Hi I'm a new user to the group, having just used the Hairy biker recipe for hollandaise sauce as a treat for Sunday brunch eggs Benedict.

This are the ingredients:

  • 225g/8oz butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot or ½ banana shallot, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • a pinch of sea salt flakes
  • a pinch of caster sugar

And this is the preparation method:

For the hollandaise sauce, melt the butter slowly in a medium pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and pour the butter into a jug. Add enough water into a medium saucepan to come a third of the way up the sides. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Put the vinegar, shallot, peppercorns and bay leaf in a small saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until reduced to two tablespoons of liquid. Remove from the heat. Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and place over the pan of simmering water. Whisk the egg yolks with the salt and sugar until pale. Pour the vinegar mixture through a fine sieve onto the yolks and continue whisking until well combined. Slowly add the butter in a steady stream whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth, thick and shiny.

It split terribly and would not be rescued by adding it to a new egg yolk whisked in a clean bowl over a pan of simmering water. I had to use goats milk butter as I have a cows milk allergy. Would this make a difference? 225g of butter seems an awful lot? The taste was fine.

  • Did you follow the preparation method or did you pour in the butter all at once? If following the method, did you whisk until a bit of the butter was fully incorporated or just kept pouring?
    – Mien
    Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 13:38

3 Answers 3


It's hard to know exactly why your sauce failed, but I can think of two main reasons-- first, your heat was too high; and second, you added the butter too fast. The use of goat's milk butter should not be a problem, and the amount was fine. Next time, here are a few things to try, if you haven't already:

  1. When adding the butter, drizzle it in with the smallest stream you can, while whisking as vigorously as you can. The rate of addition is critical; going too fast will overwhelm the process of creating an emulsion. It is easier to do with two people, until you are comfortable with the technique.
  2. Keep the heat down. You need the water to give off enough heat so that the butter stays melted, but not much more. For that, the water can be just short of a simmer (60-80C/140-176F). If your water is boiling, you may never be able to keep an emulsion.
  3. In fixing a broken sauce, technique matters. Be sure the extra yolk is well beaten before adding the broken sauce. Next, drizzle in a little buttter to start the emulsion. Then, as before, drizzle the broken sauce into the yolk very slowly.
  4. Try adding a little water, say, 1-2 tbsp. Too high a proportion of fat to water will overwhelm the emulsion. I don't think your recipe is clearly out of proportion, but the amount of water is low enough to suggest it might be tricky to keep the emulsion stable.
  • Note that a yolk doesn't have enough liquid to start a good emulsion on its own. So, for point 3, try adding a teaspoon of liquid (stock, white wine, whatever) before you drizzle the first butter in, then proceed as Bruce suggests with slowly adding split sauce to the started emulsion.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 18:19

Right, this post is old now. But for anyone that might come here looking for answers, here are a few tips. First of all, I should say I have made Hollandaise many many times as a chef, and sometimes it just doesn't want to come together no matter how precisely you follow the steps and use the right amounts. And there is nothing to do but start over. Now to the question asked.

  • Yes you can use goat's milk butter, absolutely nothing wrong with that. But as with cow's milk, a Hollandaise is always easier to make if you clarify your butter first.

  • In terms of why it split, there could be a number of reasons. The most common ones have been mentioned here already. The heat might have been too high or the butter was poured in too fast. Or it simply didn't want to come together. A tip here: use a food processor, if you have one, to make your sauce; it's much easier. Add egg yolk, vinegar, and salt to it and blend, once blended slowly stream in your butter. The food processor can "whisk" much faster than you, and you don't have to do two things at once. Just be careful with overheating if using the food processor; don't let it run with the ingredients in while doing something else. Pour the butter and get it done and then turn it off. Also, all emulsion sauces can be made this way: mayonnaise, aioli, bearnaise, etc.

  • In saving a split sauce, there is only one thing to do: whisk one egg yolk with a tbs of water in a clean bowl and then slowly add in the split sauce. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If it didn't work start over, that's really the only thing to do.

And last but not least, I haven't tried this recipe, but it does seem like an awful lot of butter. I always go with 165-175gr of butter for 3 egg yolks. It depends on the eggs. Large eggs = 175gr, medium eggs = 165gr.

Hope this helps anyone that comes here to find answers.


First of all, I don't think that it split because of the goat's milk butter as for the purposes of a hollondaise (an oil emulsion) it is the same as cows butter.

There are 2 reasons I think why it could go wrong then: 1. Your heat may be too high as otherwise adding an egg yolk would have sorted it out but if the heat was too high then it will have just split again. Next time if you think it's getting too hot add an icecube.

2.The proportion of butter is too high, I always use the proportion of 120g of butter (1 stick) to 3 egg yolks.

I once heard that you could save a split hollondaise if all else fails by putting it in a food processor and blending it with a few tbs's of hot water but I don't actually know if that will help.

Anyway, I hope this info helps for next time.

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