This recipe is from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck. It's called bechamel when made with milk, and veloute when made with chicken, veal, or fish stock. It's one of the most basic sauces in French cooking, and the basis for many other sauces. With the addition of cream, a bechamel becomes sauce creme, and a veloute becomes sauce supreme. Add cheese to bechamel, and it becomes sauce mornay.
Sauce Veloute or Sauce Bechamel
2 Tb Butter
2 Tb flour
For bechamel: 2 Cups milk + 1/4 tsp salt
For veloute: 2 Cups stock
salt and white pepper
Bring the salted milk OR the stock to a boil.
In a saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Blend in the flour, and cook slowly, stirring, until the butter and flour froth together for 2 minutes without coloring. This is now a white roux.
Remove the roux from the heat. As soon as the roux has stopped bubbling, pour in all
of the hot liquid at once. Immediately beat vigorously with a wire whip* to blend liquid
and roux, gathering in all bits of roux from the inside edges of the pan.
Set saucepan over moderately high heat and stir with the wire whip until the sauce comes to the boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring.
Remove from heat, and beat in salt and pepper to taste. Sauce is now ready for final flavorings or additions.
*Don't use a wire whip if you have a non-stick saucepan! The recipe actually calls for a
heavy-bottomed, 6 cup enameled, stainless steel, lined copper, porcelain, or pyrex saucepan.
A heavy-bottomed, non-stick saucepan works great (non-stick Calphalon is my favorite), but
use a nylon whip (whisk) instead of the wire whip.
A thin-bottomed pan is a poor heat conductor and may cause the sauce to scorch. Aluminum
can discolor a white sauce.
The Johnson Family Cookbook