Food Lab’s Hollandaise


I have been reading this new book, The Food Lab, by J. Kenji Lopez Alt.

It’s more a science book than a cookbook… but the Engineer in me, loves that.  It explains how food works, why it works… and why it doesn’t.  If I can get through this 900 page tome, I’ll be smarter for it.

While I’m only in the first chapter, Breakfast, I am learning all sorts of things about Eggs.  Kenji’s style of writing is interesting, funny, and engaging.  He explains the science in simple terms that anyone can understand.  He uses experiments to debunk old wives tales and misinformation, and uses facts and data to support his conclusions.

For instance, while talking about Eggs he explains the different cooking times and temperatures of both the whites and yolks, pointing out that at their different ideal temperatures (180F for whites vs. 145F for yolks) yields challenges for getting both just right at the same time.  Mix in the variety of cooking techniques (boiled, poached, scrambled, and fried) you have a variety of perfect ways to cook the perfect egg – dependent on what is perfect to you.  Kenji offers tables and charts to summarize his data and allow the reader to formulate their own personal preference.

And while I am finding this all very interesting (I did say I was an Engineer), one particularly useful technique came out of his Egg section that I find fascinating and wanted to share.

Kenji’s ‘recipe’ for hollandaise.  I won’t explain the science behind this (get his book)… but his solution makes for the easiest hollandaise – and maybe the most consistent, delicious, and creamy version I have come across.

Melt 2 sticks of butter until melted completely.  Do not stir, allow the milk solids to rise to the top.

In an immersion blender add:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 T. hot water
  • 1 T. lemon juice

Blend up egg mixture and slowly add melted butter, leaving milk solids in the pan.  Continue to blend butter into egg mixture until butter is used up.

Season with salt and cayenne.


I made up this hollandaise from start to finish in less than 5 minutes and topped over my Eggscellent Eggs (

Great technique to add to anyone’s repertoire for your hollandaise needs.


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