You can either make a sauce or buy it ready made, in a jar/tin.
When you make a sauce you have to think about...
- How much time you have to make it
- What equipment and ingredients you have available
- How skilled you are
- What type of sauce you are making
- Your budget
If you have a long time, a stove/hob and are skilled then the best quality coating sauce you can make is a roux. Roux sauces are shiny, smooth and very flavoursome. They come in several forms including- bechamel and veloute. The basic roux ingredients are flour, butter and milk, which you would add other ingredients to, to give it flavour e.g. cheese and ham.
With the same equipment, time and skill you could also make a panada, for binding.
If you are unskilled and don't have much time or equipment you could buy a ready made sauce, such as a ready made curry sauce, or a chilled sauce, such as custard.
If you have a stove or a microwave, but aren't skilled and don't need to cook a high quality sauce you could buy a dry sauce and add it to water. These are cheaper and have a longer shelf life than fresh sauces.
Once sauces are made they are high risk because they are moist, so should be stored in the fridge at 3-5 degrees C.
Protein rich sauces are very high risk because bacteria feed on protein and moisture, so they must be stored in the fridge at 3-5 degrees C, out of the danger zone.
Dry sauces when in their dry form are low risk, so can safely be stored at room temperature in a cupboard where they are away from moisture.
Roux sauces are made from butter, flour and milk. The butter and flour are equal quantities.
When making a roux sauce it is best to use corn flour because it dissolves in the milk, leaving it clear and lump free.
The sauce must be cooked until gelatenization occurs throughout the sauce- this is when all of the starch granules have burst and it thickens the sauce.
If you add the flavouring ingredients before gelatenization has occured throughout the sauce it won't have thickened enough, and the ingredients will cool it down and so it will either not thicken or overcook.
Sauces do many things to a dish:
- They change the texture of a dish, adding moisture.
- They add flavour to a dish.
- They add colour to a dish.
- They add nutritional value to a dish.
- They can bind things together e.g. fish cakes are binded with a panada.
These things, in turn, can make a dish more accomplished, and original.