Basic Off the Shelf Brown And White Sauces

Basic sauces in a sauce boat on a white background.
Image by pastel100 from Pixabay

Sauces make a dish. I should think every chef in the world who has an ounce of pretension to be great will understand how to make a basic roux to make a white sauce say. Its one of the ways to lift a dish. the addition of a sauce is there to turn food into something rather special. However for more ordinary cooks like myself then the luxury of a sauce often comes out of a bottle.

In the current times sauces have been flying off the shelves because home cooking has meant more of us experimenting with food and looking for suitable products to turn ordinary humdrum recipes into the sublime. It’s also a relatively inexpensive way of trying something new. From a product development perspective it’s meant looking at new ways to make sauces and condiments for that matter.

In recent years new sauces have very much been about regional and ethnic flavours as well coming up with something bold. It’s also been an opportunity to develop a more extensive range and to satisfy dietary requirements.

White Sauce

One of the basic sauces is a simple white sauce because it is also the base for so many other types. For many cooks at home the Bechamel sauce is one of the most popular because it used as a topping for lasagne and as a classic sauce for fish, meat, pie fillings and so on. Even before this is made a simple roux needs to be made.

In the home a roux is a base of flour with a small amount of added butter to which hot water is added. On a commercial basis a few companies offer roux granules as a dry powder. In all cases hot or boiling water is added to these granules in a saucepan. The sauce is brought to a quick boil and simmered for about a minute with continuous whisking. That would be a white sauce.

White roux granules
Photo by Unilever, c/o Amazon

A brown sauce is one where a meat stock or broth is added instead of water to the same type of product. It’s also a good thickener where the granules are simply sprinkled directly into any boiling mixture. A good example of this type of simple white roux product comes from Unilever under the Knorr brand which offers such a wide range. To meet demand they usually come in commercial packs of 1kg which makes roughly 10 litres. The butter is replaced with palm fat and the starch comes from wheat flour which is a common enough ingredient.

 

 

Bisto as a brand are known for brown sauce granules to make their eponymous gravy but they also have a white sauce mix in their portfolio. This one is not easy to find in the shops.

Bisto Gravy Granules 1.9kg
c/o Bisto.

Brown sauces are of course purely designed for meat products and gravy is to a Sunday lunch what tonic is to gin. The catering pack for Bisto gravy granules can make a whopping 25 litres of gravy. Bisto which is a brand from Premier Foods Group in the UK also offer a range of other flavours to complement this particular product. There are chicken gravy granules which is ideal with roast chicken, vegetable gravy granules and onion gravy granules too.

Bisto Chicken Gravy Granules, 350g

 

The Mars brand Dolmio® have a creamy lasagne  pasta sauce which provides the home cook with a convenient and easy approach if you are not up to making your own sauce or simply do not have the time. The flavour needs some additional work before it is used and has not received the greatest reviews. We believe it needs nutmeg added to it to achieve the more authentic taste. Some developers have said it needed cheese such as ricotta or even parmesan to bring it back. We would leave the product to the home chefs to decide.

The Chef brand from Parmalat is also a noted name in quality packaged sauces. The Bechamel sauce comes in a 500ml carton. We like it because it contains Whole MilkCreamWheat Flour, Corn Starch, Salt. This may be a better lasagne sauce than the Dolmio product and to our eyes it has a stronger cheesier flavour. 

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