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Old 09-06-2009, 05:06 PM   #31
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and cooking the bechamel after you've added the milk...
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:08 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selkie View Post
By learning to make a proper roux (cooking it for 20-45 minutes depending on your ultimate purpose and desired color) is a skill that will stay with you and help you for MANY dishes. Then, turn down the heat and add milk and turn it into a white sauce... or after adding milk, add shredded cheese and you have a cheese sauce (bechamel). It doesn't get much more simple than that.

The graininess you experienced comes from overcooking the cheese. Patience is a real virtue when working with sauces - work over lower heat.

Butter, flour, milk, cheese, medium low heat, time and patience - that's it! - a bechamel.

Actually, the butter, flour and milk make the bechamel, one of the five mother sauces. The addition of cheese makes the bechamel into a mornay sauce.
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Old 09-07-2009, 01:19 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Actually, the butter, flour and milk make the bechamel, one of the five mother sauces. The addition of cheese makes the bechamel into a mornay sauce.
I agree with Andy, and Luvs. I am not a chef (except in my own kitchen as the word chef litteraly means chief of the kitchen), and have had no formal training in the culinary arts. But I do have scientific and artistic training, and 30+ years of reading everything I could about cooking. I have found many cookbooks that gave misinformation, as well as supposed pros who did the same.

A Bechemel, as Andy pointed out, is one of the five mother sauces. From those sauces come the derivitive, or small sauces. Mornay sauce is a bechamel that has been flavored with Gruyere cheese. Some people use Bechemel as a mother for Alfredo Sauce, which uses Parmesano REgiano cheese for its cheese componant. But in any case, the derivative cheese sauces from Bechemel are made the same way.

The op had the ingredients correct, but without knowledge of proper technique. As to how long hte Bechemel cooks, that depends on the desired flavor profile. To make a succesfull cheese sauce, you need not cook the mother sauce for twenty minutes before adding the cheese. And there are in fact two methods for elliminating the raw flour flavor from the sauce. It can be done by cooking the sauce over low heat for an extended period of time, or by cooking the roux over low heat until it begins to, and I mean just begins to brown slightly. Then, though you can add the milk or cream all at once, I find it more successful to slowly whisk the liquid into the roux over medium heat until I reach the desired sauce thickness, understanding that the sauce will thicken more when the cheese is added.

Use freshly grated cheese, not the pre-grated stuff from the grocers. The pre-grated cheese is tossed with starch to keep the shreds from sticking together.

When the mother sauce is complete, if it is a true Bechemel, it should be lightly seasoned with nutmeg. Remove the sauce from the heat and slowly whisk in the grated cheese, a little at a time, taking care to completely incorporate it before adding more. This will result in a very creamy, and smooth sauce. Many cheese sauces also benifit from the addition of a bit of prepared mustard, but this is up to the person making the sauce and what it's to be used for.

The suace will break at some where around 170 degrees F., when the protiens begin to react to the heat, the same temperature at which custards break for the same reason, protiens in the egg begin to coagulate, or harden. Protiens in cheese and in the milk or cream do the same thing. That is typically what ruins the texture of a good sauce.

If there is nothing else you take from my post, understand this; protiens begins to bind together at 170'. This causes sauces and custards to break, causes milk to curdle, and toughens and dries out cooked meat products. You can bring milk up to a temp of 167' for twenty minutes and you will have pasteurized raw milk without changing its flavor. Take it above that temp and you will "scald" the milk, which does change its flavor and properties. You can pasteurize raw eggs by placing them into 150 degree water for twenty minutes. They are sterile but still raw and runny. Take them to 170 and they beging to cook, or solidify. The point I'm making is that the highest temperature achieved during the cooking and cheese blending process will determine the quality of your sauce.

I really hope this helps shed some light on why others are telling you what they are telling you. The more you understand the physical propeties of heat and how it affects the foods you work with, the more creative and successful you will be at making what you want to make.

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Old 09-07-2009, 01:56 PM   #34
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Really curious as to where you came up with your information, Weed.
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Old 09-07-2009, 03:25 PM   #35
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Bechamel: From the book, Professional Cooking, 6th ed., used by Le Cordon Bleu, Wayne Gisslen: p. 171
"Add the flour and make a white roux. cool the roux slightly.
3. in another saucepan, scald the milk. Gradually add it to the roux, beating constantly.
4. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer.
5. Stick the bay leaf to the onion with the clove and add to the sauce. Simmer at least 15 minutes or, if possible, for 30 minutes or more. Stir occasionally while cooking."
There are more steps (steps 1 and 2 describe the roux), having to do with seasoning with salt, nutmeg, and white pepper, strain.
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Old 09-07-2009, 03:34 PM   #36
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Yep, that's how I do it. LOL
Someone blew the dust off her book today.
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Old 09-07-2009, 03:50 PM   #37
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It's not all that dusty! I have it out in the kitchen (cuz it won't fit in my bookcase), and refer to it every now and then. The difference between just butter, flour, milk, cooked slightly, and the real deal, with onion, bay, clove, nutmeg, and cooked longer is really quite amazing. It's probably one of the most important things I learned at school. (that, and the use of salt!!!)
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:38 PM   #38
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I liked this thread. It was very interesting to read everyone's answers and I actually learned something, especially from GB's answer. It is amazing that i have been making this for years, but never really understood how it works.
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Old 09-07-2009, 05:29 PM   #39
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SierraCook...you just melted my brain. I went back and reread the whole thread looking for GB's reply! Then I realized you meant GW. Dang it! Sometimes I am not so smart.
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Old 09-07-2009, 05:33 PM   #40
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"OldTimers" setting in Alix?
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