Creamed Soup

Help! I have a problem making creamed soups. Most recipes call for melting butter, adding flour and stirring until smooth. My problem is that this mixture becomes a sticky, lumpy mess! What am I doing wrong? Also, can I substitute potato flakes for all-purpose flour? —L.S., Big Bend, Wisconsin

Most white sauces begin by whisking flour into melted butter over medium heat until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. This is also the point where lumps can begin. To keep the mixture smooth, it is helpful to use a wire whisk when stirring. This can help to evenly distribute the flour and prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the pan and burning. You may find it helpful to remove the pan from the heat while gradually adding the liquid, whisking constantly. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. We do not recommend substituting potato flakes for all-purpose flour.