Oh, this may be a step back in time, but the picture tells the story. Want. Now. For lunch.
2 level Tbsp butter
2 level Tbsp standard flour
400ml (13-14 fl oz) whole milk, cold
Dab of creamy Dijonnaise mustard
½ cup (packed down) grated tasty or vintage Cheddar cheese
1 Gently melt butter in a small saucepan, then remove pan from heat and stir in flour. Blend in the milk one-third at a time using a small wire whisk. Return pan to the heat, blend in salt and mustard and stir constantly until it is boiling. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, stirring, then remove pan from heat. If the sauce is very thick, whisk in a little more milk. Stir in cheese. Beat until smooth and pour into a heated jug. Serve immediately.
How to make a good cheese sauce
If you thought cheese sauce only came in a packet, think again. Made from scratch, with good tasting cheese and a dab of mustard, it is delicious. Yep, it’s totally out of favour now, but it’s so good it deserves to be trotted out every so often. The picture tells the story.
Making a tasty sauce that flows off the spoon is not hard once you know the secrets.
Melt butter – don’t sizzle it – and take pan off the heat when adding flour to prevent lumps forming. Use cold milk to ensure smooth blending, but don’t swamp the roux paste by adding the milk all in one go.
The sauce should be cooked for 2 minutes after it comes to the boil, to cook the flour, but must be stirred constantly.
A wire whisk is more effective than a wooden spoon for getting into the edges of a pan and beating out lumps. If the sauce is really thick, thin it with a little milk before adding cheese. For a traditional cauliflower cheese, the sauce should be thick but still pourable. If pouring the sauce over a baked cauliflower, it needs to be thin enough to flow.
Use sauce immediately or cover pan with a lid to prevent a skin forming. The sauce can be warmed through carefully before serving, but do not reboil or the cheese will go stringy.
The sauce should be nice and thick (measure it) and it should taste delicious (taste it!). Bland cheese will make a bland sauce. Cheap high fat cheese will make an oily sauce and a greasy topping. A good dry tasty cheddar is best.