In the world of culinary delights, few sauces can be named for their versatility and amazing creaminess of the classic white cream sauce, also known as Bechamel sauce.
This white cream sauce is not new; it has been a foundational sauce for quite a while, gracing countless dishes with its smooth and delicate flavor.
Whether you have to cover pasta with the white cream sauce or layer up lasagna with it, it always makes any dish feel tasty and mouth-watering.
Bechamel white cream sauce is one sauce whose recipe you should know to elevate your Italian food-eating experience.
We have brought you the most detailed and easy-to-make Bechamel white cream sauce recipe, which even a beginner can follow and have delightful white cream ready at home.
Requirements for Preparing White Cream Sauce
Before we get into the detailed step-by-step recipe for preparing Bechamel white cream sauce, let us quickly mention everything you must have beforehand so that you do not get stuck in the middle of the recipe to arrange for an ingredient.
1 ½ Cups
Step-By-Step Guide to Prepare the Basic White Cream
Now that you have gathered all the ingredients and tools required to start with the recipe, follow the following steps carefully to prepare your homemade white cream.
Step 1: Melt the Butter
Put the medium-sized pan saucepan on the stove over medium heat and melt the unsalted butter. Using a wooden spoon or whisk is important to ensure even melting and prevent the butter from burning.
Remember, butter is essential in preparing any sauce that requires butter. Thus, it is important to follow this step carefully.
Step 2: Add the Flour
Add the all-purpose flour to the saucepan once the butter has completely and evenly melted. Stir continuously to form a smooth texture, also known as roux. Cook the roux for about 1-2 minutes or until it turns slightly golden.
Be careful not to let it brown too much, as it will affect the overall taste of the white cream later. Keep adjusting the heat level of the stove from simmer to medium to have the perfect texture and color.
Step 3: Add the Milk
Once you are done with the previous step, it is time to add the milk to the mixture. Gradually pour in the whole milk while stirring constantly.
It is essential to add the milk slowly and keep stirring to avoid any lumps in the white sauce. Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and the flour is mixed evenly with the milk.
Step 4: Season the Sauce
Once the milk and flour are evenly mixed, it is time to add the seasoning to the sauce. Add the salt, white pepper, and a pinch of ground nutmeg.
These seasonings help in adding flavor to the sauce. You can adjust the amount of these seasonings according to your taste.
Step 5: Simmer and Thicken
After adding the seasonings per your requirements, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer gently for about 5-7 minutes.
Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to ensure even heating. Eventually, the sauce will thicken as it cooks on low heat.
Step 6: Final Touches
After simmering, the white cream should have a smooth and creamy consistency. If the sauce turns out to be thicker, you can add a little more milk to reach your desired level of thickness. If it is too thin, continue heating it on low for a few more minutes until it thickens to your liking.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps or crumps.
Important Steps to Remember While Preparing White Cream
When making a basic white cream sauce, there are some important steps and things to remember to ensure a smooth and successful cooking process; here are some points to keep in mind.
- Roux Consistency: Pay attention to the consistency of the roux (butter and flour mixture) at the beginning. Cook it for about 1-2 minutes until it turns slightly golden. Avoid overcooking it, as a burnt roux will negatively affect the sauce’s flavor.
- Gradual Milk Addition: Add the milk to the mixture in small increments while constantly stirring it with a whisk. This helps prevent lumps from forming and ensures a smooth sauce.
- Use Whole Milk: Whole milk is preferred for making white cream sauce because of its high-fat content, contributing to a creamier and richer sauce. You can use lower-fat percentage milk; however, the resulting sauce may be thinner and have a slightly less velvety texture.
- Low to medium heat: Maintain low to medium heat while cooking the sauce. Higher heat can cause the milk to scorch or boil over, leading to an undesired mess and bad flavor.
- Stir Constantly: Stir the sauce continuously, especially when adding milk to the mixture and during the simmering process; this is to avoid sticking and uneven cooking.
- Seasoning: Be mindful of the amount of salt, white pepper, and any other seasonings you add to your sauce. It can be beneficial to start with small amounts and adjust to taste. Remember that you can always add more seasoning later, but you can’t remove it once you have added it to the sauce.
- Nutmeg and other flavors: A pinch of ground nutmeg can add a pleasant aroma to the sauce, but it is optional. If you prefer a neutral flavor, you can avoid it. Additionally, you can experiment with herbs, spices, or grated cheese to customize the sauce according to your taste preferences.
- Storage: Bechamel white cream sauce is best used immediately after preparation. However, if you need to store it, place a plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce to prevent skin from forming. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
The calorie count of basic white cream sauce can vary depending on the quantities of ingredients used. Here’s an approximate breakdown of the calorie content for a typical serving size of about ¼ cup of white cream sauce.
- Butter (2 Tablespoons): 204 calories
- All-purpose flour: Approximately 62 calories
- Whole milk ( 1 ½ Cups): 183 calories
- Salt: Negligible calories
- White pepper: Negligible calories
Total Approximate calories in the entire sauce: Approximately 449 calories.
Keep in mind that these calorie counts are estimates and can vary based on the specific brands of ingredients used and any variations of the recipe. If you need a more precise calculation, it is best to input the exact quantities of your ingredients in a recipe calculator or refer to the nutritional information on the packaging of the ingredients you use.
Best Food Items to Complement with Your White Cream Sauce
- Macaroni and Cheese: Bechamel sauce is a key component in making classic macaroni and cheese. Mix cooked macaroni with Bechamel sauce, add cheese, and bake until bubbly and golden brown for a comforting and cheesy delight.
- Lasagna: Layer cooked lasagna noodles with Bechamel sauce, marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and your choice of meat or vegetables. Bake until the flavors meld together into a deliciously comforting lasagna.
- Creamy Pasta Dishes: Toss Bechamel sauce with cooked pasta and your favorite ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, chicken, or peas for a delightful creamy pasta dish.
- Pot Pies: Use Bechamel sauce as the creamy filling for savory pot pies, combining it with cooked chicken, turkey, or vegetables before topping with pastry and baking.
- Fish and Seafood: Pour Bechamel sauce over baked or poached fish or seafood to create a creamy and rich coating.
- Stuffed Pancakes: Fill savory pancakes with cooked vegetables and Bechamel sauce for a delightful and filling meal.
- Vegetable Dips: Use Bechamel sauce as a base for vegetable dips, adding herbs and spices to enhance the flavor.
There you have it, the easiest recipe to prepare: the basic white cream sauce. All you have to do is follow these easy steps correctly, and you will have a nice velvety textured white cream sauce in no time.
You can use this sauce in various dishes, but it goes specifically well with Macaroni and cheese, Lasagna, and creamy pasta dishes.
Your Italian food cravings are about to be satisfied in the best and most authentic way.
It is important to remember that this basic white cream sauce is very calorie-dense, so it is recommended to consume it carefully and not in large amounts.
However, we are sure you do not have to worry about the quantity if your consumption is not too much and you have occasional cravings.