1001 Kitchen tips #3 - White sauce. One lump or two?

Sunday, December 02, 2007
How to cook a whole salmon, how to chop vegetables without chopping your fingers, how to make a souffle, how to have loads of breaks and still go home at 4pm. Yes, college teaches you many things. Another good one was the secret to a lump free white sauce. Heat the milk.

That's all it is. There's no need for a sieve.

This is where the science of cooking comes in. You've made your roux - butter and flour, cooked it out and then you add cold milk. The temperature change from the cold milk makes the wheat - something in it's physiological makeup but I forget what exactly - contract almost instantly, hence you get the lumps. Add warm milk instead, and the two combine easily as they are the same temperature - the same way as gelatine has to be mixed with a liquid of the same temperature.

So the trick is simple - you have two pans, one with milk heating and one with your butter and flour roux. You ladle accross warm milk onto the roux whisking as you go. When it thickens you add a little more milk till you get the required concistency. If you realise you've made it too thin you add some beurre manie which you have stored in your freezer. Instead of adding salt to season it have you thought of adding vegetable stock powder? More flavour.


Jules said...

Ah, now this explains why I often get lumps in white sauce!

Claudia said...

I have to tell you that I'm not bad at making a white sauce! Though it's been a while since I made one. Enjoying reading your useful tips, but I'm still getting a chef when I win the lottery....