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Author Topic: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!  (Read 3671 times)

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redwineonsundays

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Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« on: February 03, 2008, 09:53:23 PM »
There has never been anything I haven't been able to make to my liking, except white sauce.

It gets burnt, or it goes off colour, or it tastes starchy or it goes lumpy.

There are so many things that I would like to put white sauce in, i.e. lasagne or tuna casserole or just to have a jug on the table at dinner parties that people can put on their vegetables if they so choose.  (even though they are usually seasoned, I think some people like sauce to 'disguise' the vegetable taste)

Any recipes or just a pointer into what i am doing wrong would be good

I use butter, plain flour and milk

nrb80

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2008, 10:30:36 PM »
Okay, what's your technique?  What sort of pan are you using to heat?  Whisk or wooden spoon?  What temp?  Do you clarify / brown / etc the butter first? 

I have a simple techique that works on my gas stove - all clad 10 inch skillet with 2 inch sides.  Heat on low.  I brown the bitter about half the time.  I make my roux fairly slowly, with a whisk, and bring my whole milk up to room temp, in the mike if necessary.  I also always salt.

Most common problem is raw flour, IMHO.

GlindaBunny

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2008, 10:37:28 PM »
It might help if you wait until the butter has stopped foaming before you add the flour.  You want all the water from the butter to be gone or the flour could form lumps.


Have you tried following a recipe?  Here's a good one from foodnetwork.com:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_12059,00.html

redwineonsundays

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2008, 10:47:17 PM »
Yes, using wooden spoon.  Also I use organic flour, I wonder if this would in any way relate to the problem of raw flour???

Thanks for the link, I'll try that one tonight.  As I try every recipe out on SO before anyone else hehehe. 

I think the hint about waiting until the butter stops foaming might be the go as well...

Also I do use an electric hotplate and I find it very hard to regulate the heat so that even if I try to keep it low it may get hotter.  I have made it ONCE using a gas hotplate and cast iron pan and it turned out right.  Now with electric and russell hobbs pan it isn't working...

« Last Edit: February 03, 2008, 10:48:51 PM by redwineonsundays »

kareng57

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2008, 10:48:25 PM »
There has never been anything I haven't been able to make to my liking, except white sauce.

It gets burnt, or it goes off colour, or it tastes starchy or it goes lumpy.

There are so many things that I would like to put white sauce in, i.e. lasagne or tuna casserole or just to have a jug on the table at dinner parties that people can put on their vegetables if they so choose.  (even though they are usually seasoned, I think some people like sauce to 'disguise' the vegetable taste)

Any recipes or just a pointer into what i am doing wrong would be good

I use butter, plain flour and milk


Do you have a microwave?  For me, that's always worked best.

If not, try heating the butter at fairly low heat, and add the flour when it's just barely melted.  If you try to add it when the butter is pretty hot, you could indeed wind up with lumpy sauce.

Wordgeek

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2008, 11:39:44 PM »
I always use a whisk because I can't get the lumps out any other way. 

(I have been known to whiz lumpy sauce through a blender, but that's a secret.  Shh, don't tell anyone.)

redwineonsundays

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2008, 11:43:55 PM »
Blender hey... hmmmm...

Don't worry your secret is safe with me and the thousands I shall now tell...

heehee

(hand blender or jug blender, just need to know so I can investigate the secret a little bit further)

Wordgeek

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2008, 12:38:12 AM »
A hand blender is fantastic for this -  not that I would know from experience or anything.   ;) ;D

Ant V

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2008, 01:28:39 PM »
I can sympathize.  I've always had good luck cooking anything I decide to cook, including white sauce.  But don't expect an over easy fried egg with an unbroken yoke from this cook.  Maybe, just maybe, I've had success 6 or 7 times in my entire life.  I just can't get it right.  About the white sauce, try a heavier pan and use Wondera flour.  If you want snowy white sauce, don't brown the butter and don't use black pepper for seasoning.  Start the sauce earlier so you can go more slowly especially if you are using a hot plate.  And the whisk or blender covers a multitude of sins in sauces. 

Bethalize

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2008, 03:36:24 AM »
Any recipes or just a pointer into what i am doing wrong would be good

One ounce of flour, one ounce of butter, half a pint of milk to make a thick sauce. I use plain flour.

Melt the butter then  stir in the flour. Cook the flour (stirring) for several minutes until the starch grains 'open' (don't know if it's technically correct but that's what I was taught) and all the mixture goes into a ball. If you add a teeny bit more flour and then it balls you've got it.

I take the pan off the heat and add the milk a tiny bit at a time, stiring it right in. This avoids lumps.

Then I return the pan to the heat and heat gently stirring all the time.

Takes about fifteen minutes to do properly.

gjcva1

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2008, 08:14:13 PM »
Any recipes or just a pointer into what i am doing wrong would be good

One ounce of flour, one ounce of butter, half a pint of milk to make a thick sauce. I use plain flour.

Melt the butter then  stir in the flour. Cook the flour (stirring) for several minutes until the starch grains 'open' (don't know if it's technically correct but that's what I was taught) and all the mixture goes into a ball. If you add a teeny bit more flour and then it balls you've got it.

I take the pan off the heat and add the milk a tiny bit at a time, stiring it right in. This avoids lumps.

Then I return the pan to the heat and heat gently stirring all the time.

Takes about fifteen minutes to do properly.

bethalize, i think you've given a great overview.  i would only add the following for the OP.  you need a whisk.  whisk the butter when you are adding the flour so the flour blends into the butter smoothly, whisk the butter and flour mixture when you are cooking the roux, whisk the milk into the roux, slowly, off the heat, until smooth.  whisk while the sauce is on the heat and thickening.  whisk constantly for a smooth sauce!

and personally, i heat the milk for a white sauce until it is nicely warm in the microwave.  it takes less time for the sauce to heat and thicken that way.

i will depart on only one point.  i really don't care if i have the flecks from black pepper in my white sauce.  probably because just about any dish i'm preparing will have pepper included anyway, so the black flecks from the pepper doesn't matter.

and OP?  following my method, i've made white sauce in stainless steel Farberware and Calphalon, on both electric stoves and gas stoves.  it's all in the whisk (wrist?).  with a dollop of patience.

redwineonsundays

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2008, 11:48:33 PM »
I made white sauce today to see if it works, and it did!!!!   I'm going to make some more tonight for SO's dinner.
I'm eating 'special dinner' at the moment to fit in a particular dress so no white sauce for me  :(
Shame! First time I make it properly and I don't get to eat it!! Except for the 1.. no 2... actually 3 teaspoons of it that I tested in my trial today
Thankyou for all for your advice!! I actually printed out the replies and followed them!



:)
« Last Edit: February 05, 2008, 11:50:36 PM by redwineonsundays »

Elle

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Re: Foolproof white sauce - I am scared of it now!
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2008, 11:50:28 PM »
The trick is to get the flour particles covered in fat before adding liquid.