I have always been wanting to learn how to make a soufflé and of course with the soufflé comes the béchamel . So I carved out some time for a little of both. A little stumbly, a little scary, but hey, we're learning!
Béchamel was way more tricky than expected, (especially without any pictures for reference for paste consistency); but surprisingly, it turned out! It was absolutely impossible to take pictures of the process to show you here though (which would have been helpful - sorry) but hopefully my explanation will guide you along the way okay. I'll admit this isn't the first time for making béchamel, but it has been long enough that I couldn't recall the roux stage at all and what that paste was to look like. Here's how to I made mine.
(Adapted from I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot)
There are so many varying measurements for béchamel if you look it up. I wanted to stay true to this book though, and so gave it a go. Béchamel is a white sauce but uses milk instead of water (for those just learning like me). It's the foundation of so many different recipes from cheese sauces for things like mac and cheese to soufflés! It's probably a good thing to know.
2 heaping tablespoons of butter (I don't really like recipes that call for heapings like this - it seemed to be a key point to me). So, I added more like 3 Tbsps because the roux was getting too (thick) otherwise I thought. So I'd go with 3.
1/3 cup flour (note - I've seen recipes that say 3 Tbsps of flour with the 3 Tbsps of butter) - my feeling was that 1/3 cup of flour seemed like too much flour. It got way too dry fast. So I added more butter to compensate.
2 cups of hot milk (I warmed mine in the microwave for 2 minutes)
pinch of nutmeg
To start, melt the butter in a saucepan, being sure not to brown it. Stir in (all) of the flour (I didn't the first go and it got complicated). So add it all in at once. Stirring at all times for about 2-3 minutes to form a paste. The paste should have a consistency almost of almond paste (if you're familiar with that). Gradually add the hot milk stirring constantly to try to avoid lumps from forming. Simmer and continue stirring for 10 more minutes. Depending on what thickness you want, you can vary the liquid needed - I added all of the milk and it turned out a nice thickness eventually as it cooked. Season with a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like). Also at this point you could add grated cheese to make a cheese sauce. Note: To make white sauce just replace the hot milk with hot water instead.
Now on to the cheese souffle!
Can you say fromage? Okay, this is not the most impressive soufflé (I know), and by the looks of it I have a long way to go, but by the taste it was pretty spot on! Although it did puff up nicely in the oven, I think I wasn't gentle enough with them for taking pictures. And this tasted amazing!
I did a few things wrong (obviously)... maybe someone will comment to confirm? And because it was quite an undertaking (um béchamel, egg white fluffing, etc.) I wasn't going to do test after test right away. So take this as "soufflé test one". I'll try another one a little later down the road perhaps with hopefully more success. But having said that, it was fun to make! The béchamel was the first step in this recipe which turned out pretty nicely I think. It was the folding in of the egg whites afterwards where I think I went wrong. I don't think I folded enough? (I was loving all that poof too much). And was I supposed to smooth it off at the top before placing it in the oven? I was going for that rustic look? Joking aside, this is definitely an afternoon project, and took a lot longer than planned. I was able to actually cook a soup in between (maybe that was my problem). Anyway, here is the recipe for the cheese soufflé! So good!
(Adapted from I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot)
1 recipe of bechamel sauce
1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese
5 eggs separated (I used medium sized)
salt and pepper
The oven should start at 350˚F and grease your soufflé dish or 6 individual ramekins. I didn't have either, so when I went out to buy there was only the size in between a large soufflé dish and the small ramekins. So I had four individual ramekins. But I'll give you the times for baking for all of them.
So to start, make a very thick béchamel sauce (recipe above). Add the cheese and melt it into the hot béchamel. Once melted, set aside and let this mixture cool. Then add the egg yolks, whisking as you go.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the cheese mixture.
Add your seasoning (salt and pepper) and then pour into your ramekins to just below the top. If using a soufflé dish, bake for at 350˚F for approximately 30 minutes, then turn the heat up to 425˚F and cook for an additional 15 minutes. If baking in the smaller ramekins (6 ramekins) bake for 10 minutes at 350˚F, then turn the heat up to 425˚F and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. If you have the medium sized like me (4 ramekins), I baked mine for 15 minutes at 350˚F and then at 425˚F for an additional 5-7 minutes. Or until it is golden brown and "just set".
And that my friends is it! What have you been making lately? Have you tried any of my other Learn with Me recipes? Any helpful tips to share? Would love to hear them!