White Sauce

White sauce is a very basic but important sauce consisting of flour, melted butter, and milk or cream. I totally didn’t copy that from the results of a Google search. This sauce, also known as Béchamel sauce can be used as a base for creating more elaborate sauces.

Depending on the dish you are making, is what will determine how thick of a white sauce you want to use. Thin white sauces are usually preferred for cream soups where a lighter texture is desired. Medium white sauce is frequently used as a sauce or a gravy. And lastly, heavy or thick white sauces are usually used in the mixture of croquettes and soufflés .

A typical white sauce uses equal parts flour and butter. If you want a heavier sauce, you will need to increase the amount of flour and butter you are using.

For instance, a normal medium white sauce recipe will most likely call for 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and maybe a cup of milk. You can use half-and-half or heavy cream in place of the milk, but your final product is going to end up being thicker and containing more fat. This might not be a problem if that’s what you’re going for.

I also tend to prefer using unsalted butter, simply because I like being in control of how much salt is being added to the dish.

The steps involved in making the white sauce are as follows:

  1. Grab a small heavy saucepan and melt the butter over low heat.
  2. Once the butter is melted, blend the flour in with a whisk until fully incorporated.
  3. Add a bit of salt and a dash of black pepper.
  4. Cook over low heat for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Carefully add milk, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened.

You can then use this sauce in a variety of other dishes. Or alternately, you could experiment with adding additional ingredients to the Béchamel such as onions, grated nutmeg, bay leaves, cloves, garlic, or paprika/cayenne pepper to name a few.