Saturday, June 23, 2012

Foolproof white sauce

This time of year I seem to make a few cheese and white sauces for lasagnes and pasta bakes.
The problem with white sauces is lumps, or to be more precise, how to avoid them.  Most recipes for White Sauce have you melt the butter, stir in the flour, cook it for a minute or two, then add the milk.
I don't do this when I make a white sauce, and I never, ever have lumps. I follow a method I found in Delia Smith's Complete Illustrated Cookery Course (published circa mid-1980s). Here's how:

White sauce

1/4 cup plain flour
60g butter
3 cups milk
salt, pepper, nutmeg
Grated cheese (if you are making a cheese sauce)

Place all the ingredients in a frypan (except the cheese). Stir with a whisk over high heat until the butter has melted. Use a wooden spoon for a final stir, making sure any flour in the corners of the pan are incorporated into the sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to the lowest temperature and let it simmer without stirring at all for six minutes. Add cheese at this point if using.

And that is how to make lumpless, smooth white sauce.


Kate said...

Thank you for this post! I never try to avoid making white sauces but we've had to learn to live with the lumps up til now..... :) Can't wait to try this.

africanaussie said...

if you mix the milk into the roux(cooked butter and flour)very slowly with a whisk while it is off the heat, you will not get lumps. Cooking the flour into the butter ensures you don't get a grainy taste.

Paola said...

You're welcome Kate!

Paola said...

Hi africanaussie, I've read about this method too. I like the all-in-one method because it means I don't have to stand around too long :) I haven't noticed a grainy taste with my method either, I think six minutes simmering takes care of that. Thanks for the input!

Libby said...

Interesting. I have a recipe that works for me - with no lumps - using the same method as africanaussie. But I'm definitely going to try this next time. Thanks for sharing.