How to: make your own white sauce
Making a white sauce can seem like a waste of time when you can buy a jar. But making your own is cheaper, is fresher and I be more delicious. If you are buying your milk in reusable glass bottles, and if you can get flour from a refill shop, then the packaging waste is minimal (just the butter!).
Making your own white (or cheese) sauce also lets you use up bits and bobs to make your sauce more delicious: cheese rinds, parsley stalks and leek tops are just some of the aromatics that can give your white sauce a sweetness and depth that can’t be replicated from a jar.
Once you’ve got your white sauce, use it in cauliflower cheese, lasagne, pasta bakes and more. It will freeze well, so it’s a great way of using up leftover milk before it goes off. Busting food waste and making something creamy to inspire the next meal, the StorrCupboard way.
Make white sauce or cheese sauce - make it extra delicious by using your kitchen leftovers
- Saucepan with lid
- Balloon whisk
- Sharp knife (if using nutmeg)
- 500 ml milk
- Aromatics – all optional but all lovely: freshly ground nutmeg, parsley stalks, leek tops/half an onion, parmesan rind
- Salt & pepper
- 50 grams unsalted butter
- 90 grams plain flour
- For cheese sauce: around 100 grams strong cheese – whatever you like including cheddar, parmesan, blue cheese, even emmental, gouda – this is a great way to clear the fridge
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard optional
- Place the milk in a saucepan with any aromatics. Gently heat until about blood temperature and then leave for at least 5 minutes or up to a day.
- Remove any onion flavourings after half an hour, but leave any bay leaves/cheese rinds until you are ready to cook.
Cooking the white sauce
- Take a jug or bowl, place the colander/sieve on top. Strain any aromatics from your milk into the jug. Discard any lay leaves/leek tops. You can re-use the cheese rind, just rinse and keep in the fridge.
- Place a saucepan on the hob and melt the butter
- Add the flour and, using the balloon whisk or a fork, mix the flour in
- Splash in about 50ml of the milk and make a thick paste
- Keep on adding around 50ml of milk, whisking until all the flour/butter mixture is combined
- Bring gently to the boil and, once it’s popping gently, turn the heat down and stir occasionally for 5 minutes
- Add in the cheese/cheeses and mustard (if using)
- You can use in a lasagne, pasta bake or cauliflower cheese
- Store in a lidded container, for up to a week in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. If using from cold, you will need to warm the sauce up and give it a good stir to remove any lumps that have settled.