Recipes > Sauces & Spreads > Bechamel Sauces > Bechamel, or French White Sauce

Bechamel, or French White Sauce


  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 bay-leaf
  • 1 small faggot of savoury herbs
  • salt to taste
  • 3 or 4 mushrooms, when obtainable
  • 2 pints of white stock
  • 1 pint of cream
  • 1 tablespoonful of arrowroot


Put the stock into a stewpan, with the parsley, cloves, bay-leaf, herbs, and mushrooms; add a seasoning of salt, but no pepper, as that would give the sauce a dusty appearance, and should be avoided. When it has boiled long enough to extract the flavour of the herbs, etc., strain it, and boil it up quickly again, until it is nearly half-reduced. Now mix the arrowroot smoothly with the cream, and let it simmer very gently for 5 minutes over a slow fire; pour to it the reduced stock, and continue to simmer slowly for 10 minutes, if the sauce be thick. If, on the contrary, it be too thin, it must be stirred over a sharp fire till it thickens. This is the foundation of many kinds of sauces, especially white sauces. Always make it thick, as you can easily thin it with cream, milk, or white stock.

Time: Altogether, 2 hours.


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The Book of Household Management (1861).

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