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Hollandaise Sauce Question

post #1 of 108
Thread Starter 

Hi, in my class, one of our assignments is going to be an open discussion on the differences of using whole butter vs clarified butter for hollandaise sauce.  I'm new to the culinary world so i do not have any personal knowledge on the subject.  But after some research all i could come up with is that when you clarify the butter, you remove the solids and the water from the butter fat  which would end up changing the consistency of the sauce.  I also know that it would change the flavor a bit.  I believe that the higher smoking point of clarified butter would not matter in this instance because with hollandaise sauce you do not bring the temperature high enough to make a difference due to not wanting to cook the eggs.

 

Anybody have any info/opinions/experience on whole butter vs clarified butter for hollandaise sauce?

post #2 of 108

Flavor, flavor, flavor. Properly browned, clarified butter has a nice nutty taste, and how far that is developed is a matter of personal taste quite often. I've done it through similar methods as a beurre noir by leaving the milk solids in to brown, and that gives an even heavier flavor.

post #3 of 108

I have made a lot of Hollandaise sauce and have always used good QUALITY whole butter. I would never have thought to use clarified butter. Why would anyone DO that?

post #4 of 108

Melted butter, even browned, does not have quite the same qualities as clarified. Removing the milk solids alters things quite a bit; less of a toasted taste and a bit more like almond or hazelnut.

post #5 of 108

my guess is flavor, since it contains the solids and all. i was always taught to use clariryfied butter. brown butter actually sounds really nice. we make some at one of my jobs might see if can make it for a special.maybe that could be your discusion of taking whole butter and by knowing how long to cook it u can obtain certain flavors. solids removed if making brown butter though

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post #6 of 108

I've seen beurre noisette referred to as both explicitly leaving or removing the milk solids, and I'm starting to wonder which one is the original. To avoid the confusion I've always differentiated by using "clarified butter" when I mean no solids.

post #7 of 108


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EpicGuy View Post

Hi, in my class, one of our assignments is going to be an open discussion on the differences of using whole butter vs clarified butter for hollandaise sauce.  I'm new to the culinary world so i do not have any personal knowledge on the subject.  But after some research all i could come up with is that when you clarify the butter, you remove the solids and the water from the butter fat  which would end up changing the consistency of the sauce.  I also know that it would change the flavor a bit.  I believe that the higher smoking point of clarified butter would not matter in this instance because with hollandaise sauce you do not bring the temperature high enough to make a difference due to not wanting to cook the eggs.

 

Anybody have any info/opinions/experience on whole butter vs clarified butter for hollandaise sauce?


One of the issues with hollandaise is its delicate nature.  I know some people who swear that using clarified butter helps them make a smoother and more stable sauce.  Personally, I think they just haven't tried making it enough with whole butter.  Either way works fine for me, but both ways require practice.  Depending on the end result I want (less creamy and nuttier flavor with clarified, or softer flavor and frothier texture with whole butter), I'll use either or.

post #8 of 108
Thread Starter 

So pretty much what I'm getting is the flavor and consistency would be different.  You can do a lot more things flavor wise to whole butter before you add it in than clarified butter that would give more of a nuttier taste. And the consistency of a whole butter hollandaise would be a bit thicker and "fluffier" than a clarified butter hollandaise.  But as long as you prepare it correctly, you can successfully make it with both.  Am I missing anything?

post #9 of 108

That's about it. best of luck.

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post #10 of 108

It can be done either way, by not clarifying butter your food cost drops 30 to 50% depending on brand of butter and is's score.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #11 of 108

I must be right out of the loop ....never have used clarified butter for hollandaise....I love the richness of whole buttter. I do however use clarified butter for omelettes.

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post #12 of 108

I think I made hollandaise once with clarified butter, it just didn't seem to have the right richness and texture of the whole butter sauce.  It wasn't bad, mind you, I just preferred the other stuff.

 

mjb.

 

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post #13 of 108

So when you melt the butter it separates, right? Then when you add it your first using the clarified off the top and then adding the solids and the whey last...there should be a visible change in colour and consistency at this point. Like adding a little hot water to an over reduced cream sauce or an over saturated mayo.

 

So isn't everyone making it with clarified butter then finishing it to produce 'whole' butter hollandaise? or do you stir the butter before adding or just soften the butter or something?

 

Personally I've always discarded the whey and buttermilk but am interested in the differences you've observed. Using the above method I should be able to see/taste the difference with the same batch...or am I missing something?

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post #14 of 108

I always just add the whole butter in small bits whisked in at the end.

post #15 of 108

 

Quote:
 I would never have thought to use clarified butter. Why would anyone DO that?

Ask Escoffier.

 

My suggestion would be to do a side by side comparison. Make a hollandaise with clarified butter and a hollandaise with whole butter and decide for yourselves which one you prefer. I know my preference.

 

As a side note, in my experience, a hollandaise with whole butter will hold a little better due to the milk solids which help to bind the sauce.

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post #16 of 108

Nowhere in Escoffier's Sauce Hollandaise recipe does he call for clarified butter...whole, softened or melted WHOLE butter are the only "classic" choices because the sauce was meant to be a showcase for the wonderful flavor of top quality butter. So many chefs these days (even culinary school instructors) will tell you without a moment's hesitation taht clarified butter is the "classic" choice, and it really frustrates me. I'm not able to find any documentation as to when, where, and/or who was responsible for the shift over to the use of clarified butter to make "classic" Hollandaise. Anyone able to find anything definite? My guess is that it occured during the most recent series of nouvell cuisine movementst in France during the 60's, 70's, and 80's...maybe Fernand Point and his disciples had something to with it?

post #17 of 108

I checked this against my own book and it is correct.

http://en.petitchef.com/recipes/hollandaise-sauce-fid-513536 (  Source ).....interesting post.


 

"From the book A Guide to Modern Cookery – Part I, and found on page 23, by G. A. Escoffier, the foundation recipe for hollandaise consists of quantities for preparing one-quart of the sauce and the ingredients listed for this 1909 version include the following.


 

1 ½ lb. butter, the yolks of 6 eggs, 1 pinch mignonette pepper and ¼ oz. salt, 3 tablespoonfuls of vinegar.


 

The only ingredient I am not familiar with in this listed in the pepper. According to Penzeys Spices, mignonette pepper is a classical blend, also known as “shot pepper,” of cracked Tellicherry black pepper, Muntok white pepper and flavorful Moroccan coriander, and traditional in French-Canadian cooking and roasting.


 

Escoffier preparation procedure is described ? Put the salt, the mignonette, the vinegar, and as much water in a small saucepan, and reduce by three-quarters on the fire. Move the saucepan to a corner of the fire or into a bain-marie, and add a spoonful of fresh water and the yolks. Work the whole with a whisk until the yolks thicken and have the consistence of cream. Then remove the saucepan to a tepid place and gradually pour the butter on the yolks while briskly stirring the sauce. When the butter is absorbed, the sauce ought to be thick and firm. It is brought to the correct consistency with a little water, which also lightens it slightly, but the addition of water is optional. The sauce is competed by a drop of lemon juice, and it is rubbed through a tammy (a fine sieve or cheesecloth). He also provides a set of remarks ? The consistence of sauces whose processed are identical with those of the Hollandaise may be varied at will; for instance, the number of yolks may be increased if a very thick sauce is desired, and it may be lessoned in the reverse case. Also similar results may be obtained by cooking the eggs either more or less. As a rule, if a thick sauce be required, the yolks ought to be well cooked and the sauce kept almost cold in the making. Experience alone ? the fruit of long practice ? can teach the various devices which enable the skilled worker to obtain different results from the same kind and quality of material.


 

Escoffier had a way of breaking down descriptions of culinary preparations that were never done before, made them easy to understand and follow. Documentation of procedures and making them repeatable, and even 100 years later we find that the basic hollandaise has not changed very much. To the novice unfamiliar to certain terms may not know about ?bain-marie?, simply it is a hot water bath, or commonly known as a double boiler. Typically, one of the first sauces that a culinary apprentice will have to master is the art of making a hollandaise, as it takes skill, stamina, patience and practice to hone one that will hold up during service hours.


 

Trout Pontchartrain imageWhen working the line at a restaurant that has hollandaise on the menu, typically it is prepared just before service time as the shelf life is not very long, it usually sits out a room temperature to avoid becoming to thin or too thick. Too much heat will cause it to break and separate, and too cold it becomes a solid mass and unable to pour smoothly. Finding the right spot in the kitchen for service storage is always a challenge. Ladling a portion of hollandaise sauce on a plated Trout Pontchartrain is depicted in the image on the left."


 

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

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post #18 of 108

Escoffier's recipe actually calls for leaving the yolks and vinegar reduction over a gentle heat while "gradually adding the softened or melted butter, ensuring the cohesion and emulsification of the sauce by the progressive cooking of the yolks." The beautiful thing I've discovered about making the sauce this way is it's increased stability and willingness to be allowed to cool and repeatedly re-heated for saucing a plate...great for solving the problem of the best way to hold it on the line through service.

 

What about the party/parties responsible for convincing most of the world that clarified butter is the "classic" choice?

 

When? Where? Who? Any information anyone can find would be greatly appreciated.

post #19 of 108

I don't understand, according to the info provided, the sauce was basically on heat.

 

" Move the saucepan to a corner of the fire or into a bain-marie, and add a spoonful of fresh water and the yolks. Work the whole with a whisk until the yolks thicken and have the consistence of cream. Then remove the saucepan to a tepid place and gradually pour the butter on the yolks while briskly stirring the sauce "

 

 

What about the party/parties responsible for convincing most of the world that clarified butter is the "classic" choice?

 

The basic recipe stays the same, there is no right or wrong answer here.

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post #20 of 108

Escoffier does not indicate if he used the solids or clarified butter but he does indicate that clarified butter should always be kept at the ready. It's also clear from his recipe that he is using melted butter. I think one could make the argument either way solely based on Escoffier. I always use clarified butter as I find the solids can create a heavy sauce or worse if using salted butter. It's also worth noting that Escoffier referred to the solids as "scum". I have to question the notion that he would cook with an ingredient for such a delicate sauce that he viewed as "scum" even if he did run the sauce through a fine sieve. Since Escoffier uses salt I would wonder if butter in the time frame he wrote this was salted or un-salted. If it contained salt I think it would be clear that Escoffier was using clarified butter.

In either event the Master does give the reader license to interpret the recipe as desired.

 

Dave

 

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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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post #21 of 108

Dave,

 

Are you looking at a copy of the book as you write this? In his Hollandaise recipe, Escoffier writes "softened or melted" butter...a.k.a. WHOLE butter. The subtle and very specific individual flavor characteristics of whole butter are removed during the clarification process, rendering all clarified butter more of the less the same in the flavor department. Hence, it stands to reason that a sauce that is intended to showcase the superior flavor a particular region's butter would be made using WHOLE butter. Oui?

post #22 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefmikeski View Post

In his Hollandaise recipe, Escoffier writes "softened or melted" butter...a.k.a. WHOLE butter.


Escoffier does not use the term "softened" butter at all in his Hollandaise recipe. He clearly says "pour" the butter which would explicitly exclude "softened" or whole butter.

There is no indication at all that he was trying to show case an artisinal or regional butter, do you have a source to substantiate that theory?

If you read Escoffier his view on solids in melted butter is quite clear. I think Escoffier is precisely where clarified butter started in Hollandaise.

IIR Jacques Pepin does use softened butter so pick your poison.   wink.gif

 

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #23 of 108

To me Escoffier was using hot butter not softened or room temp. It is easier to teach a newb how to make it in a blender using hot butter to heat the yolks. To have a student stand here and whisk over a pot of kot water on the stove is asking for trouble. 1 in most cases sauce will break and he or she is highly likely to burn themselves. In his time all butter was what is known as 93 score today however butter by different manufacturers contains different amounts of water.

Margarine also . some contains so much water that on the label they even advise you not to cook or saute with it.  Cream in his time was at least 35 to 45 % butterfat but again not today, every brand is different. Now we even have imitation margarine, it looks like it was concocked by a pharmacist  or chemist.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #24 of 108

Use soft butter and you will end up with a very thick emulsion.  Very very thick.

post #25 of 108

Dave,

 

Page 21, recipe number 119 in Escoffier's The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery...as I quoted before: "whisk continuously over gentle heat whilst gradually adding soft or melted butter"...so on and so forth. Please tell me what Escoffier book it is that you're reading where he has actually written the words POUR and CLARIFIED butter in regards to his Hollandaise recipe.

 

Mike

post #26 of 108

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsy2727 View Post

I must be right out of the loop ....never have used clarified butter for hollandaise....I love the richness of whole buttter. I do however use clarified butter for omelettes.

 

Don't understand this. Whole butter is usually 81-82% butterfat, with the rest being mainly water.  Clarified butter is around 99-100% butterfat-much richer than 82%.

 

fwiw I was always taught to use clarified butter

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post #27 of 108

Guide Culinaire . A Escoffier  Crown Publishing    The original text. When I served my apprenticship in Nice   France(Hotel Negresco) over 50 years ago  Clarrified butter was made every day and used for EVERYTHING. I was only American in kitchen. All French. Swiss, and German Chefs.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #28 of 108

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chefmikeski View Post

Dave,

 

Page 21, recipe number 119 in Escoffier's The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery...as I quoted before: "whisk continuously over gentle heat whilst gradually adding soft or melted butter"...so on and so forth. Please tell me what Escoffier book it is that you're reading where he has actually written the words POUR and CLARIFIED butter in regards to his Hollandaise recipe.

 

Mike

 

Mike,

You may want to consider getting a copy of "Le Guide Culinaire" by Escoffier. I have a few different editions (including The Escoffier Cook book-A guide to the fine art of Cookery) here but not the edition noted by either you or Petals. However If you look up-thread you can see exactly what I have word for word as Petalsandcoco was kind enough to post it for you... verbatim.

You can cleary see Escoffier says "pour" the butter and there is no mention of adding "softened" butter.

BTW did you have a source on your statement that Hollandaise was created to show case "top quality butter"? To whom do you attribute the creation of the sauce?

You may find this an interesting read as Ruhlman uses Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire as a reference as well.

 

Dave

 

http://ruhlman.com/2010/06/classic-hollandaise-sauce/

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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post #29 of 108

Actually, one of the reasons for the clarified vs. whole butter--in my opinion-- is economy.

 

"in my time" in N. America, most places brought in salted butter in 50 lb cases. F.O.H. used this for butter rolls/curls and the kitchen used the rest.  This also included left over butter from bread baskets.  Invariably butter was thrown into0 a big pot and clarifiied.  This acomplished two things: One,being that salt is water soluable but not fat soluable, the resulting clarifiied butter had much of it's salt removed (Using whole salted butter would make for a very hollandaise), and second, the high heat wold (hopefully) sterilize the butter. In many of the places the butter was NOT brought to a noisette, but just to a big boil and left to cool. A hole was then drilled in to the cake and the liquid poured off--this was "treasured" for making mashed pots.

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post #30 of 108
I'm a fan of unsalted butter--unclarified--in my hollandaise as well. I like the flavor the milk solids supply.
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