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Hollandaise sauce


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Spring brings asparagus & I've always felt that it accompamied by hollandaise sause is a marriage made in heaven.

This leads me to want to know more about this classic sauce so I'm looking for any comment, knowledge, recipies (most of us probably have our own technique) and, in fact, anything anyone wants to contribute about hollandaise.

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I'm slightly obsessed with Hollandaise sauce... It boggles my mind how freaked out people are about how this sauce is so hard to create. Half of the recipes I've encountered in books include instructions on how to "rescue" a failed sauce -- as if you were expected to fail. Even normally-rational Alton Brown's "I'm only here for the food" insists that he has failed Hollandaise more times than he could count, and offers up a "Hollandaise Takes a Holiday"-sauce (which I did attempt, only to learn that it broke easier than Hollandaise and didn't taste as good -- but most importantly, it was every bit as much work to make, as the real thing. D'oh).

The way I make Hollandaise is basically a combination of Jackal10's eGullet Culinary Institute article on Cream Based Sauces which describes the Escoffier and CIA method.

Simply put, I use the CIA method, except for two things from Escoffier's method: I don't use a double boiler, and I use solid butter (as opposed to melted, in the CIA method). Tthe cold butter stops the sauce from overheating -- while the rule of letting each chunk melt fully before adding another prevents you from adding it in too fast. Sort of failsafe, no-brainer method. Also, it saves you some cleanup, to not have to melt the butter (as well as not having to use a double boiler).

I'd love to hear how others deal with this stuff...

Edit: Uh, BB codes is dificalt.

Edited by Grub (log)
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I confess. I never make Hollendaise , stovetop. I use a blender and I consistently get good results doing so. It's not classic, but it works for me, takes me 2 minutes when dinner is ready and I don't have to worry about it.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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One of my favorite cooking memories is hitting a "lodge" in Grand Lake Colorado, with bunk beds and a communal kitchen, after a week living on diner food and the offerings of backwoods restaurants. We bought supplies at the local grocery store/tackle shop/package shop and made little filet mignons on emglish muffins, with Hollendaise, a suddenly-remembered combo from an old post-shift watering hole.

The thing about Hollendaise is that it's easy as pie to make, once you get the hang of it. I tried it once with drawn butter, as some recipes suggest, but didn't like the result. I find it holds pretty well on a warm part of the stove, but usually try to pull it together relatively close to when we'll be spooning it over the asperagus or eggs.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I confess.  I never make Hollendaise , stovetop.  I use a blender and I consistently get good results doing so.  It's not classic, but it works for me, takes me 2 minutes when dinner is ready and I don't have to worry about it.

I've never tried a blender method. I'm closer to the CIA method. Could you share your recipe, please. Thanks

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I use Marlene's method - I usually use my little mini-food processor - and it comes out great every time. Last year for Christmas breakfast, I added some chipotle pepper, cut back some of the lemon, and served it with eggs benedict, and it was a huge hit. My SIL was licking the bowl.

Stop Family Violence

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i don't bother dirtying a blender for it. it takes two minutes, but making it stovetop only takes about five, and i end up with no blender to wash.

i used to use grub's method, with the cold butter and all, and that really works well. jacques pepin recommends that method in complete techniques, i believe. or at least that's what i was reading when i learned to make it, and after doing it a few times that way and having it not break it can really increase your confidence level.

i've switched to using drawn butter recently because it's faster--you can make up a batch in just a couple of minutes if the butter is melted already.

with hollandaise, mayonnaise, etc., it seems to me that the thing is to make these sauces enough times to really get a feel for how the egg yolk is holding onto the fat. once you have that sense of how things are going, each time you make it you can increase the speed at which you're adding the fat so that you're adding it pretty much as fast as the yolk can take it. and at that point using the blender instead of a whisk isn't that much of a timesaver. or at least that's been my experience--i should clarify though that i'm generally making pretty small quantities.

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I make hollandaise the way I was taught over 28 years ago. On the stove top with warm clarified butter. It is pretty quick and easy to control the quality of the sauce and if it gets too think and mayonaisey, then I just thin slightly till I get the right texture. We used to make the sauce and hold it for a period during service. I know, I know all about the salmonella thing but this was 28 years ago. I don't thick I have had a batch fail in 20 years and that was because it got too warm. No problem to start over. Aslo, I ususally dont make it until right before I need it. If you have everything ready to go, it goes together quickly and all you have messed up is a bowl and a whisk.

edited to correct spelling

Edited by joiei (log)

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Hollandaise is surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. I do the cold butter (actually, more like room temp) method right on the stovetop. The standard is 6-7 yolks per pound of butter. I like a lemony, less eggy tasting sauce so I use 6 yolks and two tablespoons of lemon juice.

Jacques Pepin recommends unclarified butter, as it makes a thinner, creamier tasting sauce that can withstand higher heat than regular hollandaise.

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Blender methods don't insure safety.

Once you try making hollandaise over direct heat with melted butter, you will never go back. It's quick. simple and just about foolproof. You need a large SS mixing bowl and wisk. Put your egg yolks etc in the bowl and briefly heat while wisking over flames. You have to straddle the line between scrambled eggs and a thickening that occurs by removing from the heat or adding more heat. You can see the scrambeling start to occur on the upper surfaces of the bowl and then its time to remove from the heat. When the thickening occurs, simply remove from heat and wisk in the melted butter.-Dick

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Hollandaise is surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it.  I do the cold butter (actually, more like room temp) method right on the stovetop.  The standard is 6-7 yolks per pound of butter.  I like a lemony, less eggy tasting sauce so I use 6 yolks and two tablespoons of lemon juice.

Jacques Pepin recommends unclarified butter, as it makes a thinner, creamier tasting sauce that can withstand higher heat than regular hollandaise.

by using the clarified butter method, I am controlling the amount of salt and other liquids that are going in and flavoring the sauce.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I've never ever had a problem making hollandaise, never knew it was supposed to be difficult etc. Now after reading this thread, I KNOW the next time I make it it will curdle, break and flop.

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Here's how I would make it...

5 egg yolks

1 lb melted butter, warm but not too hot.

Fresh lemon juice to taste

Salt to taste, cayanne to taste

1 tbsp water, more to thin if necessary

The thing that I think people do not do is they don't heat the yolks enough before beginning to incorporate the butter. I think a lot of people just put the yolks on the double boiler (not boiling water, just small bubbles lots of steam), whip them for a minute or two, and then start adding butter. The yolks will go through a pysical (and chemical) change...they will get noticeably thicker and pale a little bit in color.

Whisk the yolks and a tablespoon of warm water over the double boiler, whisking vigorously and constantly, until the yolks thicken and pale a bit in color.

SLOWLY start drizzling in the warm butter, off the heat, a few drops at a time, until the emulsion starts to form. Once the emulsion is started (you will know this has happened when the butter "dissapears" into the yolks), you may add the butter a little bit faster, like in a thin stream--just like adding oil to a vinaigrette.

REMEMBER, that melted butter is seperated butter fat and solids. The "clarified" part and the solid milky white part. The clarified part will actually THICKEN the emulsion, while the milky white part will help to THIN the sauce (it contains mostly water). So you can use this to your advantage. If the sauce is too thin, then add more clarified part, if too thick, then add more milky part. Incorporate all the butter. If this process is taking too long, you may carefully add the mixture back to the double boiler to gently warm it...not too hot as it will break, but hollandaise should be WARM, not cold (part of the reason, IMO, to use warm melted whole butter).

Once all the butter is incorporated, add lemon juice to taste, salt and cayanne to taste. Make sure there is a good balance. Just add a bit at a time, a bit at a time, and keep tasting it, until it is perfect.

If needed, thin with a bit of warm water if it is too thick.

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I stick with the instructions in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It sounds like those instructions are a fairly straightforward version of Escoffier, which makes sense given the authors' training.

Hollandaise techniques are also very handy for getting a smooth avgolemono emulsion. If you're careful, you can get the soup to reheat without getting grainy.

Emily

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I think over the years I've made literally gallons of the stuff! I cook it directly ontop of the broiler, just have to watch carfully.

Basically there are 2 ways to screw up....

1 too hot &

2 adding the butter too fast.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Bumping this back up.

I finally found some Canadian bacon (at a whopping Y1400 for 200g--that's about US$28/lb, I think) and am itching for some eggs benedict tomorrow. I've been reading about making it, and I'm all prepared, but what about keeping it? How well does hollandaise sauce keep in the fridge, and for how many days if any? Does it freeze well? I think I know the answer to the last one, but I may as well ask!

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Bumping this back up.

I finally found some Canadian bacon (at a whopping Y1400 for 200g--that's about US$28/lb, I think) and am itching for some eggs benedict tomorrow.  I've been reading about making it, and I'm all prepared, but what about keeping it?  How well does hollandaise sauce keep in the fridge, and for how many days if any?  Does it freeze well?  I think I know the answer to the last one, but I may as well ask!

It doesn't keep very long and what time you do keep it, it needs to be in a lightly warm place, not too hot or too cold. Don't plan on freezing it. Make what you need and any left over you really have to throw out. It is a sauce for immediate use. It is best if used right when it is made. By trying to hold it, you start running risks.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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The maximum safe holding time for Hollandaise is 2 hours. You should hold it warm, but under 140F or you'll get cooked eggs. In most kitchens this means beside or above the stove. It may need the occasional stir (or cling film on the surface) to avoid forming a skin.

Bacteria thrive in egg sauces at warm temperatures, so don't mess with this. Two hours and it's in the garbage. If I'm making Hollandaise for those I love, it's 1/2 hour.

A very good Hollandaise tutorial with photos, right out of the CIA Pro Chef textbook, can be found on the publisher's website here: http://www.wiley.com/legacy/products/subje...ise_method.html

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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I must have tried a dozen very different recipes before I found one I liked, and it's been foolproof ever since. I even make it on the propane stove when we go camping (because eggs benedict is a "must" for my family on those trips.) I take along drawn butter and soften it over a burner on low, and use a stainless steel bowl over another pot of hot water to mix the butter & egg yolks together.

One question *I* have is this: why is it that almost every recipe I find calls for about three times as much lemon juice as I like? Is my taste just that "off," or is it akin to recipes for martinis calling for about a hundred times too much vermouth? When I eat out, hollandaise tastes like hollandaise, not lemon sauce, so why do recipes call for so much?

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  • 10 months later...

Maybe this question belongs in the "embarrassing questions" thread, i don't know...

can anyone tell me exactly HOW important/necessary it is to prepare hollandaise with a stainless steel bowl? i don't have one, but i want some hollandaise tonight! :wink:

"i dream of cherry pies, candy bars and chocolate chip cookies." -talking heads

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It's not absolutely necessary. You wouldn't want to use something like a glass bowl or something I would think, being that glass is such a poor heat conductor. Stainless bowls are common because they are non-reactive and the are easy to fit over a saucepan for a quick double boiler.

Copper would work, as would a smaller saucepan inside a larger one, etc. I would urge you to pick up a stainless mixing bowl next time you are out though, they are useful for many other things besides hollandaise and they are inexpensive as well.

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Maybe this question belongs in the "embarrassing questions" thread, i don't know...

can anyone tell me exactly HOW important/necessary it is to prepare hollandaise with a stainless steel bowl?  i don't have one, but i want some hollandaise tonight! :wink:

I have made it for many years in my reliable old Revereware pan. Of course it's stainless steel but it is a lot easier to hold onto than a bowl.

I make it like budrichard's post which seems to be the same as Julia's version.

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The ideal vessel for making a hollandaise is a slope-sided saucepan. If the pan is of decent quality and you're using a gas stove, then there's no imaginable reason to use a waterbath. You actually want the sabayon to form quickly; if it doesn't, it's not going to be as airy as it might be. The way to get a light, smooth sauce is over medium-high heat, whisking constantly (this is the point of a slope sided pan ... either an evasée or one of those newer curved ones ... to let the whisk get into the corners). It's unvelievably easy. If you're paying attention you won't mess up. Try it once and I promise you'll never go back to a double boiler or blender.

What kind of butter to use isn't a matter of dogma but rather of the texture you're looking for. Clarified butter is the best way if you want a thicker sauce; it's also necessary if you're making the sabayon with significant amounts of other liquid (for flavoring). But clarified butter lacks much of the delicate flavor of whole butter. Melted butter allows the lightest, airiest sauce, but since the butter is broken you tend to have a more fragile emulsion. It also can lack some of the delicacy of flavor of a sauce made with whole butter. Whole butter gives the best flavor and most stable emulsion, but will tend to give a denser sauce than melted butter, because of the added stirring required to melt it.

Notes from the underbelly

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