity is the mother of invention, and the results were fantastic!

Here I have captured both methods so that you can play around with it and see what works for you.

  • BECHAMEL
  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 0hr 15mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
WHAT YOU NEED WHAT TO DO WHY
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2-3 pieces
Butter Method: In a 1-quart tri-ply saucepan set over low heat melt butter (1-2 minutes); do not brown. Browning alters desired sauce flavor and color.
  • 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
Whisk into butter until smooth to create a roux (ROO). Continue whisking over low heat just until light, soft foam develops (about 2 minutes); do not brown. Remove from heat. Flour acts as a sauce thickener. Coating flour in fat helps avoid lump formation. Browning flour alters the desired flavor and color of the sauce.
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/32 teaspoon cayenne
In a 1-pint measuring cup whisk all together. Add to the roux in a slow stream, whisking continuously to incorporate. Return to medium heat, whisking until thickened (6-8 minutes). Gradually incorporating milk helps avoid lump formation. Constant whisking protects milk against burning and promotes a light texture.
     
WHAT YOU NEED WHAT TO DO WHY
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Olive Oil Method: Whisk together in a 1-quart tri-ply saucepan until smoothly combined. Flour acts as a sauce thickener. Coating flour in fat helps avoid lump formation.
  • 1 cup whole milk
Add milk to the pan in a slow stream, whisking continuously to incorporate. Gradually incorporating milk helps avoid lump formation.
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/32 teaspoon cayenne
Add all to the milk. Place over medium heat, whisking until thickened (6-8 minutes). Constant whisking protects milk against burning and promotes a light texture.