Modern technique for bechamel?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by eastshores, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. eastshores

    eastshores

    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    299
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I didn't want to insert this into the other thread on mother sauces, but I recently made a mornay which began as a bechamel and then was blended with a mix of grated gruyere and parmesan. I started my sauce using a butter/flour roux and then incorporated cream/milk to get the consistency I wanted. In the other thread someone basically mocked this classic approach and I was wondering, is it really true that in kitchens no one makes a bechamel this way?

    If that is true, could someone please enlighten me on what the "modern" technique would be for this?
     
  2. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Well, there is one molecular gastronomy version that uses modified tapioca starch, carageenen, and pressure cooked roux. I have no idea why they go to all the trouble.

    I've only seen the classic method used.
     
  3. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

    Messages:
    2,271
    Likes Received:
    206
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I have an interesting comparaison executed by 3 michelin star chef Peter Goossens - restaurant Hof van Cleve.

    Classic Mornay vs his own more modern version!

    He made Belgian endives rolled in ham in cheese sauce, a classic also known over here as "chicons au gratin". And another more stylish version. If you're courageous enough you can watch both videos in another language than yours. Look for the links at the bottom.

    But, let me summarize a little on his version of non-roux based cheese sauce;

    He calls it sort of a flan, it's lighter since it's only made with pure milk and cheese, no butter, no flour.

    He makes it by boiling 300 gram milk, add 7,5 gram agar-agar, then add 150 gram grated Comté cheese.

    Pour on a tray in a 1/2 inch thick layer and let cool. You can go two ways; simply cutter some of that flan into a gel and pipe it on a dish after it's been warmed a little.

    Second method is to cut different shapes out of the cold flan to decorate the plate and to warm them a little in the oven. The advantage of agar is that it can be warmed as opposed to using gelatine where the shapes would fall apart when reheating them.

    First video is the home version like all Belgian households/foodies make it (sorry it's in dutch);

    http://www.njam.tv/recepten/witloofrolletjes-de-klassieker

     

    Second his own version (yep, dutch again);

    http://www.njam.tv/recepten/witloofrolletjes-hof-van-cleve-style

       
     
  4. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I could see the use of methylcellulose in a bechamel if you're using it as a binder in croquettes or in a filling, because it gets thicker and gels when it gets hot, so it would prevent blowouts and similar faults.

    Watched the second dutch video. Interesting technique of using transglutaminase to bind veggies. Didn't think that was even possible. Also liked the ham crispies he made from the ham left over from the broth. Dunno why he went to the agar route with bechamel. He just pureed it into a fluid gel and warmed it a little bit.
     
  5. eastshores

    eastshores

    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    299
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I can understand using molecular gastronomy techniques if the goal is to transform the sauce into a different form, i.e. using the shapes as a decorative aspect of plating. I suppose with a blonde roux, the flour is really only serving a purpose to thicken the sauce as opposed to say a brick roux that is used as the basis for a gumbo (which imparts a distinct flavor). Still would you consider a milk and cheese sauce that is thickened by means other than flour/butter a "mornay"? Would it be wrong to use the term that refers to a classic sauce, when it is missing elements of the classic sauce? If that is the case then there are a lot of variations on the theme that could end up being called a mornay. Thanks for the replies, it's interesting for sure.
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    176
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I consider myself a cook not a chemist. I do it the old fashioned way.  If you want Gluten free, don't come to my restaurant. I am running a quality operation , not a hospital or Celiac  treatment facility .
     
  7. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Seems to me, Eastshores, that you actually raise a broader issue.

    When I was coming up, classic mornay referred to a sauce in which gruyere and parmesan were melted into a bechamel. Nowadays there are all sorts of variations, to the point where any cheese sauce that started life as a bechamel is now called a mornay.

    That being the case, at what point do the variations stop being mornay and become something else? When you use molecular gastronomy techniques? When a roux is not the base? At some other point?

    If we boiled down cream until it thickened, and melted cheese into it, is it still a mornay? Or is it merely cheese soup? What if we use an egg sauce base, is it still a mornay then? If not, who does that differ than using geletin instead of flour as the thickener.

    The basic question, seems to me, is simply this: At what point, as we move further and further from the essential recipe for something, do we stop communicating? If you say "mornay" to me, it immediately conjurs a mental image. So, let's say you prepare a sauce whose texture and taste is the same as the classic. If you call it mornay, does it matter? Maybe, maybe not. But what if it's a cheese sauce that doesn't resemble the classic at all. Is that still alright? And how would you react when a customer or houseguest called you down on it?

    Taking it a step further, what happens when the whole nature of a dish is based on a classic sauce. A good example is Kentucky Hot Browns, which used a classic mornay sauce. Nowadays most versions use a cheddar sauce. If I order Kentucky Hot Browns, and it comes to me made with a cheddar sauce, am I justified in sending it back?

    Anyway, all that aside, personally I continue making mornay the classic way, with a bit of shallot as part of the bechamel, and equal parts gruyere and parmesan. I would also suggest that whoever mocked this approach, claiming nobody made it like that anymore, doesn't know what he/she is talking about.
     
  8. eastshores

    eastshores

    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    299
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I do a lot of work with semantics in my field and language is a constantly evolving domain. So I think you are correct, that we really cannot limit ones use of a word when they are describing something that has elements of something that may have started it's definition differently. Perhaps the best way to approach it, even though there is still room for interpretation, is to qualify something as "classic" .. whereas a "classic mornay" is understood to be of the original technique and simply "mornay" can be anything resembling the classic? Fondue anyone? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  9. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I dunno if there is room for platonic ideals in an environment so subjective and highly individualistic like cooking, but we need standards, dangit. Words and names should mean something definite.
     
  10. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

    Messages:
    2,271
    Likes Received:
    206
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Maybe even more explicit how modern chefs are able to transform roux-based classic recipes. Same chef, this time making cheese croquettes (roux + cheese).

    1. Cheese croquettes the classic way; http://www.njam.tv/recepten/kaaskroket-de-klassieker

    2. His own version; http://www.njam.tv/recepten/kaaskroket-hof-van-cleve-style

    In his modern version he makes kind of a flan as he calls it, cut in different shapes. Let's use an ancient word for his dish; "deconstructed".

    Small correction on my earlier post; I posted (for making the cheesesauce) "He makes it by boiling 300 gram milk, add 7,5 gram agar-agar, then add 150 gram grated Comté cheese..."

    That isn't entirely correct. He uses the braising liquid of the endives, 200 gram chickenstock and somewhat less than 300 gram milk as a fluid. In total it should be exactly 500 gram. That justifies the use of 7,5 gram agar-agar. Otherwise he would have made a rubber bullit.

    I have to add that this chef is a great fan of preserving the classics and respecting the ingredients. In his own versions he never talks about "Mornay". Of course that wouldn't be right. It's merely searching for modern alternatives as he explains; different shapes, different textures where excellent tastes are always imperative.

    You will need to look very hard to find a chef who's better informed about classic recipes than this guy!! Most of these high ranked 3*** chefs had a very extensive classic training.

     

     

     

     
     
  11. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    176
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    As everything KY said is correct.

         To carry it a bit further Methylcellulose, Guava Gum Paste, Mono and Dyglizerides, Tri Sodiums of any kind, Soy Protein ,Sodium Benzoate, and Yeast Extracts, Albumin powder  are not the basis of a Bechamel ot a Mornay auce. And learn the orgins and what a Kentucky Brown really is.
     
  12. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    And learn the orgins and what a Kentucky Brown really is.

    The real irony of that, Ed, is that they no longer make Hot Browns the correct (i.e., original) way at Brown's, in Louisville, where in originated in the 1920s.

    The original started life as sort of an open-faced chicken sandwich. Bread was laid on a plate (traditionally in an elongated diamond). This was covered with poached chicken slices, then mornay sauce poured over it. Bacon was criss-crossed over the top, and the whole thing garnished with mushrooms before being popped under the broiler to brown up and turn bubbly.

    Later they switched to poached turkey instead of chicken. And, while I haven't been able to confirm this, given the time frame I would guess the mushrooms were carved.

    Versions, nowadays, are all over the map. Most (including the ones at the Brown) use a cheddar sauce. Often enough, ham is included as well as the  chicken or turkey. And tomatoes are used for the garnish, instead of the original mushrooms. More often than not, the bread is toasted with modern versions, which was not the case with the original.
     
  13. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    .....but we need standards, dangit. Words and names should mean something definite.

    Amen! brother.

    While it's true that language evolves, the goal should remain communicating. And you don't do that by dumbing down.

    If you want a generic classification, that's fine. In this case the category would be "cheese sauce."  But mornay referred to a specific arrangement of ingredients, and, once we move away from that, the name should not be used. 

    How about this. We'll start by reducing ham stock with a little red wine until it's syrupy. Then add some Spanish blue cheese. And we'll call it mornay on the menu.

    Riduculous? No more so than some of the other variations.  
     
  14. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    176
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I make Brown like that only with a slice of beefsteak tomato. A lot of places use turkey. Mushrooms were turned one on each end of sandwich, and yes it was open faced. Usually served with or after  a  Mint Julep.
     
  15. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Mushrooms were turned one on each end of sandwich

    Ed, can you document that? It's a reasonable presumption, given the time the sandwich originated. But I haven't been able to confirm that the mushrooms were manipulated in any particular way.

    Tomato is the modern way of garnishing Hot Browns, but I stick to the original. My only modification is that I use roast turkey instead of poached.

    One of my more popular apps is a bite-sized version of Hot Browns. Each of them is garnished with a small, carved, button mushroom and bacon lardons. For the app I do toast the bread, so it holds better.
     
  16. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,167
    Likes Received:
    283
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    I think that  names and terms of origin should act as a classification.  It helps both chefs and customers identify a product without having to rename or describe.

    Renaming items leads to confusion.

    A class is defined as "a collection of similar entities", where the similarity consists of the entities having attributes or traits in common.[1]  

    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gif
     
  17. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    176
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I saw a picture of it on the inside of an issue of Restaurant Business magazine a while back. And I have also used roast turkey. Hors d one sounds good.
     
  18. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    I think that  names and terms of origin should act as a classification.

    You can get carried away with that idea real fast, though. Which takes you back to square one of noncommunication.

    For instance, the traits all those things mentioned above have in common is that they have cheese in them, and they are sauces. That constitutes a pretty huge class of things. Beer and stilton make a nice sauce, but it's not Mornay.

    Classification is based on the idea that there's a system, an heirarchy that proceeds from the broadest to the narrowest, so that everybody can readily identify what's being discussed. Look at the way plants and animals are classified, for example. Using that as a model, one breakdown might be:

    Class: Sauces.

    Order: Roux-based sauces.

    Family: White roux-based sauces.

    Genus: White roux-based sauces made with dairy.

    Species: Cheese sauces.

    Variety: Mornay

    What happens is that, as you follow the tree, each smaller branch has more things in common than not, until reaching the point where all the characteristics are the same.

    In this rubric (and, in fact, in reality), Mornay is a variety that, while having all the broader characteristics in common with each other category, shares it's specific characteristics with no other product. It's classification, the way you are using the word, consists of a group with only one member.

    On the other hand, there are many members of the group called "cheese sauces," many more in the group called "white roux-based sauces made with dairy," etc.

    The way classic sauces are broken down does, indeed, follow such a pattern. It just doesn't use the same group names. We talk about mother sauces, and derivitive sauces, and derivitives of derivities. But in each case, a named sauce consists of specific ingredients handled in a specific way. Thus, we have White Roux sauces, of which there are two in the group (one made with dairy and one made with stock). The dairy-based mother sauce is called Bechamel, from which cheese sauces are derived, one of which is Mornay.

    So, yeah, things fall into categories. But if we are to communicate there has to be a common language. Applying the name "Mornay" to a beer & Stilton sauce takes us away from the common language, and we no longer are communicating effectively.
     
  19. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    176
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Interesting. How would a Welsh Rarebit be classified??
     
  20. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    I'm not looking to set up a taxonomic key for every sauce ever made, Ed. Just making a point. But you raise a good one. For the folks who argue that a non-roux, non-dairy sauce is a Mornay just because it has cheese in it, Welsh Rarebit would be a Mornay.

    Here's an interesting thought. Virtually every recipe I've seen for Mac & Cheese (well, those that actually use names) has you start by making a Bechamel, and then melting cheese into it. Could be as simple as a handfull of cheddar, or as complex as precise quantities of 6 different cheeses. Not one of those recipes has ever referred to the sauce as a Mornay. But if any cheese sauce is a Mornay, shouldn't it be called that when making Mac & Cheese?