Mother sauces, first classified by French Chef Marie-Antoine Carême and later codified by Auguste Escoffier, are the starting points for countless ‘daughter’ sauces in French cuisine. These foundations are essential to traditional French culinary creations, but by adding various ingredients can be transformed into a wide range of sauces ready to enhance and complete different dishes.
Chef Instructors from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, have come together to create fun and useful videos demonstrating these traditional sauces and offering fresh takes on how to further enhance them. In honor of our namesake Auguste Escoffier’s birthday in October, all five mother sauces will be addressed:
- Béchamel Sauce
- Velouté Sauce
- Espagnole Sauce
- Hollandaise Sauce
- Tomate Sauce
First up is Escoffier Online Chef Instructor Luke Shaffer describing the process for creating the very versatile white roux, Béchamel.
Yields 1 quart
- 2 oz Unsalted Butter
- 2 oz All-Purpose Flour
- 1 qt Whole Milk
- In a small sauce pot, gently warm milk – be careful not to boil or scorch.
- In a medium sauce pot, melt butter over medium heat.
- Whisk flour into butter to create a roux – be careful not to brown.
- While whisking, slowly add warm milk to the roux. Ensure no lumps remain.
- Reduce heat to low and allow sauce to cook just until raw flour flavor is cooked out. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
- Once complete, the sauce can be seasoned and flavored in any number of ways, depending on the final application.
Escoffier Boulder Lead Chef Instructor Richard Jensen, introduces the next mother sauce, Velouté.
- 2 oz Fat (clarified butter, oil, etc), melted
- 2 oz All-Purpose Flour
- 1.5 qt White stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine melted butter and flour to make a blonde roux. Cool to room temperature.
- Bring stock to boil, and vigorously whisk in room temperature roux.
- Simmer and skim for approximately 25-30 minutes. Adjust consistency and season to taste.
- Strain through a chinois.
- Cool or hot hold for service. Melted butter may be added to the top of the sauce to prevent “skin” from forming
RATIO: 4 oz of roux thickens 5 cups liquid to produce one quart of sauce
Toques off to Escoffier Online Chef Instructor Kevin Quinn, who demonstrates our third mother sauce, Espagnole.
Yields 2 quarts
- 8 oz Brown Roux
- 3 qt Brown Stock
- 1 qt additional brown stock
- 1# Coarse chopped tomato
- 1 # MirePoix
- In a deep thick sauce pan dissolve the roux adding 3 qt brown stock.
- Bring sauce to a boil while constantly stirring.
- Let the sauce simmer slightly off-center to create a convection of scum pooling to the side, Depouillage (skim) as needed.
- It is advisable to change saucepans 2 or 3 times during the cooking process straining with a chinoise/cheesecloth each time; approx cooking time 2 hours.
- Add additional brown stock to replace evaporated stock, 1# fresh tomatoes and Mirepoix
- The sauce is then reduced to 2 qt desired quantity and strained an additional time.
Espagnole Sauce Half-Glaze Variation
- 1 qt Finished Espagnole sauce
- 1 qt Brown Stock
- 4oz Sherry
Reduce 1 qt of the Espagnole sauce and 1 qt brown stock until you achieve 1 qt: skimming constantly. Strain and finish with sherry. This is an excellent base for all smaller brown sauces.
Chef Instructor Clif Dickerson of the Escoffier Austin campus shares his secrets for the perfect Hollandaise Sauce- the 4th in our Mother Sauce series.
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup clarified butter
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt, to taste
- Start by clarifying the butter: In a small saucepan, melt unsalted butter over low heat. Skim off and discard the foam that rises to the top. Gently pour the clear, clarified butter into a separate container, leaving the milk solids behind. Set the clarified butter aside.
- Fill the bottom of a double boiler with a few inches of water and bring it to a gentle simmer over low to medium heat.
- In the top part of the double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks and lemon juice until well combined.
- Place the top part of the double boiler over the simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the top pan.
- Slowly drizzle in the clarified butter into the egg yolk mixture while continuously whisking. Make sure to add the butter very gradually, so the sauce emulsifies properly.
- Continue to whisk gently as the sauce thickens. This should take about 10-15 minutes, and you want the sauce to reach a temperature of about 160°F (71°C).
- Season the Hollandaise sauce with a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Adjust the seasoning to your preference.
- Once the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency (it should coat the back of a spoon), remove it from the heat.
- Serve the Hollandaise sauce immediately over poached eggs, vegetables, or your choice of dish. Enjoy!
Remember to maintain a gentle and steady heat, and to whisk continuously to prevent curdling and ensure a smooth sauce.
Escoffier Director of Education, Chef Stephanie Michalak White, closes out our Mother Sauce tribute with a demonstration of Sauce Tomate – the fifth and final in our Mother Sauce series.
- 2 oz Olive Oil
- 1.5 oz Carrots, peeled and small-diced
- 1.5 oz White or yellow onion, small-diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 oz all-purpose flour
- 1, 28-oz Tomatoes, canned, crushed
- 1 cup Vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a saucepot over medium heat.
- Add the carrots and onions, and allow to sweat until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add in the flour to make a roux, and cook for about a minute or two until it is blonde in color.
- Stir in the bay leaf and thyme.
- Add in the crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 90 minutes, stirring often to ensure the sauce does not burn.
- Once it has reduced and the flavor has had time to concentrate, remove the sauce from the heat. Remove the bay leaf and thyme stem, and pass through a food mill.
- Serve warm as desired or rapidly chill to store sauce until ready to use.