Homemade Mac&Cheese–Bechamel Sauce “How To”

I’ve lost count of how many times I have already made a béchamel sauce. During my first phase of culinary school, all we did was make (mother) sauces, stocks, and small sauces. This béchamel was on my midterm final and not only did we make it several times in school, but I practiced at home.

This is my first time to make this sauce as a base and turn it into a Mornay (small sauce) for a dish. Last Thursday that dish was mac and cheese.

Here’s how you make a béchamel sauce: Bechamel is made from a white roux– there are three different types of roux’s–white, blonde, and brown. The type of roux depends on how long you cook the roux for. For example, a brown roux is much darker than a blonde roux because the starch granules caramelize and develope a deep, rich flavor. The white roux used to make béchamel is cooked through just enough to ensure the flour does not taste raw.

For the Bechamel:

Equal parts of all-purpose flour and fat. Ideally, you would want to use clarified butter. I used 1.5 oz of flour to 1.5 oz of unsalted butter. Whisk together in a small sauce pot off the heat (to ensure a lump-free sauce.) Meanwhile, combine 2c. of milk with half of an onion (not chopped) over low heat. Place roux mixture on low-med. heat, stir continuously using a spatula or wooden spoon, this takes about 5-7 minutes, you should be able to smell the mixture and not be overwhelmed by the smell of raw flour when your roux is ready for the milk.

At this point, take the roux off the heat to cool (you always want to add either a hot stock or milk to a cold roux or a hot roux to a cold liquid.) Once the roux is cooled add milk mixture (leave onion behind) and whisk to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer, and once the sauce nappe’s the back of a spoon (picture below) your béchamel is ready!!!! Season with kosher salt and cracked pepper and freshly grated nutmeg (I left this out because I didn’t  have any.)

To make a Mornay: fold in grated cheese (we used what we had: parmesan Reggiano, mozzarella, and a small amount of Colby.)

Whisk together and pour in your pasta (that was cooked earlier to a VERY al-dente stage.) Sprinkle extra cheese on top for a golden brown crust (mixed with some panko bread crumbs if you have it) and finish in the oven for 20 minutes on 350.



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