Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 12

We made hollandaise sauce today. One of the key ingredients to this wonderfully rich sauce is clarified butter.

Butter = 80% fat and 20% milk solids, water, and other impurities

Many French dishes call for "clarified" butter as it has a much higher smoke point and a distinct pure nutty flavor.  It is bright golden yellow in color and offers a more buttery flavor than other oil options.

Clarified Butter :
anhydrous milk fat rendered from butter to separate milk solids and water from butterfat (wondering what the word "anhydrous" means?  It simply describes a substance without water in it)

There are three ways to clarify butter:
[1.] Melt your butter slowly. The solids will sink. The impurities will foam on the surface. Skim surface. Put it in the fridge to harden. Pull out of the fridge. Poke holes through hardened butter and drain liquid at bottom of container. 
[2.] Decant melted butter. Bring to simmer again. Skim surface. Strain. 
[3.] Put butter in saucepan and bring to simmer. Let impurities evaporate. Be careful not to burn the butter. This process should take 10-15 minutes max.  Skim surface. 

Hollandaise can be difficult to make because it is a hot emulsified sauce. Mise en place is so important and so are the temperatures of your ingredients so your complete focus is needed. In a saucepan add 1 cup of white vinegar, 7-10 whole peppercorns, 3 bay leafs, 2 quartered shallots, and some fresh thyme. Let vinegar reduce to au sec ("dry"). When there is only the tiniest bit of liquid left in the saucepan add 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer once again. Next, strain liquid and ensure that your mise en place is ready to go. Put two egg yolks into your mixing bowl. Add 3/4 oz of your strained reduction liquid into mixing bowl with yolks. Place bowl on top of saucepan (with water still simmering to keep bowl warm but not hot) and whisk mixture until it is foamy like cake batter.  Pull mixture off heat. SLOWLY add 6oz of hot clarified butter while continuing to whisk so that your sauce does not separate.  If your hollandaise is too thick after adding your butter simply add 1/2 tsp of water to thin it out.  Next add a pinch of salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.


Perfect hollandaise!

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