What is Hollandaise Sauce?
Hollandaise is an emulsion sauce: a sauce where two ingredients that don’t usually blend (water and fat) are suspended together. You make an emulsion sauce by breaking the molecules of one of the liquids into tiny minuscule little droplets and suspending them in the other liquid by vigorously whisking or using an electric blender or food processor. Traditionally, Hollandaise sauce is made by whisking egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper over a water bath and drizzling in clarified butter (pure butter fat with the milk solids removed). The challenge with this traditional method is that first of all, it takes some serious coordination to pour delicately with one hand, while whisking vigorously with your other and using your third hand to hold the bowl steady… you see what I mean? Secondly, as with all emulsion sauces, Hollandaise is prone to “breaking” or having the water and fat fall out of suspension into a liquid-y or lumpy mess, presenting another challenge. Luckily, there are solutions to both of these challenges.
Quick Blender Version Hollandaise
The first solution is to use a blender to make your Hollandaise sauce. Using the blender means that your sauce will only be as warm as the butter you pour into it, but it’s so much easier to do than whisking by hand. The video below shows you just how easy this blender version can be. (The eggs that you use in this version are not cooked, so this is not a recipe for those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, or those who just don’t like the idea of raw eggs.)
How to Fix a Broken Hollandaise
The second solution to Hollandaise challenge is that you can fix a broken Hollandaise. If the Hollandaise becomes thin with lumps floating in it, your egg yolks became too hot and coagulated, letting the butterfat leak out. This shouldn’t happen to you if you’re using the blender method which doesn’t include whisking over a double boiler, but if it does, simply strain the lumpy sauce and then start again by drizzling that strained sauce into another egg yolk. If the Hollandaise sauce just separates and you see butter leaking out of the sauce, just whisk it vigorously again (or blend it) and it should come back together.
How to Serve and Store Hollandaise Sauce
It’s best to serve Hollandaise sauce right away, but you can hold it for a short period of time over a pan with very low simmering water in it. This is not a sauce that you keep or store for another time however, because it will break and is next to impossible to re-heat, so use it up and enjoy it.
Variations on Hollandaise Sauce
Because Hollandaise is a mother sauce, we know that it is the base for other sauces. The most famous of these offspring sauces is Béarnaise Sauce which is traditionally served with steak. You can read how to make that here and then put it over this open faced steak sandwich. Yum!
Comments (7)Post a Reply
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I used your blender method and it turned out beautifully!! So easy!! This will be a regular sauce in my rotation. Thank you for taking the terror out of Hollandaise!!
Do you drizzle the butter into the mixture in the blender?
If yes, do you keep blending while drizzling in the butter?
At what point do you transfer to a bowl?
Are you supposed to literally HOLD the bowl over the water, or set it on the water bath? For how long? Do you need to whisk it while it is over the water bath?
Do you add the salt TWICE? (Steps 1 AND 3?)
How long will the sauce keep in the fridge?
Thanks! I don’t want it to fail!
Hi Caryn, while the blender is running, slowly drizzle in the butter until mixed in and thick. Then season it to taste with the cayenne pepper and more salt if needed. If it tastes salty enough to you, then don’t add any additional salt. To keep the hollandaise sauce warm or to heat it up place a metal or glass bowl over a small sauce pan with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer. The bowl should not be touching the water. Transfer the hollandaise to the bowl. The steam from the simmering water will heat up the sauce and keep it warm until ready to use. It should keep a day or two in the fridge. Check out the video which will help you visualize how to make it both on the stovetop and in the blender.
Could I follow the same basic process but use an immersion blender?
Hi Elizabeth. Yes you can use an immersion blender to make hollandaise sauce following the blender version and drizzle in the butter while blending.
Believe it or not, I do not own a blender! I do own a Cuisinart Handy Prep with a 3.5 cup bowl capacity. This mini prep machine is much more versatile that the “Mini Prep” machines that are now on the market. The one big difference is that is has a tube shoot and also comes with the slicing and grating blades. The reason I am telling you this is that I am wondering if I can use the blender method for making my Hollandaise sauce in the Handy Prep. I would pulse the egg yolks and lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper at the beginning as in the blender recipe but then hold down the on/pulse button while pouring in the butter to blend. What are your thoughts? Thanks for your time.
Hi there. I think you could make your Hollandaise in this, especially if you have the chopper running while you slowly add the butter. Good luck!