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How to Fix Broken Hollandaise Sauce

When hollandaise “breaks,” it can usually be fixed. And if you know what to look for, you can save the sauce before it breaks.

Mise en place ingredients for making hollandaise sauce

What is Broken Hollandaise Sauce?

If the sauce breaks while you’re whisking or when you serve it on extremely hot food, you’ll know. It’ll become grainy and very thin and will actually be two separate liquids.

If your sauce looks like scrambled eggs, your egg yolks are overheated. Unfortunately, you can’t salvage this. Throw out the egg yolks and start over.

Curdled hollandaise sauce

How to Fix Broken Hollandaise Sauce

If your sauce separates, beat an egg yolk and a tablespoon of water in a clean bowl over simmering water. Then, slowly whisk the broken sauce into the egg yolk in the clean bowl.

How to Save Hollandaise That's on the Verge of Breaking

If it’s too hot, slowly whisk a tablespoon of cold water or heavy cream into it to quickly bring down the temperature and keep the liquids together.

If the sauce is separating because it’s too cool, or you’ve added the butter too quickly, return the bowl to the double boiler and whisk in a tablespoon of hot water to help “degrease” it. Then continue whisking in the remaining clarified butter.

Degreasing hollandaise sauce with warm water

Why Does Hollandaise Sauce Break?

Over-heating or overcooking the egg yolks is one culprit. Next time, be sure to use a double boiler and heat the yolks gently to avoid overcooking them. The second cause is either adding too much butter or adding it too quickly. When either of these occur, the sauce will look glossy like icing and pull away from the sides of the bowl, while the butter will float on top of the mixture.

Oily, glossy hollandaise sauce - about to break

 

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Tags: dairy, How-to