In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What can I add to the white sauce for flavor? We will give you the ultimate 7 tips for a successful and delicious white sauce.
What can I add to the white sauce for flavor?
To add more flavor to a white sauce, don’t forget the powdered nutmeg! For almost all sauces, consider incorporating a little powdered vegetable broth: it is now available in all organic stores, you can first dilute it in a little hot water. It will enhance the flavors of your sauce.
If you have homemade broth, even better! You can reduce it for a very, very long time to concentrate its flavors, then freeze it in ice cube trays: it will be easy to use in small doses.
7 tips for a successful white sauce
White sauce, like tomato sauce, is one of those great basic and classic sauces that are very often used in cooking. Smooth, creamy, melting, delicious, and generous, it works wonders in lasagna, Croque-monsieurs, veal blanquette, vegetable gratins, or even endives with ham … Yum!
The only problem with white sauce is that once in two when you try to prepare one, you miss it … Yes: when you mix melted butter with flour and we add milk, it often happens that surprise guests spoil the party … Unwanted lumps, which calmer our sauce and reduce our hopes of feasting us to nothing.
- The ingredients: The white sauce recipe is a recipe very easy to remember, even when you have as much memory as a goldfish! Indeed, to make a white sauce, you only need 3 ingredients: butter (very fresh and not rancid), flour, and milk. Above all, no Gruyère, otherwise it is no longer a bechamel but a Mornay sauce …
And in terms of proportions, it’s not very complicated either, since you have to use the ingredients in equal quantities. For example, to make 50 cl of béchamel sauce, you need 50 grams of butter, 50 grams of flour, and 50 cl of milk.
Frankly, you don’t have to have an elephant’s memory to remember that, right?
- The utensils for a perfect white sauce: To make a white sauce, you need 3 basic ingredients, and 3 utensils also (frankly, everything has been planned to make it easier for us!): A saucepan with a thick base so that the heat is distributed well and the flour does not settle put it to brown, a whisk to mix the milk and the roux (butter-flour mixture) without making lumps, and a wooden spatula to mix everything without altering the flavors of the sauce or transmitting too much heat.
And that’s it for the base! We must admit that frankly when it comes to ingredients and utensils, there is nothing really complicated …
- Cold milk: A little tip to make sure you have success with your bechamel every time: the milk that you will incorporate into the roux must not be at room temperature, but rather cold!
Indeed, the colder the milk, the more contrast will be created between the different ingredients present in the saucepan. And the more there is a temperature contrast between them, the smoother and better the ingredients will cook. So when we go to prepare a béchamel, we leave the milk in the fridge until the last moment!
- Stir constantly: The secret ingredient that you absolutely have to have in your kitchen to be sure to make a successful bechamel sauce? Elbow grease of course! Let things be clear: for a bechamel sauce to be perfect and very smooth, the key is to stir it constantly! Otherwise, the butter and the flour will cook and thicken separately and form lumps, or the mixture will stick to the bottom of the pan.
You must therefore remain vigilant throughout the preparation, and never weaken your arm, because once the roux is done, the milk must be incorporated little by little, taking time, but always stirring constantly!
- Remove the pan from the heat: Finally, what is most perilous in the white sauce is knowing how to make a suitable roux. But to put the odds on our side, there is a little trick: once the butter has been melted and clarified (that we have removed the impurities on the surface), it is possible to incorporate the flour off the heat.
This makes it easier to obtain a homogeneous and smooth roux. Then put the pan back on the heat because the flour must cook to avoid lumps, but it is possible to add the milk also off the heat.
All, of course, without forgetting to stir!
- How to avoid lumps? To make a great white sauce, there are two little tips to avoid lumps, which are really the pet peeves of white sauce!
The first trick is to sift the flour before adding it to the melted butter. Thinner, the latter is not likely to make its own and to make lumps in the red.
The second little tip for making a smooth, lump-free bechamel sauce is to replace the flour with cornstarch. As it is airier and lighter than flour, it is 3 times less likely to clump during cooking. But as the flour allows the sauce to thicken well, it is advisable to make half and half between the flour and the cornstarch.
- Season at the last minute – Like any culinary preparation, the béchamel must be seasoned: with salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg (fresh and grated at the last minute is better) to give it a little pep and more flavor.
But be careful: if some sauces are seasoned during cooking, you should only add salt, pepper, and nutmeg at the very end of cooking in a bechamel sauce.
And for a 100% tender white sauce, you can add a little Parmesan at the end with the spices. Ideal for lasagna or tender and delicious Croque-monsieurs.
The bottom line
White sauce, like tomato sauce, is one of those great basic and classic sauces that are very often used in cooking. Smooth, creamy, melting, delicious, and generous, it works wonders in lasagna, Croque-monsieurs, veal blanquette, vegetable gratins, or even endives with ham, and we can go on, and on.
What is your favorite white sauce recipe?