Béchamel is one of the five mother sauces in French cuisine. After learning how to make a perfect béchamel, you can use it as a base to create different sauces.
By adding cheese to a béchamel, it will turn into the delicious mornay sauce, which can be used to make dishes such as gratin, lasagna, croque madame, moussaka and gourgères.
I was working in the cold section of a French Michelin-starred restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland. I had to make mornay sauce on a daily basis for the gruyére cheese soufflé and, if the chef found a single lump, I would have to make it again from scratch.
It was a beautiful way of learning to cook with discipline and making sure it always turned out the same delicious sauce as it was meant to be. Also, if anything was done differently, the soufflé wouldn't rise. And I made sure that soufflé always stood tall and proud.
Add 575 ml of milk to a separate pot. Warm over medium-low heat until hot, but not boiling
Melt 80 g of butter in a saucepan over medium heat
Add 80 g all-purpose flour. Whisk for 3m until the flour is cooked and the mixture becomes loose
Add ¾ cup of the milk to the butter and flour, in 4 batches. Whisk each time until it becomes smooth
Add 110 g of finely grated gruyére cheese. Whisk until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the remaining milk to loosen the sauce, if necessary
Season with salt to taste
Grate nutmeg to taste and whisk
Transfer the sauce to a bowl
Cover with cling film, pressing it against the surface to avoid forming a skin. Set aside to cool down to room temperature
Transfer the sauce to a piping bag and cut a 1 cm hole. The mornay sauce is ready
Yield 800 g
Finely Grated Gruyère Cheese110 g
All-Purpose Flour80 g