Hollandaise sauce advice

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Joined Feb 16, 2014
Hello

I wonder if someone could give me some advice on where hollandaise can go wrong and split.

I'm kind of self taught on hollandaise and have always been able to make it at home OK. The problem is when I make it at home it is obviously made in  a smaller quantity and I don't add as much butter as they say because that is just my preference. Obviously when I make it at work I have to make it in bugger batches and there is more chance of it splitting.

So just a few questions. When you add the butter to the hollandaise from what I gather the egg mix should be left warm. Is that right? I think mine split the other day because I took it of and got told to do something else and then came back to it and it cooled down to much. Also should the butter be warm when you add it?

Any other ways in which it might split? I know if I add the butter to fast it will.
 
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The sauce thickens by emulsifying two fats. Both s/b be warm while whisking a steady stream of melted butter. I would follow the recipe of using the amount of butter needed for the recipe and also using a good quality butter. There could be up to 20% water is some store butter.
 
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Yeah I always use good quality butter. I notice the difference. I do use the right amount at work(I do what I'm told) At home I just add as much as I like obviously it doesn't matter at home so much this thread is more about making sure it doesn't  split at work when I may get called on to another job. One thing I wondered is if the egg mixture cools down can you warm it through again before you add the butter or will that make it split?
 
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ChefBristol,
Hollandaise can break for any number of reasons. Typically the main culprits are rapid changes in temperature, whisking too fast or too slow, adding too much butter, adding butter too fast, the finished sauce getting too cold or too warm or the sabayon and melted butter being too far in temperature difference.

Remember, hollandaise is an emulsion and emulsions are tricky little things that are far more complex than we think. There are different types of emulsions (oil in water and water in oil) and components that make up emulsions like stabilizers/thickeners and emulsifiers and even different phases in the emulsion process. The way we initiate the dispersed phase is important whether it be by a whisk, a high power blender or even a food processor.

Hollandaise is essentially a warm mayonnaise emulsion and are oil in water emulsion using egg yolk lecithin as the emulsifier. Some tips for hollandaise success:
1.) Water is your friend: Most culinary texts advise to adding your acid or water to the sabayon when making a hollandaise and it's because it aids in the oil in water emulsion. This also applies to mayonnaise as well, if you've seen Daniel Boulud's aioli recipe he uses quite a bit of water.
2.) Temperature: Try to keep the sabayon and melted butter near the same temperature (the same way adding room temperature oil to room temperature egg yolks helps in a mayonnaise) so there's no rapid temperature change as in suddenly adding warm butter to a bunch of egg yolks right out of the fridge. Don't let the finished sauce get too cold or too hot. Cold butter is a solid and will break a sauce or start to get lumpy. Adding butter to the egg yolks raises the coagulation point but keeping the sauce to warm over the range or in another hot spot will start to cook the eggs and separate.
3.) Dispersion: The more rapidly any emulsion is dispersed the longer it will hold and more stable it will be. If I make a honey-mustard vinaigrette for staff by hand it will probably hold through the night, when I make it in a high powered blender it literally holds for weeks in the walk-in with no separation. That being said if you whisk a hollandaise rapidly by hand you can incorporate too much air thus cooling it down too much. If you put a hollandaise into a high powered blender you'll create too much heat from the motor and heat the eggs too much. A small immersion blender or quickly putting the sabayon into a robot coupe will disperse better than a hand whisk would, but again playing with temperature here is key.

Hope this helps.
 
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Yes that was very helpful. Thank you for all the other replies also. I think the main thing where I have gone wrong is letting it get to cold before I add the butter. This generally happens when a chef gets himself in the shit and asks me to help him out. My head chef told me to say no if that happens again.

One thing I have learned is to be patients at work. When I make hollandaise at home it doesn't take on because I don't make much but obviously it takes longer at work. Also I need to make sure I don't let other chefs tell me to go faster than I can handle. The more skilled you are the faster you can go but I have to make sure I keep the heat at a temperature I can handle without it scrambling.
 
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Never leave a hollandaise mid way, once you start it, you finish it. Anyone asks you to do something else, tell them you will get on it as soon as you are done. Your head chef is correct and does not want you throwing $$ in the bin.
 
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Linecook854

Hollandaise can break for any number of reasons. Typically the main culprits are rapid changes in temperature, whisking too fast or too slow, adding too much butter, adding butter too fast, the finished sauce getting too cold or too warm or the sabayon and melted butter being too far in temperature difference.

I was not familiar with the term sabayon so I looked it up.  My source describes it as a French desert, a mixture of eggs, sugar, and wine.  If my source is correct it would not be used as a base for Hollandaise.  The classic way to deal with the water content in butter for Hollandaise is to clarify the butter.  I use a bain marie to control temperature.
 
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At one of my jobs I was responsible for producing around a gallon of hollandaise every morning.

We used clarified butter brought up to 160f, slowly incorporated into egg yolk tempered with hot water from the coffee machine tap, lemon juice, tabasco sauce, salt and white pepper.

Used a deep 6 pan tilted on a wet kitchen towel, with a heavy-duty immersion blender. The first blend before starting to add butter is important and the first few drops added is as well. The sloped corner of the six pan gave me an excellent spot to add the butter via the immersion blender.

Had to make about three batches for busy mornings using a quart of hot clarified butter each time. Each batch took about 5 to 7 minutes of blending although it feels like a half an hour streaming in a spaghetti sized strand while standing like a statue, and God help you if you bumped into me. God help us all if I was hungover lol.

45 mins later throw it all to the line, take a deep breath, and proceed to some knife work therapy before service.

Since that job I have never tried to produce hollandaise at home, but the notes that I can take from it are to... temper and blend the yolks, acid, seasonings, etc. and to find a sweet spot for adding the butter with your equipment and container consistantly. Oh and also if you are using an immersion blender, you can actually sort of hear when the sauce is about to break from having added too much oil. I hate that sound...

Anyways hope that helps, hollandaise at home I might try someday, but breakfast for me usually happens in the blink of an eye.

Josh.
 
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Jimrya,I stongly disagree with the terminology of sabayon. Sabayon is often used interchangeably when regarding a bain marie of cooked yolks or when referring specifically to the dessert "zabaglione" which to a French tongue became "sabayon". Native French speaking chefs I've worked for have used the term "sabayon" in reference to the way I've used it (cooked yolks used for a savory application). Obviously I do not reccomend using a sweetened base for hollandaise.
 
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Jimrya, I stongly disagree with the terminology of sabayon. Sabayon is often used interchangeably when regarding a bain marie of cooked yolks or when referring specifically to the dessert "zabaglione" which to a French tongue became "sabayon". Native French speaking chefs I've worked for have used the term "sabayon" in reference to the way I've used it (cooked yolks used for a savory application). Obviously I do not reccomend using a sweetened base for hollandaise.

O.k. Why do you feel this way? A sabayon is not simply "cooked yolks" , rather yolks are mixed with liquids, and beaten over moist heat unti thick and foamy. When prepared properly, this will not collapse for a long time.

This is then a techniqe, not merely a recipie, and techniques can be applied to whatever dish you want
 
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To Linecook854 and foodpump,

I have found that many chefs misuse culinary terms.  Linecook854 I think your chefs were incorrect.  You are correct about the "zabaglione" origin of the dish.Foodpump I do not think it is a technique but it is a recipe.  I have researched this and found numerous references as sabayon as a desert dish.  I will include one here:  The Escoffier Cook Book, A. Escoffier, Crown publishers, Inc.NY p744.  It starts with one pound of 10X sugar, twelve egg yolks, and a quart of white wine. Then using the technique of whisking using a bain-marie it becomes four times the original value.  This recipe is under the section Desserts and sweets and sub section Hot Sauces for desserts.  I'm not trying to be obnoxious or whatever but would you guys do your own research and come back with a good reference?    I like this interaction I can learn from all of you.  I had a chef one time tell me to make pimento cheese.  He told me to roast Bell peppers and I asked how do you make pimento cheese with bell peppers it is made with pimento peppers.  He wasn't real happy with me.  I can be picky but our customers deserve it.  Thanks for letting me be a part of the discussion.
 
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No disputes to the origin or spelling of the dish. Look up "sabayon froid ", and you will see that it is a derivitive of the original, with the addition of gelatin and whipped cream.

I've made Holly in small volumes and in large volumes( whisking a litre of reduction and thirty yolks in a 30qt hobart bowl over a steam kettle) . Once you have the....um.. For lack of a better term, "sabayon" the right consistency, you can pour in the butter with no worries and the sauce will stay emulsified.

So then, what is the proper terminology for:
"yolks and various liquids whisked over gentle moist heat until it quadrouples in volume, keeps its shape, which may be consumed as is, hot or cold, or used as a base to emulsify fats"?
 
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Ok Ok I will concede that modern chefs have evolved (bastardized) the original dish.  Who am I to question Thomas Keller?  But should Thomas Keller question A. Escoffier? I found this on the net:

Sabayon Variations Technique
Chef Adam Hoffman of Rover’s – Seattle, WA
May 2009

Those who write-off sabayon as “old fashioned” or “strictly dessert-worthy” should sit down with Adam Hoffman, chef de cuisine at Rover’s in Seattle. A self-described saucier at heart, Hoffman will tell you that his sabayon—a lighter version of a traditional hollandaise—is an incredibly versatile dressing to have on hand at any service.

“I use the word sabayon kind of loosely,” says Hoffman, whose seemingly infinite repertoire of sabayon variations pairs the sauce with a multitude of proteins and vegetables.

I guess these days anything goes and terms can be used, "kind of loosely” in the twenty first century.  I have enjoyed the discussion a lot even if appears I had to concede the point.
 

kuan

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Whoever has a bit of extra time can step in and make the Hollandaise.  If you cannot make the Hollandaise you watch the line while the Hollandaise maker makes the Hollandaise.
 
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Jimrya,

I still respectfully disagree. Yes, sabayon DOES refer to a desert application but terminology in French speaking kitchens and in one Michelin star restaurant I staged at (in the US) commonly refer to sabyon as egg yolks cooked with water as sauce in of itself (usually flavored with something). Neither is right or wrong but to say sabayon doesn't refer to a savory application simply isn't true.

Below are some references refering to sabayon in a savory application the way as described both in French and English:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878450X14000067

http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to/hollandaise-sauce.aspx

http://www.basesdelacuisine.com/Cadre3/z3/pp960.htm

https://books.google.com/books?id=P...hYMAg#v=onepage&q=sabayon hollandaise&f=false

Also, the French Culinary Institute specifically outlines in their textbook referring to the "sabayon" process in making Hollandaise in their textbook albeit I do not have a link.

Two of the most famous dishes in the world (Thomas Kellers oysters and pearls and Guy Savoy's Colors of Caviar) are based on a savory sabayon and referenced to as such, no references needed.
 
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Linecook854,

Good answer and good research our professors would be proud.  I still think that a sabayon in a classical sense (let's say pre 1950) is still a dessert dish.  It has evolved as a technique for savory as well.  I think that this has been a good respectful discussion.  At least we did research and backed up our disagreements in a mature manor.  Thanks for letting me participate.   
 
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Put your yolks, lemon and a bit of water in a vita prep, drizzle in you hot clarified butter (160 degrees) thinning as needed. Easy. Put away your whisks and double boilers. Hold in a thermos or an alto sham, if you really want it to be bullet proof add a touch of xanathan gum. By a touch I really mean a touch, like a quarter gram per quart.
 
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Making hollaindsise sauce shouldbe treated like an emulsion your egg yolks need tobe tempered and added slowly also you should use CLARIFIED butter that will seperate the fat before you add it to your sauce. I usually use a double boiler to allow constant heat also the egg yolks and thebutter should be at an equal heat
Good luck
Ps NEVER WALK AWAY IN THE MIDDLE OF ANYTHING
 

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