Mistakes Everyone Makes With Béchamel

A béchamel sauce is a quintessential sauce to master, because it can be used in so many different dishes. If you're not familiar with the sauce, it's a simple combination of milk, butter, and flour that's cooked (via The Kitchn). Once it has been cooked and thickened into a smooth, creamy sauce, béchamel can be used in soufflés, cheese sauces, and even as a binder in casseroles.

However, the worst thing that can happen to a béchamel sauce is for it to end up as a lumpy cooked concoction. That's why you want to avoid some of the more common mistakes. One tip to keep in mind is to cook the sauce long enough so it will thicken properly. Otherwise, the mixture won't achieve the right texture. It's also important to set the flame on the stovetop before you start cooking the sauce and leave it alone. If you adjust the flame to be higher, it could burn the sauce. It should cook low and slow (via Cookist).

The biggest mistake when making this sauce is using the wrong ratio

The main thing you have to keep in mind to make the perfect béchamel sauce is the right ratio. It's easy to eyeball it, but it could ruin your sauce. Instead, always measure out two ounces of the fat you plan to use — be it butter, ghee, or an alternative — to three ounces of all-purpose flour. This combination will make the roux. Finally, add in a quart of milk to thicken the sauce, though less milk will result in an even thicker sauce. Just don't get it too thick.

There are a couple of other tricks to achieving the perfect béchamel sauce. You should plan to use room temperature milk. Cold milk can cause the thickening sauce to pop and splatter as it cooks while room temperature milk will cause less of a reaction. It's also important to add the milk a little bit at a time, so that it can be absorbed into the roux instead of shocking it. When the milk is added all at once, it often ends up in a lumpy béchamel.

So, keep these tips in mind and you'll have better chances of getting the sauce just right.