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How Do I Make ... ?
Béchamel Sauce
In this section we learn how to make basic sauces which form a large part of meal presentation in the United Kingdom. One of the most useful hot sauces is called Béchamel Sauce, and is also known as being made from 'A Roux' (Mixing hot butter and flour to form a paste).

With minor adjustments of extra ingredients this sauce is used to make:
1. White Sauce
2. Onion Sauce
3. Cheese Sauce
4. Parsley Sauce
5. Fish Sauces

Béchamel is also the base sauce used in a variety of dishes including:
Lasagne, Tortellini, Moussaka, Cauliflower Cheese, Carrot and Parsnip splodge, and many others.

Recipe Source:

Image: Jonno on the streets of Foshan, China Dorothea Morris, Stafford, England  
Websites: none
Dorothea was an excellent chef and Cordon Bleu dessert Master. Her wide range of cookery skills spans generations, and are based on traditional methods using local produce.  

Quick Tips:

1. Sieve the flour ar least twice to remove all lumps
2. Do not let the liquid butter burn or froth
3. Never stop stirring until the sauce is finished!

We give two methods, the first being a very quick method ideal for making cheese or Parsley sauce in a hurry. The second method requires more time and although simple, is traditional over generations.
1. Let's get started:- Béchamel Sauce - Quick and Easy

Cooking Time: 3 minutes

Easy - but pay attention and keep stirring!


4oz butter
4oz sieved flour
1 pint whole milk
Image: Bechamel Sauce

Add butter to a saucepan and melt into a gee (clarified butter) so that it is runny but not frothy. Add the plain flour and stir quickly until a firm paste is made. It is very important there are no lumps whatsoever, so this mixture needs to be thick and smooth.

Add a very little milk under low heat and stir vigorously until incorporated fully into the mix. Repeat, gradually increasing the amount of milk added each time as the basic paste thins. Each time be very careful to mix completely before adding the next amount of milk, to ensure no lumps are present whatsoever.

Thin the sauce until the desired consistency is achieved, remembering that as it cools slightly, so it will also thicken a little. You may need to add more or less milk, and this can vary each time. It is the final sauce without lumps that matters.

To finish you can add a little salt and pepper to taste, as well as pinches of other spices to suit your dish. Ground nutmeg is one often added, but this has strong flavour so only add a very little and check the taste.

Cheese Sauce - if using the Béchamel to make a cheese sauce, then grate about 4oz cheese (Cheddar is excellent) and add to the sauce, stirring well. Add more cheese for a stronger flavour, and try other hard cheese such as Lancashire for taste, Double Gloucester for colour, and Mozzarella for Italian. Then add salt, pepper and any other herbs or spices once the cheese sauce is completed.

2. Let's get started:- Béchamel Sauce - Traditional

Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Fairly Easy - but pay attention and keep stirring!


4oz butter
4oz sieved flour
1 pint whole milk
Half a large Spanish Onion
8 or 10 Cloves
2 Bay leaves
Pinch Nutmeg
Other spices to taste
Image: Basic Roux

The main method is virtually identical to above, but first we need to prepare the milk by adding a little flavour. There are many versions of this, so this is the one used by my mother.

Peel and chop a large Spanish onion in two halves. Save one half by wrapping in cling film and sealing in a container in the fridge. Taking the other half, add the cloves by inserting the pointed end into the onion at regular intervals. 8 or 10 should be ideal.

Add to this 1 pint of milk and heat to a very slow simmer, or about gas mark 1. Add the other ingredients immediately after the heat is applied: 2 bay leaves, a little ground nutmeg, and a pinch of white pepper also works well.

You can add any of the following: Mace leaf or pinch of mace powder, 1 dozen black peppercorns, a sprig of thyme or pinch dried thyme.

Cook the milk on low simmer for 18 minutes, then strain to remove all the other ingredients. You will be left with warm flavoured milk. This can be set aside for later use, but is best used hot and freshly made.

Béchamel method:

As above; add the butter to a saucepan and heat until it clarifies, but does not froth or burn. Add the sieved flour and stir vigorously into a smooth paste using a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the hot milk (80 degrees is preferred) a very little at a time, and stirring continuously, bring to a smooth paste. Repeat again and again using slightly larger amounts of milk each time. Make sure there are no lumps in the sauce before adding the next amount of milk. You can add a little salt and pepper to taste once the sauce is complete. Vary the consistency by slightly varying the amount of milk. If you added to much milk, simply leave the mixture to simmer for a while, stirring frequently.


Béchamel is perhaps the most versatile of the mere or four French Mother Sauces. It is seldom used on its own, and usually forms the base for other sauces and recipes - of which there are hundreds!

We list these other sauces and recipes on our sister page:
Béchamel Sauces and Recipes
(Opens in new window).
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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Béchamel Recipes
• White Sauce
• Onion Sauce
• Soubise Sauce (onion)
• Cheese Sauce
• Mornay Sauce (cheese)
• Cheddar cheese sauce
• Parsley Sauce
• Fish Sauces
• Nantua Sauce (crayfish)
• Prawn Sauce
• Crème Sauce (cream)
• Mustard Sauce
• Croque-Monsieur
• Parmo
• Moussaka
• Lasagne
• Tortellini
• Macaroni Cheese
• Cauliflower Cheese
• Carrot and Parsnip
• Caper Sauce
• Green Herb Sauce
• Mushroom Sauce
Boy Cooking
Image: Boys can be inventive in kitchens! A cordless drill set to hammer action is preferred
Béchamel Related
Image: Croque-Monsieur

Image: Croque-Madame

Image: Croque-Monsieur

Image: Lasagne - adding the cheese bechamel sauce

Image: Barry's Prawn Sauce

Image: Carrots and Parsnips, just add bechamel sauce and serve

Image: Mustard Sauce

Image: Parmo - A Teesside delicacy

Image: Cauliflower Cheese

Image: Bistro Burger with Bechamel cheese topping
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