50 g/2 oz butter
25 g/1 oz plain flour
500 ml/18 fl oz milk
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
salt and pepper


1.Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.
2.Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste.
3.Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in all the milk, making sure the sauce is smooth between each addition.
4.Return the pan to the heat and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it starts to boil.
5.Season with salt, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes.
6.The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and not run off.
7.Remove the saucepan from the heat. Taste and add more salt if necessary and season with pepper and/or nutmeg.
8.Béchamel sauce should not taste floury. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk. If too runny, boil for a bit longer.
9.Making this delicious sauce, considered a basic sauce because of the numerous variations to which it has given rise, is an essential skill for anyone keen to cook.
10.For a richer béchamel sauce, replace half the milk with the same amount of double creanm, for a lighter béchamel sauce, add half milk and half water. For gratins, soufflés or stuffings. 15

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