White sauce, also called béchamel sauce, is made from butter, flour, and milk. It is used as a standalone sauce, as a base for other sauces, and in classic casseroles like mac and cheese and lasagne. Making sauces from scratch can be intimidating at first, but with a few important tips you’ll be able to effortlessly make homemade sauces.
Making a smooth and lump-free white sauce requires some careful steps and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make a white sauce without lumps:
Always cook the sauce on low to medium heat
Cooking your white sauce on a low to medium heat is essential. The first to making a white sauce is to add butter to a saucepan, cooking the butter on a low to medium heat makes sure that you do not overcook the butter or let it turn brown.
Use corn flour as a thickening agent and make your roux
Create a mixure of flour and water (roux) in a bowl and add it to the melted butter. Make sure that you always stir this in using a silicone spatula or whisk to stir the sauce. Cornflour is a great thickening agent compared to normal flour, creating a great thick base for your white sauce.
Gradually add the milk
Start adding the warmed milk to the roux a little at a time, while stirring constantly. Adding the milk gradually helps prevent lumps from forming. At first, the mixture will become thick and paste-like, but it will gradually loosen as you add more milk. This will help you to have control on the consistency of the sauce. As you add the milk, keep whisking vigorously to incorporate it smoothly into the roux. Make sure there are no lumps at this stage.
Always add seasonings when the sauce is done cooking
Once the sauce has thickened, season it with salt, white pepper, and any additional seasonings you prefer, such as a pinch of nutmeg. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
This sauce is perfect your your next pasta dish and can be the base of many other sauces
Adapted from Food and Home, written by Maegan-Leigh Jacobs
Feature Image: Unsplash