The Classic French Mother Sauce, Hollandaise Sauce.
What are Mother Sauces?
Mother sauces are the culinary base foundation of every sauce making technique all over the world. Every sauce starts with a specific sauce technique and they're 5.
- Today we are covering the Classic French Hollandaise Sauce which uses the sauce technique of emulsion. An emulsion is the combination of water and fat into one solid-state.
- In the case of Classic French Hollandaise Sauce, the water part of the emulsion would be the egg. Eggs makeup is around 90% water and 10% protein.
- The second part of the Hollandaise sauce is high-quality butter. Most butter at the grocery store isn't much in the way of quality butter. One of the key issues with those kinds of butter, is they're mostly made up of water. High-quality butter is mostly fat. Yes, fat.
- When combined correctly you'll end up with a smooth almost velvety creamy consistency. Correctly executed Hollandaise sauce will allow you to spoon the sauce on top of itself in a bowl and create which is called, ribbons. See photo for example:
To honestly learn how to make Classic French Hollandaise Sauce you need to see it made with your own eyes. The process isn't obvious. Sure combining water and fat, but the key is "the speed" that you add the butter to the eggs. Also learning how to clarify the butter. And what happens when the Hollandaise sauce sits for a while on the counter? It tightens up and loses its soft silky texture.
Hollandaise 911 - How to fix hollandaise sauce that loses its sauce like texture? No problem, in the video we cover how to fix it.
Classic Use Of Hollandaise Sauce - Eggs Benedict -
Steps & Consideration Making Classic French Hollandaise Sauce
First, create a double boiler. A double boiler is a pot filled with water on medium heat covered with a bowl. Making sure the water doesn't touch the bowl. Steam hitting the bottom of the bowl is key, not water.
Making Hollandaise: You'll start by adding water and lemon juice followed by the egg yolks and salt. This process will cook the egg yolks, and thickens the eggs as well. Just make sure your heat isn't too high. Yolks are cooked at 145F/62C. You'll know once the yolks will coat the back of a spoon. If you can swipe your finger down the middle of the back of the spoon and leaves a line, you're good to move on. The yolks are cooked...
Chef TiP: Don't use a large pot and large bowl. Adding the extra surface area makes it hard to cook the eggs without them burning. Think of it as keeping your work in one area. If the egg yolk is all over the bowl you'll have some parts overcooked. In the photo below, notice how deep the base of the bowl is. You can see the edge of the pot through the glass bowl.
Over the years, I've heard a number of thoughts on clarifying butter. Might sound easy to do and you would be right. I'll tell you the number one key. Do not keep the butter on the heat any longer than you need to. Butter has milk solids running through it, and this is what we are looking to remove. Milk solids burn, and burn quickly and at high temperatures. In the clarifying process, we will remove all the milk solids.
To start, place a pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Add your butter and once melted whisk quickly. You'll notice small white foam coming to the top. These are the milk solids. Using a large spoon scoop out as much of the milk solids as you can. To go the extra distance, you could pass the clarified butter through a piece of cheesecloth. This will catch the extra milk solids. For the Hollandaise sauce, passing through cheesecloth is not needed.
To complete the sauce, drizzle the melted butter into the bowl with the cooked egg yolks. Remember the "Key" is to pour the clarified butter very very slowly while whisking very quickly. Combining the butterfat and egg yolk water into an emulsion.
Watch our short video on clarifying butter, making Hollandaise sauce and How-To fix Hollandaise sauce that has tighened up on you. .
Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
- 2 Egg Yolks You could use 3 Egg Yolks, You need to use more clarified butter
- 5 oz Butter /or One stick of butter plus one 1 tablespoon
- 8 oz butter if you used 3 yolks
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Water
- pinch Cayenne Pepper
- pinch Sea Salt
- Start by using a double boiler. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat back down to around medium heat. "Gentle" cooking process. Add lemon juice, water, salt, and Egg yolks and stir constantly. Try to work neatly and not spread the yolks all over the bowl. They will start to burn.
- Watch the color of the Egg yolks. They will start to brighten and thicken. You'll know the yolks are ready to receive the clarified butter once the yolks will coat the back of a spoon. Or reaches 145F/62c. About 3 minutes.
- The Key to success is adding the butter in very very slowly. If you mess this part up there is no going back. You will have to start over. Your sauce will be what is called broken. So be sure to add the butter in very slowly while whisking the entire time. Make sure you're whisking over the area the butter is being added to. After this, you'll have Hollandaise sauce.
For more techniques using Eggs, check out our series covering proper Egg Cookery