Béchamel sauce






makes 450ml/3⁄4pt

Cook Time

10-15 Min


  • 450ml/3⁄4pt milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 slice onion, about 1cm/1⁄2in thick
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 25g/1oz plain flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Put the milk in a heavy saucepan over a low heat, and add the bay leaf, peppercorns and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, letting it come slowly to simmering point. Remove the pan from the heat, and strain the milk into a jug, discarding the flavourings.
  • Melt the butter gently in a separate pan. As soon as the butter melts, add the flour and, over a medium heat, stir quite vigorously using a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste, or roux.
  • Add the milk a little at a time, stirring vigorously between each addition. When about half the milk is in, switch to a whisk and start adding more milk at a time, whisking briskly, until all the milk has been added.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and let the sauce simmer gently for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
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