Béchamel might be the most versatile mother sauce — that class of sauces that are the backbone of classic French cooking — of all time. Made with milk, butter, and flour, it can become a gravy or a binder for casseroles, cheese sauces, and soufflés. And while it is arguably the easiest mother sauce to master, it is often the most maligned, being hastily made and suffering lumpiness as a result.
You can’t cover those mistakes up with all the cheese in the world, so let’s get it right the first time. By just avoiding a few missteps and following these five simple tips, you can make silky-smooth béchamel every time.