I have a question concerning Béchamel or basic white sauce.
First, I am not a trained chef but I do work as a cook in a kitchen here in Berlin, Germany. I find that I use very often basic white sauce and have been having trouble lately with the thickness i.e. it often is not thick enough.
My basic recipe is as follows: I heat 4 l milk and water mixed (my boss insists that I mix milk & water for cost purposes). While the liquid is heating I melt 250g butter and stir in enough white flour to form a thick paste, the consistency of a dough i.e. you could make a ball of this and it would not flow or fall apart. I keep this on the stove stirring constantly to cook the flour, usually for about 5 mins. Then I ad slowly, whisking constantly, the hot milk/water mixture. I then leave it on the stove at a low heat for at least 45 mins. stirring often and trying not to scrape the pan bottom as it always burns a bit on the bottom-I am working on a large industrial stove and the gas burners are large and hot.
Now sometimes this thickens up nicely and sometimes not. I am trying to achieve a fairly thick sauce, about the consistency of a syrup.
So any tips on how to get a consistently thick sauce would be very much appreciated.
I have not used a milk/water mixture. I have heard of using arrowroot or cornstarch & water (slurry) as a thickening agent. That, along with adding nutmeg, may also help with a flour-y taste. Just a suggestion. Here's one of Mario's recipes. Hope this helps.
I love nutmeg in my gravies!!! I chime in with everyone else's suggestions........if you can get Wondra flour it's great.......it's a light flour but makes great gravies without turning them to sludge or superglue.........(my biggest problem) hope that you find a good solution
The only difference between a "cook" and a "Chef" is who cleans up the kitchen.
Hey-Thanks for all the response. It took a while for me to get back here as I have been working 12 hr. shifts these past days and barely had time to open my computer.
Lots of good info here. And I have been doing a bit of research/experimenting for my own. What I have found is that the watered milk is a big issue here. Seems to work much better when I don't add water to the milk. Now I just have to convince "the boss" to open up his his cash box a bit and use more milk less water.
As for the taste/quality of the white sauce-well-I am in Germany and the German
palette (sp?) is generally not that refined. Not to insult the Germans or anything. Just an observation from cooking for lots of Germans.
Today we amped up the cheapness factor. I got to work and there was a big bag of potato starch waiting for me. so the recipe became-Milk/water heated to just off the boil and then a couple of big spoons of potato starch and water mixed. A couple of minutes of whisking and it thickened up nicely. I then added s&p & nutmeg, which I always use.
Quick easy, tasted like s**t IMO.
But the boss was happy.
I also found that it had a slightly unpleasant slippery feel in the mouth.