Original bechamel sauce

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
5 tablespoons Level butter*
5 tablespoons Level flour
1¾ cup Cold milk**

Source: My grandfather z"l said this sauce was invented by Duke Phillippe De Mornay, Governbor of Saumur, l-rd of the Plessis Marly, leader of the Hugenots sometime in the late 1500's.

My father z"l used to tell me that when someone writes or talks about Bechamel Sauce they should know what they are talking about. He said almost invariable persons who write or talk about Bechamel Sauces actually have no idea at all what they are talking about. They copy a recipe from a cookbook, the author of which, likewise did not know the true recipe either and just made bad guesses. Even the so-called finest cookbooks do not have the true Bechamel Sauce recipes.

Some cookbooks credit Bechamel , the French financier of the 12th centry with inventing Bechamel Sauce but this is entirely untrue. Bechamel, the financier, was strictly a money man and knew nothing about food and cared less.

He said everyone, as the centuries went by, wanted to "get into the act", so to speak and many famous cooks tried to protend that they either invented BS or at least knew the original recipe. Escoffie, in his cookbook, tried to give the idea that he knew how to make BS which he difinitely did not. Escoffier was a very good cook but knew little of the history of cooking and tried to bluff his way through cooking more than anything else. His BS was terrible. Alexandre Dumas, was a poor cook and knew little about cooking, in his book "Dictionary of the Cuisine", never bothered to write the truth about cooking but simply wrote what he thought would make a book that would sell. His BS recipe was entirely different from that of Escoffier and Escoffier's different from everyone else. The Bechamel recipe in most gourmet cookbooks of our present day is just a writer's dream.

Louis de Bechamel was maitre d"hotel, or in other words, in charge of food and service for King Louis XIV who was born in 1638. He was King from 1643 to 1715. Louis de Bechamel, of course, wanted to give himself as much favorable publicity as he could in order to hold his job. He just had to look important. He named the basic white sauce of Mornay, Bechamel Sauce.

Put 5 level Tbsp. of butter into a pan and melt over low heat. Do not brown. Remove the pan from heat. Add 5 level Tbsp of flour and stir in well with butter* but do not brown. Add 1¾ cups of cold milk**. Remember cold milk. Warm milk will make the mixture lumpy. Put back on the stove over medium heat. Stir well and bring to slow boil until the mixture thickens, salt and pepper to taste and then quickly remove from heat. This is sometimes called a white roux.

To make a brown Bechamel Suace, make just the same but let the butter brown lightly before adding the flour. This is also sometimes called a Brun-Roux.

These basic Bechamel Sauces are the general basis for many sauces and souffles. Bechamel Sauce in itself, is not used alone at all as some cooks would try to make you believe. Bechamel Sauces contains no cream, vegatable stock, onion, thyme, or nutmeg,etc. Nor if making Fleishig do they contain chicken stock or veal stock, etc. These one would add after the basic sauce is made.

To make Pareve: * substitute a pareve, non-dairy margin type product. If product contains 100% vegetable oil, use only 80% and make up difference with water to equal the water content in butter. ** substitute a pareve, non-dairy product mixed with water to equal consistency of milk Posted to JEWISH-FOOD digest V96 #51 Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996


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