What is béchamel? What is the difference between white sauce, cheese sauce and Mornay sauce?
Béchamel, white sauce, cheese sauce and Mornay sauce are all roux-based sauces. That means they are thickened with a roux, which is made with equal parts fat and flour cooked into a paste.
Traditionally, the fat used is butter, but almost any fat including vegetable oil, bacon fat and even margarine can be substituted. Wheat flour is the most commonly used starch, but other options include bread or cake flour, cornflour or arrowroot, gluten-free flours and even self-raising flour.
(also known as white sauce
) is the basic sauce known as the “mother sauce”. It’s used across many cuisines, you may know it best as a component of
. Béchamel begins with a blonde roux, which is butter and flour cooked together until straw in colour. Milk is added to turn it into a rich sauce. Traditionally the milk is first heated with aromatics such as onion, pepper, bay leaf and mace to infuse it with flavours.
White sauce is more simple. It generally uses mustard (Dijon or English) for added flavour, and cold plain milk instead of infused milk. This version is quicker but still delicious.
is also known as a Mornay sauce
. This sauce is the basic white sauce enriched with cheese. Gruyere, Emmental cheese, or cheddar. A Mornay sauce made with cheddar is commonly used to make macaroni and cheese such as this
Cauliflower Mac 'n' Cheese