Don't Skip This Important Step When Making Hollandaise Sauce

Often known as one of the five French "mother sauces," hollandaise sauce is delicious on fish or potatoes, and we wouldn't consider an eggs Benedict (or any kind of Benedict) complete without it. A basic hollandaise sauce is comprised of butter, egg yolks, lemon, water, and a pinch of salt and pepper. When making hollandaise sauce, garnering the best results requires attention to detail. There's not a huge degree of difficulty in whipping up a good hollandaise, but the science dictates that you treat the eggs with care and pay attention to timing.

To get a rich, frothy, buttery hollandaise, the most important step is to use room-temperature eggs. When you temper eggs (with or without a turkey baster), you are combining them with liquid that is either hot or room temperature but not cold. The reason we temper eggs is to prevent the proteins in the whites and yolks from coagulating.

Likewise, when making a hollandaise sauce, the main goal is to use hot butter to emulsify the egg yolks. Hot butter combined with cold egg yolks will result in clumping and curdling. The best tip for making sure eggs are room temperature is to leave them out for about two hours. Need to bring them to room temperature faster? You can place the eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for up to 10 minutes.

Try these tips for a chef-level hollandaise

In addition to using room-temperature egg yolks for your hollandaise sauce, there are a few cooking tips that will elevate it to French-chef status. In this recipe for lemony hollandaise sauce, it's recommended to beat the egg yolks, lemon juice, and water with a metal whisk until the mixture doubles in volume. This will incorporate air into the sauce and achieve the frothy, velvety texture that a good hollandaise is known for. Another method for achieving this texture is to pulse the sauce in a blender.

When it's time to cook the hollandaise, pay close attention to temperature so as not to cook the eggs. You'll need a double-boiler method for this. Place a pot with the egg mixture over simmering water and cook it for 2-3 minutes, whisking continuously. Remove the mixture from the heat and slowly whisk in the melted butter. You'll want to use the hollandaise sauce right away, so prepare accordingly.

Another tip for a stellar hollandaise sauce is to use grass-fed butter for a deep yellow color that makes the sauce pop with golden hues. Want a little bite to your sauce? Add a pinch of cayenne or a ½ teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Making a hollandaise sauce may seem intimidating, but by following a couple of key steps, you can pull it off with ease and be ready to top your eggs Benedict like a professional chef.