A lump free sauce is the holy grail of the home cook. Especially when it comes to a white sauce. Carr’s make it easy and you don’t even need butter.
I don’t think people make enough sauces anymore. Maybe it’s because they tried a white (bechamel) sauce once and ended up with either a pan of milk that tasted vaguely of butter, or a pan of glue strong enough to hang wallpaper with.
The trouble is that making it as it should be done is a bit tricky. The standard method for sauce is to first melt the butter then stir in the flour to make a roux, Albert or Michel it doesn’t really matter.
This needs to be done without browning the paste, so go easy on the heat. The point of this stage is to cook off the flour’s taste before adding your liquid.
Milk (fulll fat) for a bechamel should ideally have been heated and infused with onion or shallots, bay leaf, peppercorns and nutmeg first. I generally don’t bother but it does make a tastier sauce.
You gradually add the liquid to your roux, whisking all the time, until it’s all incorporated. At this point it seems thin and milky. Do not panic and whatever you do, don’t add more flour.
As the mix comes up to the boil, with you stirring diligently, the chemical reaction happens and the sauce magically thickens. Now give it least two minutes on a gentle heat to remove any last taste of the raw flour.
Then add what you want. Cheese for me, usually.
The Delia Method
Those of a certain age will remember Delia Smith, one of the orginal TV chefs and one of the best.
I discovered her method for white sauce from a book many years ago and have used it ever since.
It’s a no-brainer.You’ll find it here at Delia Online but basically she chucks the flour, butter and milk into the pan all at once then whisks over heat until it thickens.
I have never found it tastes of flour.The Carr’s Sauce Flour Method
Delia recommends using Carr’s Flour’s Sauce Flour for her sauce and having tried it, so do I. We made a cauliflower cheese using the Carr’s last night and it was perfecto.
It’s a fortified wheat flour, not cornflour, and is specially milled to make a smoother sauce than plain white flour and also needs less fat to come together.In fact you don’t need to use any butter at all and this magic makes it less likely to clump and clag. As well as a bit healthier.
It’s perfect for sprinkling into pan juices to make a rich gravy to go with your roast. Especially your Xmas roast, when you want great gravy with no last minute crisis.Or mix a spoonful of it into your stew at the last minute to quickly give it a glossy thickness.