I am quite the stickler for traditional techniques. I know that seems foreign considering the root of my work. Without the understanding of traditional techniques you cannot foresee the issues that could use a helping hand. One of the first things you learn as a young chef or culinary student is the 5 mother sauces. Aside from knife skills and basic vocabulary you will be introduced to the 5 mothers sauces. Bechamel, Espagnole, Tomato, Veloute, and Hollandaise. One of these sticks out like a sore thumb, and that’s hollandaise. The other sauces follow the same basic pattern, water based sauces (stock or tomato puree), thickening agent (roux), seasonings. But Hollandaise is an egg and butter based sauce, its thickening agent is not an additive but a technique; egg yolk emulsion. As a former teacher this sauce was the most difficult for any student to wrap their heads around. It requires lightning focus and attention to detail. All the other mother sauces can be stored, reheated, and frozen if need be. The only destinations for Hollandaise are either on a plate or in the trash can. So is there a way to make a hollandaise that doesn’t ruin the integrity of the sauce but allows you to get more than one use out of it?
“Can you make hollandaise days ahead?”
Keeping it Together Through Thick and Thin
Hollandaise may be the most common and useful mother sauce. It’s nearly perfect in its simplistic balance. Savory, rich, acidic, and a touch of heat. It’s an excellent sauce on its own. The biggest downfall I find with hollandaise is its inability to be stored properly. Now some will look to the iSi canister method, which is a method I used for years. So let’s touch on it quickly. The hollandaise ingredients are placed in a bag and cooked to a specific temperature (167F) then they are poured into a whipping siphon and charged with N2O. The sauce essentially emulsifies in the whipping siphon and becomes nicely aerated. This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated to 140°F for dispensing once again. This method works and I do enjoy it, the issue I see is if you need to make a large amount of sauce for a Sunday brunch. A gallon of sauce will require 4 separate quart sized whipping siphons. Rarely does a kitchen have 4 whipping siphons specifically for hollandaise storage. This is one way to make a hollandaise ahead of time but I do not think it is the most efficient. Also what if you don’t want an aerated hollandaise for your dish? We think there is a better way to get that traditional hollandaise texture.
We developed a way to make a hollandaise ahead of time so it can be stored, reheated and even frozen if need be. The trick is simple and adheres to all the hollandaise traditions. It’s an egg and butter based sauce, that uses egg yolk emulsion as the thickener, and has the traditional seasonings. The one added ingredient is called 210s. If you have followed us for any length of time you will realize this is one of my favorite ingredients. It’s a wonderful emulsifier that provides a slight thickness with no off textures. We did change the method of making hollandaise but even traditionalists like myself won’t mind. The ability to make hollandaise in 3 minutes as opposed to 25 minutes is a game changer. Place all the ingredients besides butter in a blender and emulsify the warm butter to make the sauce. From there the sauce can be stored or heated.
When heating the sauce all the same rules apply, do your best to keep the sauce below 150°F as the proteins in the egg yolk will coagulate. When this happens you will see more and more separation as the temperature increases beyond 150°F. The best way to keep it at the correct temp for service would be to preheat a coffee carafe with warm water and place the warmed sauce in the carafe. This way you can pour the perfectly heated sauce on demand. Other fun uses for this are to serve it cold similar to a super charged mayonnaise or freeze it into a thin sheet and punch out discs to melt over a warm appetizer. The possibilities are endless may sound cliche but we think it’s fitting for this upgraded mother sauce.