Everything You Need to Know About the 5 Mother Sauces

A starting point or base for preparing various secondary sauces, every cook or chef should master the 5 mother sauces. Read the Buzzle article as we give detailed information about all 5 sauces.
Advertisement
The 5 mother sauces
Did You Know?
Before chef Auguste Escoffier refined the original list of mother sauces created by chef Marie-Antoine Carême in the early 20th century, there were four mother sauces―espagnole, velouté, allemande, and béchamel.
In French cuisine, there are a total of five mother sauces that are considered gateways to preparing innumerable other sauces. Each sauce possessing a distinct flavor and texture, these foundational sauces can be enhanced with various spices, herbs, and other ingredients.

The Five Mother Sauces
  1. Béchamel Sauce
  2. Espagnole Sauce
  3. Hollandaise Sauce
  4. Tomate Sauce
  5. Velouté Sauce
Whether you are an amateur cook or a professional chef, it is imperative that you're aware of how to prepare these sauces. Hence, we have provided a step-by-step guide for each of the five mother sauces in chronological order.

Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel Mother Sauce

Béchamel sauce, pronounced as bay-sha-mel, also referred to as the white sauce, is made with a butter-flour roux (roo) cooked in milk. This rich, creamy sauce is mainly used in lasagna, croque-monsieur, moussaka, cheese macaroni, and pie fillings. As the recipe is relatively easy, the Béchamel sauce should definitely be the first one to master.

Serving Size - 600 ml
Ingredients
  • Whole milk, 500 ml
  • Unsalted butter, room temp., 30 g
  • Plain flour, 30 g
  • Salt, 3 g
  • White pepper, a pinch
Tools Required
  • Heavy-bottom saucepan, medium, 2
  • Wooden spoon
  • Whisk
Directions
  1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  2. Once you see the butter start to foam, add flour and use a wooden spoon to stir until smooth. Keep the heat steady, and cook the mixture till it reaches a light, sandy color.
  3. Meanwhile, take another saucepan to heat the milk over medium-low heat until it begins to boil.
  4. Once the roux is ready, gradually add warm milk in the roux as you continuously stir the mixture with a whisk.
  5. Bring the sauce to boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer so that it can cook thoroughly. Make sure you constantly stir the sauce for at least 5 minutes.
  6. Use a wooden spoon to check whether the sauce coats the back or not. If yes, the sauce is ready and all it requires is salt and a pinch of white pepper.
Béchamel sauce can be used as the base for other classic sauces such as Mornay sauce, Crème sauce, mustard sauce, Soubise sauce, cheddar cheese sauce, Nantua sauce, and many more. Apart from salt and white pepper, you can use white onion, cloves, bay leaves, and nutmeg to add more flavor to the sauce.

Ideally, the sauce should be used immediately with whatever recipe you're planning to make. However, if you wish to use the sauce later, bring it down to room temperature before you store it in the refrigerator (up to 2 days). Now, even after following the recipe diligently, if the sauce is a bit lumpy, there is a way to salvage it―use a sieve.

Espagnole Sauce

Espagnole Mother Sauce

Espagnole sauce, pronounced as es-puhn-yohl, also referred to as the brown sauce, is a starting point for demi-glace (demi-glass). It is mostly served with roasted meats like beef, duck, veal, and lamb. This sauce is one of the tougher mother sauces to prepare, so keep a close eye on the recipe and follow accordingly.

Serving Size - 600 ml
Ingredients
  • Roasted beef or veal stock, 1 liter
  • Mirepoix, 100 g*
  • Unsalted butter, room temp., 30 g
  • Plain flour, 30 g
  • Tomato purée, 30 g
  • Bouquet gami, 1**
Tools Required
  • Heavy-bottom saucepan, medium, 2
  • Wooden spoon
  • Whisk
* Mirepoix - 50 g onion, 25 g celery, and 25 g carrots, diced
** Bouquet garni (bundle of herbs) - 1 bay leaf and 1―2 sprigs of parsley and thyme each

Directions
  1. In a saucepan, heat the stock over medium-low heat and bring to a boil. As it starts to boil, remove the pan off the stove and set it aside.
  2. In a new saucepan, add butter and sweat mirepoix (meer-pwah) over medium heat. Cook it until the mirepoix turns brown and soft.
  3. Now, add flour and stir the mixture till it turns golden brown. After about 6―8 minutes, the roux will be ready.
  4. Next, gradually add the hot stock we set aside as you whisk the mixture continuously. This way, nothing will stick to the bottom of the pan, and there will be no lumps.
  5. Add the tomato purée and bouquet garni next. Constantly stir the mixture and bring it to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and let the sauce thicken for an hour. Don't forget to stir the sauce occasionally.
  7. Remove the saucepan off the heat, and strain the mixture through a chinois to get a thick, smooth sauce.
Espagnole sauce can be used as the base for other sauces such as sauce Africaine, Bigarade sauce, Chasseur sauce, Bourguignonne sauce, Bordelaise sauce, Sauce Robert, and many more.

Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise Mother Sauce

Hollandaise sauce, pronounced as ol-uhn-dehz, is a rich, creamy sauce made with butter and thickened with an emulsion of egg yolk. This mildly tangy sauce is served with sous-vide eggs, poached asparagus, grilled salmon, poached chicken, and Eggs Benedict. Even though the recipe may appear a bit complicated, or tough to execute, with a little practice, you'll be making hollandaise in your sleep.

Serving Size - 300 ml
Ingredients
  • Unsalted butter, cold and diced, 250 g
  • Water, 30 g
  • Egg yolks, large, 4
  • Lemon juice, for taste
  • Salt and black pepper, for taste
Tools Required
  • Heavy-bottom saucepan, medium, 1
  • Whisk
Directions
  1. In a saucepan, combine cold butter, egg yolks, and water. Keep the heat at low, and whisk the ingredients gently.
  2. After the butter melts and begins to foam, turn the heat to medium-low, and whisk until the sauce thickens.
  3. Remove the saucepan off the heat, and keep whisking so that the sauce doesn't curdle.
  4. Once the sauce is thick enough in consistency, stir in lemon juice, salt, and black pepper, and serve.
Hollandaise sauce can be used as a base sauce for other sauces such as Béarnaise sauce, Maltaise sauce, Mousseline sauce, Choron sauce, Foyot sauce, and many more.

Tomate Sauce

Tomate Mother Sauce

Tomate sauce, pronounced as toe-maht, is a slightly complicated version of a basic tomato sauce that is served with pasta. As in French cuisine, a sauce is traditionally thickened with a roux. Although nowadays, the reduction or purée of tomatoes can get the job done.

Serving Size - 400 ml
Ingredients
  • Veal or chicken stock, 1 liter
  • Tomato purée, 1 can, 400 g
  • Tomatoes, chopped, 1 can, 400 g
  • Mirepoix, 200 g*
  • Streaky bacon, diced, 50 g
  • Oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Bouquet garni, 1**
  • Garlic cloves, crushed, 1
  • Salt and black pepper, for taste
  • Sugar, a pinch
Tools Required
  • Stockpot, large, 1
  • Hand blender
  • Chinois
* Mirepoix - 100 g onion, 50 g celery, and 50 g carrots, diced
** Bouquet garni - 1 bay leaf and 1―2 sprigs of parsley and thyme each

Directions
  1. In a stockpot, heat oil over medium-low heat, and add the streaky bacon to get the fat.
  2. As the fat from the bacon is out, add mirepoix and cook for about 5―10 minutes, or until it turns soft.
  3. Next, add chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, crushed garlic, bouquet garni, and the stock in the pot.
  4. Place a lid over the pot, and let the mixture come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and let it cook for another 2 hours.
  5. Take the bouquet garni out, and remove the pot off the heat. With a hand blender, purée the sauce to get a smooth paste.
  6. Use a chinois to strain the sauce. Season it with salt, black pepper, and sugar, and mix everything properly.
  7. You can use the sauce as is, or store it in the refrigerator for at least 2 days.
Tomate sauce can be used as a base sauce for other sauces such as Creole sauce, Portuguese sauce, Provençale sauce, and many more.

Velouté Sauce

Velouté Mother Sauce

Velouté sauce, pronounced as vuh-loo-tay, is a blond-colored sauce made with stock. Ideally paired with the same meat as the stock used for the recipe, Velouté doesn't require extra seasoning.

Serving Size - 400 ml
Ingredients
  • Stock, 500 ml
  • Unsalted butter, room temp., 30 g
  • Plain flour, 30 g
Tools Required
  • Heavy-bottom saucepan, medium, 2
  • Wooden spoon
  • Whisk
  • Chinois
Directions
  1. Depending on the dish, you can use white veal, chicken, vegetable, or fish stock for making the sauce. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the stock over a low simmer.
  2. In a different saucepan, melt butter over low heat until it starts to foam, and not boil.
  3. Now add flour to the melted butter, and with a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until you get a thick, smooth paste.
  4. Once the mixture gives you a nice light, sandy color, the roux is ready.
  5. Increase the heat to a medium, and gradually add the warm stock in. Constantly stir the mixture as you don't want lumps in the sauce.
  6. After the stock has been added, bring the sauce to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer.
  7. Frequently stir the sauce, and cook it for about 15―20 minutes. When you see that the sauce is thick and velvety, it's time to remove it from the heat.
  8. Use a chinois to strain the sauce; this will make the sauce extra smooth. The sauce is now ready to be included in any other recipe you may like.
Velouté sauce can be used as a base sauce for other sauces such as Albufera sauce, Allemande sauce, Aurore sauce, ravigote sauce, Normandy sauce, Venetian sauce, poulette sauce, and many more. This sauce doesn't require any additional flavoring as it is used only as a base.

As we mentioned earlier, once you've got the hang of making these foundation sauces, it'll be easier to create other sauces by a few tweaks here and there. Always read and familiarize yourself with a recipe before you begin. That way, you won't get overwhelmed with all the information, and can focus more on getting it right each time.
By
Published: May 3, 2014
Post a Comment
Name: