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Thanks for joining me for this week’s blog. Today I’m talking lumpless bechamel sauce. Now béchamel sauce sounds quite fancy. It is French and that is a French name. But essentially it is just a basic white sauce or a melted butter sauce. In fact it was the very first sauce I ever learnt when I was in high school. I always wanted to be a cooking teacher and when I learnt the sauce, I thought, wow there are so many things I can do with it.Even back then at the age of 12, I saw the versatility of this sauce and it really is an incredibly versatile sauce. But I am completely blown away by the about of people who don’t make it well. I think the reason is, I think the recipes are wrong. Now I make it completely different than most people. In fact a lot of the recipes on Victoria Hansen Food are not made the traditional way. I often get reprimanded by a lot of chefs whom I know who say, “You know, that’s not the way to make it Victoria.”

But here is the thing, I don’t think that there are any right or wrong ways when it comes to cooking, I think it’s about finding a formula that works for you and when it comes to béchamel sauce, I found a formula a long time ago that absolutely guaranteed that I would not have any lumps whatsoever in that sauce. So I’m going to share that with you now because it doesn’t necessarily tell you all of this information in the recipe. But I think it’s worth knowing because I am amazed at the amount of people that make lumpy white sauces. That doesn’t need happen, because it’s so easy. So here’s the thing.

A white sauce is basically fat of some variety and in most cases its butter and the reason people choose butter is because it actually adds a beautiful flavour to the sauce. Then you add some flour and then you have milk. Now you can make a sweet one or a savoury one by just adding a little bit of sugar to it or a little bit of salt and pepper. But how you actually make it is the key.

The traditional recipes will tell you, melt the butter on the stove, then add the flour and in often cases, they don’t tell you to remove it from the stove which is wrong in itself for a whole host of reasons. But the first one being is that while the butter is there cooking away and you add the flour its cooking straight away and literally you can’t keep the lumps out of it, it’s almost impossible. So the key is to melt the butter, to remove it from the heat or the turn the heat off all together, add the flour and mix that to a paste.

Now most recipes will tell you at this point, now put it back on the heat and cook the flour so you get rid of the starch. Now that’s important. We do need to cook the starch but not at that point because if you do that at that point, you will also get it going lumpy and it will almost be impossible to mix the liquid with it.

So my method is much much simpler and guarantees you some results. So here’s the way I do it. Melt the butter or you can use oil. Now I’ve used rice bran oil and I have used olive oil depending on what I’m going to use my sauce for. If I’m going to make something with it that’s sweet and I’m going to add sugar to it, I will use rice bran oil because it’s very neutral in flavour. But if I’m going to make a savoury dish with it, so maybe it’s a lasagna or something similar or pasta bake of some sort, or whatever else I choose, I will then add an olive oil and it will give it a lovely flavour. So you can use oil instead of butter if you choose. That’s quite okay to do and it works really well. In fact nowadays I rarely use butter I mostly use oil because the flour actually mixes into the oil 100% better. So try that next time.

So melt or your oil, add the flour, mix it to a beautiful paste, then add your liquid gradually. Now I usually use a whisk at this point rather than a wooden spoon because it actually mixes up much better. A little bit of liquid at a time, mix it in, a little bit more liquid, mix it in until you’ve got all of that liquid completely incorporated. It’s quite runny at this point obviously but it is completely mixed. Now take it to the heat and slowly bring it to the boil. So don’t need your heat on high, but it gradually come to the boil and whisk on a continual basis.

You will find that you will have the most perfect béchamel sauce for whatever it is that you’re making and it will be completely lump free. So give that a go next time you need a béchamel sauce for something in your recipe.

I’m Victoria Hansen, thanks for watching this week’s blog. I look forward to seeing you again next time. Bye for now.

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