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Old 10-22-2006, 11:49 AM   #1
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How do I make bechemel without burning the milk?

at what temperature does milk burn and stick to the bottom of the pan never to be removed?

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Old 10-22-2006, 12:27 PM   #2
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It's not the milk temperature, but rather the heat source temperature. When milk, or any lizuid containg starches and/or sugars rests against a very hot surface, the starches/sugars begin to carmelize and stick to that surface. If milk is constantly moved around, this helps prevent it from sticking, but only to a point. Keep your burner temperature between simmer and mideum, stirr frequently, and you should be able to avoid the "burned to the bottom, never to remove" problem.

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Old 10-22-2006, 12:53 PM   #3
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Well, I believe it is the milk temperature.

If you put the milk into a hot pan and leave it undisturbed the milk closest to the source of the heat will reach the burn temperature quickly and scorch.

If you stir the milk constantly, the movement will keep redistributing the added heat throughout the milk so it heats up more uniformly. When the more uniformly heated milk reaches the same burn temperature, it will scorch.

AS GW suggests, the stirring improves your chances of making a bechamel without a burning problem.

All that being said, I don't know the temperature at which milk burns,
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Old 10-22-2006, 01:16 PM   #4
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Is this another trick homework question, cookingSoul?!
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Old 10-22-2006, 01:41 PM   #5
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lol nah i wasted a gallon of milk and a crap load of other ingrediants on a burnt bechamel....just looking for suggestions...i already figured less heat...but uh other then that idk...i used a thin pan..could i give it full heat if i had a heavier pot?
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Old 10-22-2006, 01:45 PM   #6
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A pan with a layered bottom (SS and aluminum) will distribute heat more evenly than SS alone, which produces hot spots, just what you don't want. However, a layered bottom pan does not eliminate the need to stir and moderate the heat.

You need to apply some patience to this sauce.
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Old 10-22-2006, 02:17 PM   #7
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Well, milk will burn if you boil it for a prolonged period of time so 212 F would be the answer. But the trick with a bechamel is to constantly stir it so that the sauce does not burn. Once you add the milk to the roux you need to bring it to a boil. At that you point you can turn the temp. down so that it is not at a full boil, but you'll still need to stir the sauce constantly as it will burn on you very quickly if you're not paying attention to it.
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Old 10-22-2006, 11:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Well, I believe it is the milk temperature.

If you put the milk into a hot pan and leave it undisturbed the milk closest to the source of the heat will reach the burn temperature quickly and scorch.

If you stir the milk constantly, the movement will keep redistributing the added heat throughout the milk so it heats up more uniformly. When the more uniformly heated milk reaches the same burn temperature, it will scorch.

AS GW suggests, the stirring improves your chances of making a bechamel without a burning problem.

All that being said, I don't know the temperature at which milk burns,
And I believe you're right, Andy. The milk touching the hot surface does get hot faster than the layers above it as the heat is transfered through conduction from the source to the layer touching it, and then by convection from that layer to the rest of the milk. But it is still the sugars and complex carbs that caramelize and burn.

And we're both correct in the assertion that stiring helps distribute the heat, and so helps prevent burning the milk. The heat source is important as well. If it's too hot, no amount of stirring will help. If it's too cool, then the bechemel won't thicken. But the more gentle heat of a double boiler would be sufficient to set thicken the sauce and almost could not burn it. So everything is relative.

The solution has already been given, moderate heat, frequent, even constant stirring, and patience. After that, the rest becomes academic. I accept your correction.

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Old 10-23-2006, 07:42 AM   #9
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The title of the thread is "bechamel" and it suggests that cookingsoul isn't following a good protocol--at least as I make bechamel/white sauce. Goodweed has touched on it also.
I make a roux first and then add the milk which can also be hot. While I wouldn't do a gallon in a thin bottomed pan, I have done a quart.
But, in my experience, bechamel sauces require constant stirring once the milk is added--and a close watch on the heat.
I don't add all the milk at one time--add, whisk in until it starts thickening and then whisk in more milk to the desired thickness.
And a substantial weight pan helps all cooking procedures.
Maybe he was heating his milk separately for adding to the roux. Then heating it slowly with stirring (and watching) until it just begins to bubble at the edges (a scald) would be the way to go, as others have suggested. It can be done in a light pan IF you watch it carefully.
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Old 10-23-2006, 08:19 AM   #10
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First question:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookingSoul
How do I make bechemel without burning the milk?
Answer: adopt as many of the above good suggestions as you can manage, i.e., low heat, thick pan, constant stirring.

I suppose if you're just hopeless at stirring, cookingSoul, you could always make the roux, add the milk, and accomplish the thickening in a double boiler ... but that's cheating if you're in culinary school. Besides, you seem like a man in a hurry, am I right? Why the desire to use full heat?

Second question:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookingSoul
at what temperature does milk burn and stick to the bottom of the pan never to be removed?
Answer: who knows?! Certainly I don't!
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