The Edible Complex

The Edible Complex

blundering my way through cooking & plate presentation

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Hollandaise Sauce

February 18, 2011

Blender Version:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt (do not add salt if you use salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) goat’s milk butter (or regular butter, salted or unsalted)

In a blender, combine egg yolks, water, lemon juice, and salt; blend until frothy. Heat butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium until bubbly (do not let brown). With blender running, pour in hot butter in a very thin stream, blending until sauce is thick and emulsified. Transfer to a measuring cup and cover until service. Heat it back up in the microwave for about 30 seconds (low power setting) before serving if needed.


Original Version (double boiler)


  • 1 cup Clarified Butter (Gelson’s sells it – sometimes called “Ghee”) The butter should be warm but not hot
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (the juice from 1 small lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp cold water
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce), to taste

For safety, it’s best to use pasteurized eggs when making hollandaise sauce. Gelson’s sells them.

In addition to what’s listed above, you’ll also need a saucepan with an inch or two of simmering water, a whisk and a bowl — either glass or stainless steel, but not aluminum.

To begin, combine the egg yolks and the cold water in your bowl. A tablespoon of water will get cold in just a couple of minutes in the freezer.

Whisk for a minute or two, until the mixture is light and foamy. Whisk in a couple of drops of lemon juice, too.

Set the bowl directly atop the saucepan of simmering water, thus creating a sort of double-boiler effect. Note that the water itself should not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. It’s the steam, not the water, that should be doing the heating, so don’t overfill the saucepan.

Whisk the Yolks Until Slightly Thickened. By gently heating the egg yolks, we’re altering the proteins in a way that makes them bond more effectively with the fat droplets in the clarified butter we’re going to be adding. This creates a more stable emulsion, meaning your hollandaise is less likely to curdle.

At the same time, though, we don’t want to get the yolks too hot, either. Egg yolks lose their emulsifying powers when cooked, which is why we use this gentler, less direct method of warming them.

Remove From Heat and Begin Slowly Adding Butter. Add the melted butter slowly at first, a few drops at a time, while whisking constantly. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will break.

The Sauce Will Thicken As The Butter Is Added. As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the rate at which you add the butter. As you can see here, the sauce has thickened quite a bit.

Whisk In Lemon Juice and Season To Taste. Whisk in the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with Kosher salt and cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce). The finished hollandaise sauce will have a smooth, firm consistency. If it’s too thick, you can adjust the consistency by whisking in a few drops of warm water.

Serve Immediately


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