How to make hollandaise sauce

We had a t-shirt at chef school for days when we’d scrub the kitchen down. It had a slogan on it “A hollandaise can sense fear”. At the time I didn’t know what the hell it meant. It took me a few years to finally cotton onto the little chef joke. We chefs are usually pretty funny, ok, we’re not but we believe we’re hilarious. The joke was alluding to how difficult it is to get a hollandaise sauce right and that it 9 times out of 10 the sauce will fuck up if you do it without focus and determination. Yes, cheesy joke.


Anyway, I won’t lie and say this is a new way of making a hollandaise and that I have tricks I have come up with. The only thing I’ve changed over the years is that I’ve found it works better if you’re using a hand held blender and not whisking with your hand. Making a hollandaise the proper way like we do in a commercial kitchens takes a bit of skill as one one hand pours the melted butter in and the other whisks vigorously. If you feel you can do it like us chefs then please, go ahead.

I also recommend you keep a bowl of ice close by. To stop a hollandaise from splitting you immediately introduce it to something cold. It should be the consistency of a thick custard and look like it too. No funny bits and no lumps and it mustn’t run when you pour it. It will take time, patience and practice but once you get it right your eggs benedict, fish dishes, seafood, chicken and so many more dishes will never be the same. Hollandaise sauce is super versatile and a lot less tangy than a mayonnaise so it works better on a lot more dishes.

Note: Use unsalted butter for this recipe. Not margarine. They don’t melt the same and you need clarified butter for this to work.
Note: to clarify butter, place the butter in a small pot on low heat. You’ll see a film of white substance will form on the top of the melted butter and at the bottom of the pot. Scoop the gunk off the top and then pour the butter through a sieve.

Egg yolks 100g
Melted butter 360ml
White wine 80ml
Minced onions 180g
Peppercorns (whole) 10g
Water 40ml
Lemon juice 10ml
Salt (pinch)

1. Place the white wine, Peppercorns and onions in a pan on medium heat and cook until the pan is almost dry. (don’t burn it, the left over liquid should almost be like a syrup) Set the pan aside to cool.
2. Add a little water to the pan and then strain the mixture through a sieve. Pour the liquid into a metal bowl.
3. Add the egg yolks to the bowl place the metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. (this is called a double boiler, it prevents the eggs from getting cooked)
4. Whisk the egg yolk mixture until thick and foamy. It should triple in volume
5. Once tripled in volume and the whisk leaves a trail though the yolks when you drag it through them, they’re ready. 6. Remove the bowl from the double boiler and place on a dry towel of clothe to stabilise it. Start to slowly pour the melted butter into the yolks whilst continuously whisking.
7. The sauce should thicken as you whisk, if it looks like the yolks are collapsing and it’s becoming too thin, return the bowl to the double boiler and whisk until tick again. Remove and carry in until all the butter is whisked I to the yolks. Add the lemon juice. Add your seasoning.

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