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 Post subject: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:15 am 
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Location: Springfield, IL
Recipes for hollandaise typically use one of two techniques:

    1. Cook egg yolks, butter and lemon juice over a double boiler whisking constantly until thick.
    2. Blend egg yolks, hot butter and lemon juice together.

These methods fail to assure properly cooked eggs resulting in a nicely emulsified sauce that separates. The problem with the double boiler cooking is the fear of scrambling the eggs and wasting all of that butter. The problem with the blender method is that it is very difficult to fully cook the egg yolks to 170-175 degrees and the emulsification usually separates when it is placed on hot food. (Shirley Corriher says eggs thicken at 144 degrees. At this temp the eggs are safe to eat, but not properly cooked to hold a stable emulsion.)

James Peterson's book "Sauces" offers a wonderful technique which is nearly foolproof, fast and frankly really impressive. Peterson separates the process into two stages. First, egg yolks are cooked with some cold water to make a stable emulsion (sabayon) It is easy to see if the yolks are properly cooked during this first emulsion. If the emulsion is under cooked, you may reheat to complete the process. If the eggs are scrambled, you have only lost two yolks and a few minutes.

As a second step, hot butter is whisked into the sabayon. With a properly cooked yolks, this may be done quickly without fear of the sauce breaking. Finally, flavor is added to make a hollandaise/bearnaise or your own variation.

Making a Sabayon Base:

First Emulsion: Make a sabayon base prior to adding butter. The yolks, with no acid components, will be fully cooked and this emulsion easily incorporates the butter and flavoring agents. You may easily start over with fresh egg yolks if the emulsion breaks or the eggs scramble, with no loss of butter or flavoring agents.

    2 Egg yolks
    2 Tablespoons cold water
    Very small chef’s pan – full cladding is important.

Briskly whisk water and eggs to light and frothy, about 30 seconds.

Place the pan on heat (low to med. high) and whisk constantly. Try this on low heat at first. When you gain confidence you can cook this on high heat.

As it picks up heat the sabayon will foam and triple in volume. With more heat the bubbles will get much smaller and the sauce will begin to thicken. When it starts to stiffen and visibly mount in the pan, whisk rapidly on heat for 10 seconds.

Remove from heat and whisk 30 seconds to cool. (To test sabayon, wait 10 minutes. If it holds the emulsion, it has been fully cooked. Separation of the butter indicates undercooking.) The sabayon is ready to absorb the clarified butter and acid.

Adding Clarified Butter:

Fully clarified butter makes a lighter more airy sauce. Melted butter has better flavor, but its high water content (15-20%) thins and deflates the sauce. To clarify butter, simmer for 10 minutes, skim off foam and carefully decant. The hot (Under 170 degrees) butter is whisked to the sabayon base to finish the sauce. You may start with tablespoons of butter but it is easier to whisk while pouring in a steady stream.

Flavoring the butter: If making béarnaise, flavoring agents may be simmered with the butter and strained out. In example, powdered shitake mushrooms.

Hollandaise Sauce:

    5 oz. (1 ¼ stick) fully clarified butter (150 to 170 degrees)
    Sabayon base from above
    2 tsp. lemon juice or to taste
    Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Whisking the base, slowly add a few tablespoons of butter to establish the emulsion. Then add butter in a steady stream while whisking. Season the sauce.

Broken Sabayon Sauces:

The two step emulsion minimizes problems. If the eggs are scrambled, strain the butter and remake the sauce with new eggs. Separated sauce indicates undercooked eggs or the addition of too much butter.

In this case, two tablespoons of boiling water may bind the sauce, although it will be thinner than normal.

Making a sabayon base with one egg and proceeding with the broken sauce will also fix the broken sauce.

Hollandaise Sauce Derivatives:

    Bearnaise: Wine, vinegar, shallots and tarragon flavoring.
    Mousseline: Fold ¼ cup of whipped heavy cream into 1 cup hollandaise.
    Noisette: Reserve ¼ of the butter and brown it before incorporating.
    Pan Sauces: Sabayon base with pan drippings, fats & liquids makes wonderful sauce.

Please give this recipe a chance.


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 Post subject: Re: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:15 pm 
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Location: Cordillera, Luzon, Philippines
Thank you very much, Tim! I look forward to giving this method a try. Eggs Benedict are my menu planner again!

Just curious about clarifying the butter. You do not get the water "erupting" from under the separated butter layer? Even my lowest setting on any heat source produces large sloppy bubbles occasionally once the butter melts. Maybe partially due to the altitude (5,000 ft)?


Tatoosh

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 Post subject: Re: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:17 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, ON
Once the butter melts, you turn it off......
The lower boiling point could definitely make it worse, though.

I've used this technique (that Tim describes) many times, at Tim's suggestion, and it works great. It did take a few tries the first time, and again when I switched stoves. But it is, by far, the fastest way forward and also generates a really lovely hollandaise.


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 Post subject: Re: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:21 pm 
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Tatoosh,

You may just have watery butter. I get the same thing making ghee with some brands of butter and not with others.


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 Post subject: Re: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:36 pm 
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Tim,

As you may notice, I moved your tutorial from recipes to tutorials. It's a better fit, and people will be able to find it easier in the future.

I too have used this technique many times, and frankly, it's the only way I make Hollandaise now.

Amy


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 Post subject: Re: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:15 pm 
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Thanks for the tutorial, I found it very helpful!

Laurie

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 Post subject: Re: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:58 pm 
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You say to let the sabayon rest, and that separation of the butter is an indication of undercooking. But there is no butter added at that stage in the recipe. Am I just easily confused?


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 Post subject: Re: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:00 pm 
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Tim,

Very nice! Thanks.

And I have that book, too. Not that I've read it ...

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 Post subject: Re: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:45 am 
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Just another question out of curiosity about the instruction to sue "fully clarified butter" and the comment about "melted butter" having better flavor but too much water. I very much understand the water problem since it seems to be a very significant portion of our locally available butter here in the Philippines. And quite possibly why I failed so miserably with Hollandaise previously.

But since, after clarifying, I have the so-called "milk solids" reserved and the water removed (by draining), if the clarified butter is to be used specifically for making the Hollandaise and not for storage, could one not simply return the milk solids to the clarified butter to help the taste. The water, the likely culprit of disaster, has been removed from play.

And, to be honest, I never get a truly "fully" clarified butter. I fear I need some fine muslin to filter the butter out. I get a cloudy butter, but with the majority milk solids on the bottom. I do a warm, skim, cool until hard method. The water is on the bottom along with the milk solids, so they are easy to separate from the butter. And I do this at least twice to remove as much water and solids as possible. The second time I get a very small amount of milk solid precipitate from butter, but more water comes out.

I use an All Clad pan to melt the butter, I usually warm over my smallest gas burner, but have moved to an electric hob that can go even lower.

The resulting butter is not transparent gold, like the clarified butter I used to make in the USA, but more a translucent butter. However, it works fine for a roux now (from a separate thread) so I have high hopes it will work in a Hollandaise sauce.

I won't be adding milk solids back in, at this point. That is just a point of curiosity on my part.

Tatoosh

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 Post subject: Re: Sabayon Tutorial - Hollandaise to Bearnaise
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:01 am 
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Hi,

I am gratified about all of the nice comments. Amy, thanks for moving the discussion.

Tatoosh wrote:
Just curious about clarifying the butter. You do not get the water "erupting" from under the separated butter layer? Even my lowest setting on any heat source produces large sloppy bubbles occasionally once the butter melts. Maybe partially due to the altitude (5,000 ft)?
Tatoosh


Tatoosh,

No eruptions at our altitude. If you stir during the heating phase, you won't have any eruptions. Actually, I do get eruptions when I try to save time by microwaving the butter.

Our previous discussion on roux seemed to confirm that your butter has a fairly high percentage of liquid. The best tasting hollandaise is made from whole butter but the extra liquid results in a very light emulsion which can easily bleed out especially on hot food. With our butter, I don't fully clarify but cook only to separate the water, fat and foam. I usually lift off the foam and decant the fat.

BeckyH wrote:
You say to let the sabayon rest, and that separation of the butter is an indication of undercooking. But there is no butter added at that stage in the recipe. Am I just easily confused?


Becky, You are properly confused. I probably should have said that a fully cooked sabayon remain stiff in your saucepan. An undercooked sabayon tends to slump in the pan indicating that more cooking is needed. One of those infrared thermometers might be the best tool to assure the eggs are properly cooked.

During the 2005 New Orleans Kitchen Session we had three "members" who had never cooked a sabayon try this technique over medium heat. All three were mostly successful. There was one separation that I fixed using Julia Child's method. Whisk in an ounce of rapidly boiling water to finish the final cooking of the eggs.

Tatoosh wrote:
But since, after clarifying...could one not simply return the milk solids to the clarified butter to help the taste.
Tatoosh


As you can see from above, I haven't tried adding the foam or liquid to the finished emulsion, but this but it may be worth exploring. I use the foam and liquid for scrambled eggs. My suggestion is that you take the easiest path by gaining experience with Peterson's method using your partially clarified butter. Good luck.

Tim

ps: James Peterson is a contributor to Taunton's Fine Cooking magazine. Some years ago, Peterson had an article in the magazine and on finecooking.com with the recipe from "Sauces" specifying direct cooking over high heat. A few years later, the finecooking.com recipe was edited to specify cooking over medium heat. Now, the same recipe specifies cooking over very low heat. Somebody wimped out!


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