Béchamel sauce

  (Redirected from White sauce)

Béchamel sauce (/ˌbʃəˈmɛl/;[1] French: [beʃamɛl]), also known as white sauce, is made from a white roux (butter and flour) and milk. It has been considered, since the seventeenth century,[2][3] one of the mother sauces of French cuisine.[4] It is used as the base for other sauces (such as Mornay sauce, which is Béchamel with cheese).[5] One typically finds the sauce in a lasagne, above the upper pasta sheets, and below the cheese topping.

Béchamel sauce
Béchamel sauce.jpg
Milk infusing with bay leaf, peppercorns, shallot and flat-leaf parsley prior to being added to the roux
Alternative namesWhite sauce
Place of originFrance
Main ingredientsButter, flour, milk
VariationsMornay sauce


Louis de Béchamel, Marquis de Nointel, was a financier who held the honorary post of chief steward to King Louis XIV. The earliest mention of the name appears in Le Cuisinier François, published in 1651 by François Pierre La Varenne (1615–1678), chef de cuisine to Nicolas Chalon du Blé, marquis d'Uxelles. The foundation of French cuisine, the Cuisinier François ran through some thirty editions in seventy-five years.

The sauce originally was a veal velouté, with a large amount of cream added.[6]

A recipe published in 1749 gave a modern and a traditional version of béchamel. The traditional one was made by melting butter in a pan, and then frying the peels of onions and root vegetables, green onions, and parsley in it; after cooking, cream was added, along with salt, coarse ground black pepper, and nutmeg. This was boiled, strained, and served with extra butter. The more modern recipe was to fry minced shallot, parsley, and green onion in butter, adding cream, salt, coarse ground black pepper, and nutmeg, as before, but then to add additional parsley and serve without straining.[7] A 1750 recipe for turbot involved cooking the fish in broth, cooling it, and then reheating it in béchamel immediately before serving.[3] A vegan version can be made by replacing butter with oil and the milk with a plant based alternative.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Béchamel definition". Merriam-Webster.
  2. ^ François Marin, Les Dons de Comus, ou les Délices de la table, préface par les PP. Pierre Brumoy et G. H. Bougeant, Paris : Prault Fils, 1739, pp. 103 et seq.
  3. ^ a b M.C.D. Chef de Cuisine de M. le Prince de *** [i.e. Briand], Dictionnaire des alimens, vins et liqueurs, leurs qualités, leurs effets... avec la manière de les apprêter ancienne et moderne..., Paris : Gissey, 1750, 576 p., p. 34 et seq.
  4. ^ Michael Ruhlman, The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef's Translating the Chef's Craft for Every Kitchen, New York : Scribner, 2007, p. 171.
  5. ^ Delmy Dauenhauer, 10 Ways to Use Béchamel Sauce, London : SamEnrico, 2015, ISBN 9781505738384.
  6. ^ Larousse Gastronomique.
  7. ^ Menon (17-17 ; écrivain culinaire) (1749). La science du maître d'hôtel cuisinier , avec des observations sur la connaissance & propriétés des alimens (in French). Paulus-Du-Mesnil (Paris). p. 535.

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