A simple cream bechamel sauce recipe made using only six ingredients and infused with the flavors of rich butter, smooth cream, and aromatic nutmeg.
In our kitchen, we have been making bechamel sauces for a long time. They are the perfect blend of a hearty roux and luscious flavor. Furthermore, a good bechamel can be the base for a multitude of different dishes. For example, both our homemade cheese sauce and our cajun alfredo sauce start with bechamel. Once you master this easy sauce, your cooking skills can take flight.
The key to a great bechamel is to make sure you don’t break the sauce. If you have read my posts, then you have heard me talk about this a lot. Breaking the sauce occurs when the mixture is heated to such a high temperature that the fat separates and forms into little globules that stick to your fork. As a result, the bechamel loses its creamy texture and the flavors separate. Needless to say, it’s pretty unappealing.
The best way to keep the mixture from separating is to heat it slowly and keep it moving. I prefer to use a whisk. You can make faster strokes with your wrist, and the wires break up the flour and butter causing them to blend with the cream and milk. Once the bechamel is properly cooked, it will be silky and can be flavored using a variety of spices. Since I had planned on making an alfredo sauce with this base, I chose to only season it with nutmeg. Which, by the way, made an awesome sauce. It was so good; I prepared some spaghetti noodles for a tasty pasta dish.
In closing, this recipe might take some practice to master. However, just remember, once mastered a great bechamel can be eaten as is or become a vehicle for tons of other recipes. So, I hope you enjoy today’s offering from our kitchen. It is truly a labor of love.
A simple cream bechamel sauce can be tricky, but it’s certainly not out of anyone’s league to learn. First, in a small stock pot or large sauce pan add the butter to melt on low to medium low heat. After the butter has completely melted, add the flour and let the mixture cook for about 1 minute, so the flour taste cooks out. You are creating a roux which will thicken the sauce. Remember, the longer you cook a roux, the thinner the sauce will become. For example, gumbo tends to be somewhat thin when compared to a gravy. This because the roux is cooked until it is golden brown. We are not going for that thin texture. We want a cream sauce.
Next combine the milk, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg with the cooked flour roux. Make sure to stir in each ingredient using a whisk or wooden spoon. Let the sauce cook for an addition 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat. As time passes, the sauce will begin to thicken. Do not let it come to a boil or the bechamel will break! Continue to stir the sauce as it cooks to the desired consistency. If you’re using this recipe as a base for another sauce, like a cheese sauce or alfredo, you may want to remove it from the heat before it becomes completely thick. Any additional cheese will melt and thicken the sauce as well. Just something to keep in mind if this dish is just a base for another recipe.
Once the sauce has reached the thickness, you desire, taste test it and add salt and pepper as needed. I listed the amounts that I use in the recipe, but it’s totally up to you. Now that you have a completed bechamel sauce feel free to serve it over a bed of pasta, use it a dipping sauce, add parmesan cheese to it for an alfredo, use some of it to thicken soups, etc. You get the idea. All in all, it is a “moderate” level recipe for a beginner cook, but if you can learn it, you will be that much better in the kitchen.
Used in this Recipe:
- 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 3 Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups of Milk (Whole or 2%)
- 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
- ½ Teaspoon of Nutmeg (Ground or Freshly Ground)
- 2 Teaspoons of Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
In a large sauce pan or small stock pot melt butter on low heat.
Add flour to melted butter and let cook for about 1 minute
To cooked flour mixture, add milk, cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Let simmer on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes while stirring.
When sauce reaches desired thickness, remove from heat and serve over pasta or add use as base thickener for other recipes.
Can be stored in sealed container in refrigerator for up 2 days.