This article is the second episode in a series of articles on sauces, either fabricated using sous vide, or utilized to complement sous vide prepared foods.

The link to the first article is HERE

Let the Dominoes Fall

Once we finished the veloute in our last episode, I preserved it for subsequent examination. I will caution the reader, veloute’s appearance can change quite dramatically after being refrigerated, as is shown in the pic below. It almost looks like mashed potatoes:

Veloute becomes quite stiff over night in the refrigerator. In restaurant kitchens, basic sauces are frequently made in amounts intended to last several days. Veloute is the least adaptable to this practice. Usually, it is strong enough to be sliced into cubes, which promptly break when heated.

Using sous vide, the veloute can be reheated with the minimum of friction, so we used a Ziploc freezer bag in a 183F/84C bath. Once it was hot, we removed it from the bath, and you can see the sort of mottled texture that results in the bottom left of the slide.

We carefully paddled it into some cream as if to make one of our emulsions. Again, we’re trying to be as gentle as possible. You can see, above and below, the veloute does not really want to cooperate. The clusters (not lumps!) are visible, resisting being broken apart.

maybe we could just say it’s tapioca?

Even so, we did manage to rework the sauce into a servable state, using a coarse strainer:

Our luncheon guests that day were none the wiser, and they enjoyed the corn croquettes with veloute that resided next to the smoked meatloaf.Looking closely, however, the sort of grainy quality is evident. It wasn’t there yesterday. The conclusion is, if you make veloute, make just enough for today. I did manage to fold some (cold) into the corn croquette farci.

 How much are you willing to Béchamel?

Making Béchamel really is easier than making Veloute, but not much. Since cream itself is already an emulsion, it tends to preserve those characteristics, provided no acid is introduced into it. The first steps paralleled those used to make the veloute. We measured out:

  • Cream, 1 cup/225ml
  • Milk, 1 cup/225ml
  • Flour, 2 oz./56g.
  • Butter, 2oz./56g.

Note: I poked around the internet, I even read some instructions on labels. In general, recipes called for less flour than I used to make these sauces. I made identical samples using traditional methods, to make sure the flour was behaving the same regardless of the technology, and it was. I don’t know what else to tell you!

I mixed the milk with the flour to a light paste, added the cream, and the butter, we left out all seasonings because they’re not part of the chemistry. I even have a new nutmeg grater, but that stuff can all go in later.

Into the Ziploc Bag, into the bath at

183F/84Cx1 hour.

At least an hour. Two hours, three hours, not to worry. Sous vide is that forgiving, and so are the balloons if you don’t agitate them. I pulled the bag, and let it sit there for a minute to make it easier to handle. You can see a little butter floating around, I expected that.

I didn’t knead it, I don’t want to say I fondled it, but I mooshed it around a little, and it was pretty darned smooth, yay. I staged it into a container, and, that’s right, I DID NOT WHIP IT.

Rubber spatulas are our friends. I simply swirled it gently until the butter was incorporated. Again, no seasonings, because they are not part of the chemistry. I have a new nutmeg grater, we’ll break it out later!

The sauce stands up on the spatula, and that’s okay.

The only thing more beautiful than that is the Boos Block underneath it. *sigh* smh. I am very grateful. I got it on sale, half price, purely by accident. It was a return, they didn’t know what they were ordering. Imagine their surprise!

I want to show some applications of the béchamel, but I also want to share this with everybody who enjoyed the first article. As always, stay tuned!