The 5 Mother Sauces All Chefs Should Know


Do you know what the 5 mother sauces are, Chef?

Confused on why you should know what they are?


In the early 19th century Marie-Antoine Carême created what he considered to be the four grandes sauces of French cuisine: béchamel, espagnole, velouté, and allemande.

Then in the early 20th century, Auguste Escoffier changed this list to the contemporary five “mother sauces” by dropping allemande as a daughter sauce of velouté, and adding hollandaise and sauce tomate, in his classic Le Guide Culinaire.

These 5 mother sauces serve as the starting point for a whole load of other classic dishes, so if you want to be at the top of your game in the culinary world- it’s crucial you know your facts on the 5 mother sauces..

1. Béchamel
Béchamel sauce is made by whisking scalded milk gradually into a white flour-butter roux. The thickness of the final sauce depends on the proportions of milk and flour that are added. Béchamel sauce is often a main ingredient in many lasagna recipes.

2. Velouté
Velouté sauce is a light stock such as veal, chicken or fish stock, that is thickened with a blond roux. The ingredients of a velouté are equal parts by mass butter and flour to form the roux, a light chicken, veal, or fish stock, and salt and pepper for seasoning. The sauce produced will often be referred to by the type of stock used, for example: chicken velouté. Sauce velouté is commonly served on poultry or seafood dishes.

3. Espagnole
Espagnole sauce is a dark brown roux, which water or veal stock is added, along with browned bones, beef, vegetables and different seasonings. This blend is slowly reduced whilst often being skimmed. Tomato paste or puree are added near the end of the process, and the sauce is further reduced.

Espagnole has a strong taste and is rarely used directly on food. As a mother sauce, however, it serves as the starting point for many derivative sauces including Demi-glace.

4. Sauce Tomat
Sauce Tomat is any of a huge number of sauces made essentially out of tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish, rather than as a condiment. Tomatoes have a rich flavor, low liquid content, very soft flesh which breaks down easily, and the right composition to thicken up into a sauce when they are cooked, without the need of thickeners like roux. All of these attributes make them perfect for simple and appealing sauces. Marinara Sauce is an American-Italian term for a simple tomato sauce which includes herbs—mostly parsley and basil.

5. Hollandaise
Hollandaise sauce is made using a combination of butter and lemon juice or vinegar using egg yolks as the emulsifying agent to bind the sauce, often seasoned with salt and a little black pepper or cayenne pepper. Hollandaise sauce is well known as a main ingredient in Eggs Benedict. A normal ratio of ingredients is 1 egg yolk: 1 teaspoon lemon juice: 4-6 Tbs. butter. A common derivative of Hollandaise Sauce is Sauce Béarnaise which is produced by replacing the lemon reduction in hollandaise with a strained reduction of vinegar, shallots, fresh chervil, fresh tarragon and crushed peppercorns.

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