Hollandaise II

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Joined May 2, 2003
AH! I can't believe I almost passed up this opportunity to ask you about an interesting hollandaise fluke I kept experiencing.

While working in a fine dining kitchen, I was required to make the daily hollandaise sauce. The method used was to whisk a number of yolks with just a bit of water and salt on the heat--when ribbon reached, then the butter and lemon was added. The bowl was a standard round bottomed stainless steel bowl (maybe aluminum). This was placed directly on the french top stove toward the outside edge while whisking. For some reason, when I would make it using this method, my yolks would become overly frothy and the sauce would not hold the butter very long.

To fix this, I tried whisking slower (almost stirring) to get the thickness up without adding too much air. Still, I would end up with frothy yolks. I tried less water, more water, lemon prior to whisking, but same results. I even tried whisking for a VERY long amount of time, no luck. Tried different spots on the french top--nothing!

However, when making hollandaise at home, I place the whisking bowl over a pot of water and get great results everytime with the same amount of whisking.

I posed this question to others previously, and one thing that seemed to stand out as a possible cause of this frothiness was that eggs from an industrial refrigerator are significantly colder than the eggs from my home refrigerator. And therefore, it would take my work eggs much longer to get to temp and thicken up--hence, more and more air was allowed to get whisked into the yolks.

Any thoughts on the cause of the frothiness? Any ideas on fixes? (other than tossing and starting over):D

Thanks again for your insights!
Joined Apr 7, 2009
It sounds like you're not cooking the eggs enough and perhaps not beating them enough and perhaps not adding enough water at the beginning. I add about a tablespoon of water per egg yolk and whisk as you describe, over fairly high heat, until the eggs froth up. But here's where I think you might be going wrong. Keep beating until you see the streaks made by the whisk on the bottom of the bowl and the sabayon looses a little volume. Immediately remove from the heat and whisk a second or two longer before pouring in the butter. The butter can be poured in quite rapidly because you've already established an emulsion. The sabayon will be quite hot, just not hot enough to curdle the yolks. Good luck. Detailed directions are also in Sauces.
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