béchamel tip

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summary: recipe for Infused Milk for Béchamel Sauce; in praise of Laura Calder; snow galore; (click on image to see larger view)

snow The photo was taken on 13 February. We are inundated with snow this year. Some of the snow disappeared in the rain this past weekend (making the roads and sidewalks absolutely treacherous) And what’s going on outside even as I type??!!
I cannot believe it’s snowing again!

So what to do? Hide at home, watch TV and eat comfort food…

And speaking of TV, isn’t Laura Calder great? We recently watched the episode entitled “Béchamel Creations” of her program “French Food at Home”. Before it started, we thought we knew everything about making a béchamel sauce. Ha.

Here’s what we didn’t know: Calder recommended infusing the milk with bay leaf, onion and garlic before making the roux.

T just made macaroni and cheese for lunch, beginning with infused milk as per Calder’s instructions. The flavour of the milk, tasting gently of onion and bay, was fabulous! And the aroma!! Oh my!

Why didn’t we know about infusing milk before this?! :stomp:

Infused Milk for Béchamel Sauce
based on step 1 of Laura Calder’s Basic Béchamel Sauce

  • milk
  • onion
  • garlic
  • bay leaf


  1. Pour milk into a small pot. Add a chunk of onion, a clove or two of garlic and a bay leaf (or two) – it all depends on how much béchamel you’ll be making….
  2. Heat the milk just until it is smiling. Remove from heat and allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Proceed with making béchamel sauce.

Next time we make white sauce or béchamel (say for green bean casserole or lasagne), I know we’ll be using this milk infusion step to make the bechamel. Thank you Laura Calder!

No photo… the infused milk just looks like milk….


Speaking of green bean casserole, we made it the other night, using regular onions that were caramelized. The casserole is BETTER!!! No need to bother with canned onions!

book cover The bechamel recipe is not listed separately in Calder’s cookbook, French Food at Home, but the milk infusing tip is contained in her recipe for soufflé in the book.

If you are not fortunate enough to be able to access Laura Calder’s television show, learn more about her here:


This entry was posted in equipment and techniques, food & drink, posts with recipes, whine on by .

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1 response to “béchamel tip

  1. Terry B (blue kitchen)

    Wow! What a simple, brilliant technique. Thanks, Elizabeth! You could use it for anything you use milk for—macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, sauces… I love that cookbook, by the way. It’s where I found another recipe for a simple and elegant dessert, Rosemary Apricots (blue-kitchen.com/2007/02/28/rosemary-apricots-toute-de-sweet/).

    Infusing the milk is great, isn’t it, Terry? But thanks go entirely to Laura Calder for the idea!
    I haven’t gotten that far in the cookbook yet. But I just peeked ahead and there it is! Rosemary and apricots… what a great idea!


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