Bechamel , thick sauce of Italian or French origin , based on butter, flour and milk.
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- 1 Story
- 2 Ingredients
- 3 Elaboration
- 1 Other forms of processing
- 4 Use
- 5 Variants
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The first known recipe, although it was quite different from the current bechamel, appeared first described in the cookbook entitled Le Cuisinier Français , (published in 1651 ) by Louis XIV’s cook , François Pierre de La Varenne ( 1615 – 1678 ). The invention of this sauce is attributed to the French cook of the Duke Louis de Béchameil ( 1630 – 1703 ), although it is considered that it comes from an older recipe, brought to France by the cooks of Catherine de ‘Medici. The trustworthy recipe about its elaboration has been changing over the last 100 years. In recipes several centuries ago from the 18th century , its use was mentioned as a base sauce to make a [[Mornay Sauce]]. Some used cheeses of the roquefort type , [[stilton]], gorgonzola cheese , fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne, etc.
The basic ingredients of this sauce are almost always a mixture of fried fat + flour, which is called a roux sauce , diluted with milk or liquid cream. The use of milk or cream is intended on the one hand to quench the taste of hot flour and on the other hand to dilute and cook the mixture.
It is made by adding milk to a white roux (a flour fried in a fat that is generally butter or margarine ). This sauce has become popular for its use in making gratin dishes that contain pasta and / or vegetables, alone or with meat or fish, both in professional and amateur kitchens. Today it is so popular that it can be found packaged (usually in tetrabrick) in the refrigerated area of many establishments, and ready to be used. The recipe for this sauce has not changed substantially over the years, although the number of ingredients that can be incorporated to enrich its flavor has been increasing in recent years. Bechamel sauce is a “[[mother sauce]]”, the base of many other sauces.
Other forms of production
The start of the preparation of the sauce is the preparation of a white roux, that is, a mixture of a heated fatty substance to which flour is added. From there the amount of dairy (milk or cream) will depend on the final texture that you want to give. Milk (or more generally dairy) has to be added in sufficient quantity for the mixture to cook. One of the concerns of every cook when faced with the elaboration of a bechamel is the undesired formation of lumps (agglomerations) of flour during the last stages. To avoid it, it is essential that the cooking process is carried out over low heat, pouring the milk little by little and stirring as it is linked with the flour. It should be understood that the more milk is poured during its elaboration, the more dilute the texture of the final sauce will come out.
The lipid used is generally butter or margarine, although olive oil is often used in Spain and southern Europe;  flour is usually made from wheat, although corn is not unknown in Latin America either . Although it is not essential, it is common to season it with nutmeg , ground pepper and eventually with aromatic cloves .
For its preparation, it must be taken into account that the roux must be mixed with dairy products at a ratio of 250 g per liter of dairy products. When it is made, the fatty substance is heated (oil, butter, margarine, fat, etc.) and the flour is added, stirring until it begins to form bubbles but without taking on a tan color. To carry out this operation, an appropriate container should be used in which it is appropriate not to stop stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid the formation of possible lumps. It is advisable to pour the flour out of the fire source, to avoid the appearance of lumps, just like when pouring dairy products. A whisk can be used to facilitate the operation.
Depending on the use that will be given, it can be made more or less thick. If it is going to be used for croquettes, it is done in a way that solidifies, with which the name of sauce would be questioned. However when it is used to cover cannelloni, lasagna or for creamy spinach, it is usually made lighter and more fluid. Bechamel is used to thicken the cooking juices of stews and roasts and thus convert them into unctuous sauces. It also allows giving a creamy and linked finish to soups called “creams”, such as cream of mushrooms , asparagus , spinach , etc.
The multiple possible variations of the bechamel sauce allow you to incorporate cheeses as in the (Mornay sauce). You can also incorporate finely chopped ingredients such as fried onion or all kinds of meat , vegetables or fish , such as when preparing for croquettes , stuffing of peppers or to make the famous French ” soufflé “. Another possible variation is to make it, for example, with soy milk, being then suitable for vegans and allergic to lactose. It also lends itself to being flavored with all kinds of spices such as curry or nutmeg