From Wolfgang Puck's MasterClass

Recipe: Béchamel Sauce

Learn to master one of the five French mother sauces with Wolfgang's recipe for béchamel sauce. Wolfgang shows you how to use the béchamel to make his restaurants’ best-selling macaroni and cheese, and the creamed spinach from his childhood.

Topics include: Béchamel Sauce • Macaroni & Cheese • Creamed Spinach • Fried Egg

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Learn to master one of the five French mother sauces with Wolfgang's recipe for béchamel sauce. Wolfgang shows you how to use the béchamel to make his restaurants’ best-selling macaroni and cheese, and the creamed spinach from his childhood.

Topics include: Béchamel Sauce • Macaroni & Cheese • Creamed Spinach • Fried Egg

Wolfgang Puck

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Learning to make velvety béchamel is a cornerstone of any culinary school education, but don’t let this simple white sauce recipe intimidate you. Once you’ve got it down, it can be incorporated into any number of indulgent showstoppers. What Is Béchamel? Béchamel is a versatile white sauce and the base of a variety of comfort food dishes. As one of five mother sauces in French cuisine, it’s versatile and easy to master, with only a few ingredients—butter, milk, flour, eggs, and salt. The origins of this basic white sauce may in fact be Italian, with the recipe for Renaissance-era besciamella making its way to the courts of Louis XIV in France with the chefs of Catherine de Medici. Back then, it was made from butter, flour, and milk, and eventually evolved to include steeping aromatics like bay leaf and shallots in the milk before adding it to the butter and flour. (It is not, however, the same as true alfredo sauce, which is pasta tossed with a sauce made from Parmesan cheese and butter.) These days, the sauce is most often finished with a bit of salt and black pepper, plus a few good grates of fresh nutmeg—that’s it. Classic Béchamel Base: What Is Roux? Béchamel starts with a classic French roux: a few tablespoons of flour and a few tablespoons of fat—usually butter—cooked together in a heavy saucepan to form a thick paste before the addition of milk. A béchamel is built from a white roux, or one that has been cooked very quickly to maintain its light color and subtle, nutty flavors. Milk is slowly whisked into the mixture and cooked until it takes on a creamy consistency. Tips for Making Perfect Béchamel - All home cooks should master the mother sauces—and like any pursuit of mastery, practice makes perfect. Here’s a few things to remember on your quest for perfect béchamel: - Avoid lumps. By adding warm milk to your roux in increments, you allow the roux to accept the liquid evenly and at a controllable pace. Adding all the milk at once will cause the paste to “shock,” almost immediately creating lumps that are difficult to whisk out. - Add more roux. If your béchamel comes out too thin, even after cooking it for the required 10 minutes or so, you can always whip up a quick second batch of roux and build it back in. You’ll know béchamel is done, and the right consistency, when it coats the back of a wooden spoon. - Make it vegan. To make vegan béchamel, simply swap the milk and butter for equal amounts of non-dairy alternatives like vegan butter and soy milk. What to Serve With Béchamel Sauce: Recipe Ideas As a foundational sauce, béchamel can be incorporated into any number of dishes for a creamy effect: - Chef Wolfgang Puck’s Mac and Cheese. Wolfgang transforms his béchamel into a Mornay cheese sauce by adding cheddar and mozzarella cheese, which becomes the base for this macaroni and cheese. - Chef Wolfgang Puck’s Creamed Spinach. Béchamel also provides the foundation of one of Wolfgang’s ...

Become fearless in the kitchen

Legend has it Wolfgang Puck came up with his famous smoked salmon pizza when his restaurant ran out of bagels—and ended up changing the way America cooks. In his MasterClass, the five-time James Beard Award-winning chef behind more than 100 restaurants brings you into his kitchen. You’ll learn not only how to master starters, mains, sides, and cocktails, but also how to take risks to create memorable recipes of your own.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Wolfgang taught basics, ingredient shopping, recipes, plenty of tips and what you do/don't need in a kitchen. He also explained his path to how he got to where he is today and why.

Not only new and interesting techniques but philosophical approaches to food and life. Thank you

I really enjoyed Wolfgang's way, his style, background and tips; great class, nice recipes, well produced and very inspiring. Thanks!

Wolfgang looks sincere in sharing his knowledge. He’s relax and very confident when he’s cooking; he is a master, indeed. I learn about new ways of cooking, new cooking utensils and new ways of seeing life in general: never stop making innovations with what you’re already passionate about will even boost your passion. Thanks a lot.

Comments

Hana O.

Mmm, it looks so good. I can't wait to make it! It's crazy that something so simple could be so popular!

StanleydelGozo

wow such a simple mac & cheese and the creamed spinach also looks fun & tasty...mac & cheese will never be the same...here in New Mexico (USofA) I will had some heat...:-)

Beth A.

Why have I been making bechamel with cold milk? UGH! And why do I not have a cast iron skillet? Last, the whisk I do have has that big fat handle and it's always rolling and flipping away - who took my old fashioned wire whisk that stays put?!

Jennifer T.

The béchamel turned out beautiful but as I advanced to the Mac & Cheese, I questioned how much sauce to add so the pasta did not drown in the sauce. I guessed wrong and it was a bit dry but had a great flavor! I have leftover sauce now to try the creamed spinach!

A fellow student

Too funny. That s what my mum served today. Spinach and eggs from the garden. :) lovely greets from Austria

Lo L.

I altered mine a bit.. sweated a half of yellow onion in the butter for like few minutes before adding the flower. then after mixing in the egg yolks, i added 1/4 cup Siracha sauce to make it spicy. I also toasted the breadcrumbs in a few tbs. spoons of melted butter before putting that on top. Last part may have been unnecessary, but it turned out delicious!

Eduard M.

The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of flour, he put like three times more ..... and MINE got thin !!

A fellow student

I really enjoy the lessons from Wolfgang and have learned a lot. I made the Bechamel and macaroni and cheese and both were great. However, what is "one package" of elbow macaroni? We have items in 1/2 teaspoons and this main ingredient is listed as a package. I assumed it was 1lb since that's what we usually have but I wound up only using about 3/4 of the macaroni and that seemed about right.

Debbie Z.

I have always flipped my eggs over to just get a film over the yolk and cook it. I never thought of popping it in the oven for a couple minutes. The egg looks much better that way. I also always add my cheese to the cream sauce and then add the macaroni. But, he added the cheese separate. I'm going to try that - in my cast iron skillet. I'm using my cast iron more and more lately. Thank you chef!

Mark P.

The first time I made the bechamel sauce it was perfect. Maybe I did it from the video. This second time I tried following the workbook recipe... two teaspoons of salt? Really? I did it because that's what the recipe said. It was an instant disaster. A waste of time and ingredients!!!