Sous Vide Hollandaise

Consider hollandaise, that unctuous mixture of warm egg yolks and butter. The sauce is so fragile because butter congeals and separates as soon as it cools. And it’s all too easy to overheat the eggs and curdle the sauce. But we show you how to avoid these problems by cooking the eggs sous vide by putting the sauce in a whipping siphon; you no longer have to make hollandaise at the last minute while pulling together the rest of your meal.

This is yet another example of the dozens of foundational recipes in our Basics chapter of Modernist Cuisine at Home that are not only approachable and versatile but very tasty, too.

—Adapted from Modernist Cuisine at Home

Tips & Substitutions

Steps 1–7:

  • You can tailor the sauce by using other kinds of vinegars or wines. Consider the dish in which the hollandaise will be used and then substitute appropriate flavors. Red wine and sherry vinegar pair well with grilled hanger steak, for example.
  • Similarly, you can use a variety of stocks in place of water. Just as with the wine and vinegar, make sure to consider the ingredient with which you will pair the sauce. Use poultry stock with poultry, fish stock with fish, and so on.
  • We have a few variations in Modernist Cuisine at Home to add even more creative flavors into your sauce, including Crustacean Hollandaise, Garlic Hollandaise, and Spicy Hollandaise.
  • In step 3, simmer the liquid until it is almost completely reduced and syrupy. This should take about eight minutes.
  • We recommend using an immersion blender to blend the egg yolks and stock into the wine reduction. If you are making large quantities, use a commercial blender.
  • Use Archimedes’s principle to remove as much air as possible if you are using a zip-top bag as a sous vide bag. Place the mixture in the bag, and slowly submerge it, unsealed, in a bowl of water or sous vide bath. Zip the bag closed before any water leaks in.
  • After cooking at 65°C / 149°F for 30 minutes, the eggs will not be fully pasteurized but more akin to an over-easy egg.

Steps 8–11:

  • Both citric and malic acids are derived from fruit. Citric acid comes from citrus fruit, and malic acid is what gives green apples their tang.
  • You can find both citric acid and malic acid online.
  • Most Indian and some Asian grocery stores carry citric acid. You can find malic acid in home-brewing stores. Some health stores also carry malic acid nutritional supplements, but it’s not the same as malic acid powder and will not work in recipes. If you are using lemon juice instead of one of the suggested acids, add it slowly to taste.
  • We like to aerate our sauce in a whipping siphon. This is not necessary if you are serving the sauce right away, but it won’t be foamy.
  • Use a funnel to pour the sauce into your siphon.
  • Make sure to charge the whipping siphon with nitrous oxide, not carbon dioxide, which is used for carbonating soda and fruit.
  • Need a recommendation for a siphon? We recommend iSi brand.
  • When you charge the siphon, you should hear a hissing sound, which will stop abruptly. If you continue to hear the hissing sound, then remnants of a previous foam might be causing a leak, or some part of the siphon could be damaged. Vent the siphon, remove the nozzle, unscrew the top, and take out the cartridge. Clean these parts and the rubber gaskets thoroughly and check that they are undamaged and seated properly before trying again.
  • To learn about how whipping siphons work, click here.
  • The sauce will keep up to two hours before being siphoned. Keep it warm in a 55°C / 131°F water bath.

8 Responses to “Sous Vide Hollandaise”

  1. P. Shima says:

    Can this be frozen, prior to whipping?

  2. Moscool says:

    Are you sure it’s a 1 litre siphon? The ingredients seem to add up to 400ml only. As I only have a 500ml siphon, should I halve the recipe and use only one N2O cartridge?

    Thanks

    • You can use either siphon, but you still might need two charges. Try adding one charge, and then check the consistency (dispense a small amount to test it). Then add a second charge if needed.

  3. Moscool says:

    Further update:

    A total fail on this one: it went badly wrong but hard to call exactly at which point:

    1) Water bath egg mixture

    Perhaps my vinegar reduction was too hot to start with or maybe the acid changes the setting point of the yolks, but the result was lumpy, not custardy. As a result the sauce was more liquid than expected (I was expecting a slightly runny mayo texture)

    2) ISI + holding

    I used a 0.5l siphon as per my previous comment with 2 N2O cartridges (I assumed 1l was a typo) and then shook it slightly before holding at 55C

    Result: when pouring, a very liquid sauce that bubbled in the plate and then ‘calmed down’. Very tasty though but definitely the wrong texture.

    I then release the gas to inspect the content of the siphon: all butter separated and floating on top and bubbling up, floating on top of soft egg that looked curdled but was actually very soft to the taste.

    Looking at the instructions again it may have been more sensible to use a vertical beaker and use the ‘vertical pull’ approach with the stick blender to get a firmer structure to start with.

    Lots of work for a total ‘fail’. An ideas/suggestions?

    • Johnny Zhu says:

      It sounds like you have a broken hollandaise . I recommend cooling the vinegar reduction and melted butter to room temperature before adding them. The butter should also be added slowly, like any emulsion. Make sure the nitrous oxide has enough time to saturate the mixture as well. People tend to charge their siphons and dispense them immediately, but the nitrogen needs time to settle in.

  4. Hamilton says:

    Looks good, I’m going to try this.

  5. Shane says:

    This was amazing! I added some togarashi, but even before that it was spectacular. Thank you for sharing!

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