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What are the mother sauces and their derivatives?

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Quick Answer

There are five mother sauces in classical French cuisine: bechamel, veloute, tomato, espagnole and hollandaise sauce. Nearly all other types of sauces can be derived from them.

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Full Answer

The five mother sauces are part of the basis of classic French cuisine. Once a cook or chef knows how to prepare these five sauces, he or she can craft hundreds of derivative sauces with different ingredients and cooking methods.

  • Bechamel - a basic white sauce usually with a whole milk base. Its derivatives include cream sauce, Mornay, cheddar cheese sauce and mustard sauce
  • Veloute - a light stock-based sauce usually made with veal, chicken or fish stock. Derivatives of veloute sauce include white wine sauce, sauce supreme, Allemande, Poulette, Bercy and sauce Normandy
  • Tomato - a tomato-based sauce made from tomato paste, puree or stewed tomatoes. There are many derivatives of tomato sauce, including ketchup, marinara sauce, Creole sauce, Portuguese and Spanish tomato sauce
  • Espagnole - a brown sauce made with a dark brown roux and roasted veal or chicken stock. Derivatives include a variety of gravies, demi-glace, sauce Robert, Bordelaise and Madeira sauce
  • Hollandaise- a sauce made from eggs, lemon juice and butter. Common derivatives seen are mayonnaise, Choron, Foyot, Maltaise, and Bearnaise sauce
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