Bechamel Sauce

35
10
Joined Aug 12, 2003
Hi I used to woek for a family run Italian Hot Table / Catering Place ,They used to make a Bechamel sauce to go into their lasagna ,I know they used a pound of butter and a litre /quart of milk ,but I cannot for the life of me remember how much flour they would have used ! Can anybody help me ?
 
8,550
207
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Yo Keel,

Bechamel is ordinarily made with roughly equal parts of butter and flour.  The normal ratio for a light bechamel made with 1 qt milk is  1/4 cup each flour (~1 oz) and butter (2 oz).  Although a little extra butter can be a good thing, a pound, or kilo of butter per liter of milk sounds very wrong.  Is it possible they used one stick? 

BDL
 
Last edited:
929
18
Joined Jul 28, 2006
The bechamel sauce I make at home is 2-2-2:  2Tbs butter, 2Tbs flour, 2Cups milk.  If I need more sauce than what that yields,  I go 3-3-3, or 4-4-4 etc.  Works for me.  Of course in a commercial setting you might need to make a greater volume of sauce at a time,  but the ratios would not change much, if at all. 
 
Last edited:
2,311
628
Joined Feb 8, 2009
The Bechamel sauce is a Mother sauce that is a starter sauce for other sauces. When most Chefs make a Bechamel sauce it will be a bit loose, so when making a Cheddar cheese sauce or Mornay sauce the cheese will thicken the sauce to the consistency the Chef needs for the dish.If your replacing the Ricotta mixture with the Bechamel, I would make the Bechamel a bit thicker so it stays where you want it. You can thicken the Bechamel with more blond Roux or some cheese that you may think will compliment the dish......................Take care and good luck......ChefBillyB
 
35
10
Joined Aug 12, 2003
You Know what it might have been ,She may have 1Lb butter & 3 Litres (Bags) of milk & the lb of butter,
 
2,261
318
Joined Oct 9, 2008
You Know what it might have been ,She may have 1Lb butter & 3 Litres (Bags) of milk & the lb of butter,
That sounds better. Converting the milk from metric, that's about a gallon (16 cups). The butter is 32 Tb, and the flour the same (1 pound). Per 2 Tb butter and 2 Tb flour, that yields 1 cup milk. That's a very thick bechamel, but using it as a base for a lot of things that's not unreasonable.
 
5,516
183
Joined Apr 3, 2010
 Something isn't right .If they used as you state 1 pound of butter, the finished product would have been topped with oil or butter fat from the  butter. Based on 1 qt of milk. If they used the flour in proportion to the amount of butter and only 1 qt.milk , they would have wound up with wallpaper paste not a sauce. BDL" s ratio is more in line
 
35
10
Joined Aug 12, 2003
Yes I agree it was 3 quarts of milk or up here in O'Canada 3 x1 Litre Bags /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
 
8,550
207
Joined Feb 13, 2008
AmazingGrace's proportions are bog standard, just like mine.  Your revised memory of 1 lb of butter to 3L of milk is still way too much butter.  1 lb of butter should handle 2 gal (about 7L) of milk on the nosey.  Remember, you're going for velvety, not (as Ed warned against) greasy concrete.  Maybe those bags of milk were 2L instead of 1.  

BDL
 
Last edited:
182
19
Joined Mar 3, 2010
i work at intalian spot and we make our bechemel wit a 1# buttter, about 12 oz flour and gallon of milk. i usually eye it out and it turn out good. dont forget the the onion pique and nutmeg. i never seen a lasagna being made wit bechemel though, we just use bolagnaise and ricotta, and a mixtureof  pecorino and parm .
 
Last edited:
5,516
183
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Greek style Lasagna(Mousaka), seafood lasagna, vege lasagna all made with bechamel. French border Bolognaise finished with heavy cream or light Bechamel
 
2,261
318
Joined Oct 9, 2008
I'm no expert, but my understanding is that within Italy, the use or non-use of bechamel in lasagne is as much regional as it is about ingredients.

It's the same thing with the use of certain cheeses in certain dishes, or use of beans or tomatoes or bread or farro or pasta, and so on. Americans tend to forget (if they ever knew) that "Italy" isn't all one thing -- it's a hodgepodge of very different regional peoples who only sort of share a language, much less a cuisine. This is why it's silly to get het up about things like the use of cheese with fish, for example, which the morons on Chopped scream about as inauthentic in all Italian food --- which means, apparently, that Sicily and Naples are inauthentic. I suspect there are people in Italy who would agree, who'd say that Sicilians and Neapolitans are not, in fact, Italian, but I don't know that we ought to get into ancient fights like that.

Anyway, yes, go ahead and use bechamel in lasagne if you like it.
 
3,599
45
Joined Aug 13, 2006
I'm no expert, but my understanding is that within Italy, the use or non-use of bechamel in lasagne is as much regional as it is about ingredients.

It's the same thing with the use of certain cheeses in certain dishes, or use of beans or tomatoes or bread or farro or pasta, and so on. Americans tend to forget (if they ever knew) that "Italy" isn't all one thing -- it's a hodgepodge of very different regional peoples who only sort of share a language, much less a cuisine. This is why it's silly to get het up about things like the use of cheese with fish, for example, which the morons on Chopped scream about as inauthentic in all Italian food --- which means, apparently, that Sicily and Naples are inauthentic. I suspect there are people in Italy who would agree, who'd say that Sicilians and Neapolitans are not, in fact, Italian, but I don't know that we ought to get into ancient fights like that.

Anyway, yes, go ahead and use bechamel in lasagne if you like it.
Yeah, Chris, i think there was a thread about it some time ago, in fact, i think i started that thread asking how ricotta got into lasagne in the states, when i've never encountered it in italy.  I imagine there is some place where they use ricotta. 

Generally, though it's made all over italy, people here associate lasagne with bologna and emilia romagna in general, but of course there are variations even in the bechamel lasagne. 

About the people who would like the north to secede, oh well.  Someone made a funny poster for federalism in italy, except they divided it vertically, east and west!
 
20
11
Joined Jul 5, 2010
Great posts!

I had no idea italians were soooooooooooo regional till i worked for them! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif

If anyone has any menu  suggestions from the FURLAN / FRULANI region of Italy,id appreciate them,thanks. The word "Casalinga" springs to mind..../img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif
 
309
18
Joined Aug 26, 2010
Is Bechamel meant to be served without seasonings, or is it S&P to taste?  The recipe seems like a bland version of southern (US) milk gravy. 
 
5,516
183
Joined Apr 3, 2010
The way I learned how to make it many, many years ago was add a studded onion to the sauce while it is cooking plus salt and White pepper. A studded onion is a small onion with a Bay leaf attached to it with a Clove holding the Bay leaf. with a slight pinch of Nutmeg. I have made it this way all my life.
 
9,204
68
Joined Aug 29, 2000
I use salt and black pepper (or white pepper if someone else insists) to taste, plus a bit of freshly grated nutmeg. If I don't feel like looking in a cookbook, I use 1 tablespoon each of flour and butter to a cup of milk. If a thicker sauce is needed, I make a quick beurre manie and add more fat and flour.

I'd been thinking lately of a focus for a cooking demo, and this discussion has bumped bechamel to the top of the list. There are so many other things it can morph into, not the least of which is homemade macaroni and cheese. My audience is home cooks (as I am), so I think this will be interesting to them.
 
Last edited:
3,599
45
Joined Aug 13, 2006
Great posts!

I had no idea italians were soooooooooooo regional till i worked for them! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif

If anyone has any menu  suggestions from the FURLAN / FRULANI region of Italy,id appreciate them,thanks. The word "Casalinga" springs to mind..../img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif
Friuli is the region in the north-east, and is highly influenced by austrian cooking - canederli (huge bread and speck (smoked prosciutto) dumplings), and other stuff like that.  I'm not an expert in this at all, just went there a couple of times and I have some cookbooks. I liked the food but it goes well with the cold climate of the alps - never felt quite right here in hot rome.   If you want a recipe for something you remember, i can look it up.  Start a new thread.

casalinga means housewife, so any recipe that's casalingo is home-style (a' la bonne femme). 
 
Top Bottom