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Old 02-06-2008, 05:41 PM   #1
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Please help me with Bearnaise Sauce

why oh why can't i get it right

Every recipe I tried the butter always comes out way too strong masking every other flavor in sauce. I know an easy solution would be "well just lower the butter amount", but I am sure I am doing something wrong since all recipes call for a large amount of butter. I read that heating is a very key issue when making Bernaise. I cook it on the lowest setting so as not to have the egg yolks cook completely through but enough to melt the butter.

Help!, i tried 4 times already and everytime it comes out terrible. I had Bernaise in France and I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to taste it again.


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Old 02-06-2008, 05:46 PM   #2
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It would really help if we could look at your recipe. Can you post it for us?
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Old 02-06-2008, 05:47 PM   #3
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Can you post the recipe?
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Old 02-06-2008, 07:53 PM   #4
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Bearnaise sauce

Quote:
Originally Posted by anori View Post
why oh why can't i get it right

Every recipe I tried the butter always comes out way too strong masking every other flavor in sauce. I know an easy solution would be "well just lower the butter amount", but I am sure I am doing something wrong since all recipes call for a large amount of butter. I read that heating is a very key issue when making Bernaise. I cook it on the lowest setting so as not to have the egg yolks cook completely through but enough to melt the butter.

Help!, i tried 4 times already and everytime it comes out terrible. I had Bernaise in France and I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to taste it again.

Bearnaise sauce is one of the most difficult to get right. The first question is: have you ever made Hollandaise sauce as this is the basic or "mother sauce" from which Béarnaise is derived?

If the flavour of butter is coming through too strongly, you could add/should add drops (literally drop by drop of freshly squeesed and sieved lemon juice), which will counter balance the butter/fat/egg flavour of the sauce.

Did you clarify the butter before using in the sauce?

Did you whip the vinegar reduction and egg yolks sufficiently over a pan of hot water before incorporating the clarifed butter?

More information needed as to your exact method!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regards,
Archiduc
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Old 02-07-2008, 03:38 PM   #5
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I was told that Bearnaise was hard but I didn't realize it required such detail.

Archiduc if you don't mind could you please type up a specific method for making it including heating, whisking, etc. I would greatly appreciate it.

And no, I have never tried Hollandaise

Also, im relatively new to cooking. I know bearnaise is a bit out of my league, but I really want some !!

Thanks

this is the recipe i used:

2 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
2 tablespoon dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped taragon leaves
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1/2-3/4 cup unsalted butter
coarse salt
pepper
lemon juice
  1. Combine vinegar, wine, shallots, black pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat until reduced to 1 tablespoon, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of water to reduced vinegar mixture.
  4. Whisk until thick and pale, about 2 minutes.
  5. Set pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed reaching all over bottom and insides of pan, where eggs tend to overcook.
  6. To moderate heat, frequently move pan off burner for a few seconds, then back on.
  7. As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, then thicken.
  8. When the bottom of the pan is visible in the streaks left by the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from heat.
  9. By spoonfuls, add soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition.
  10. As the emulsion forms, add butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed.
  11. Continue incorporating butter until sauce has thickened to consistency desired.
  12. Season with salt, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped tarragon and, if desired, pepper.
  13. Add a few droplets of lemon juice if necessary.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:31 PM   #6
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Hi Anori,
Thanks for your reply. I`m going to have to print it out and study it. Scrolling back to your method I can see a couple of points which may be causing you problems. Point 3: add the water to the reduction before you add the egg yolks - as the temperature at point 2 may be too high for the egg yolks, I would suggest that you add the water before you add the egg yolks.

I`m scrolling back, reading and thinking as I write this and one thing that I notice is that you say you`ve had the sauce in France. Now this means that you have a "bench mark" in relation to the taste of final product that you want to achieve. Next question - how many times have you tasted the sauce - I reckon it will taste differently in every restaurant depending upon which butter is used and which acid ingredient is used, the quantity of herbs used etc! However, there are some "certains" that you can quarantee. It should taste buttery, herby, eggy and acidic at the same time - it is the most mellifluous of sauces and consequently most difficult. Sorry, I`m not making things any easier here am I? There are 4 flavour notes, rather like the scales of music - which one was the predominant one for you? against which you can measure your sauce. Which flavour PEAKED for you? Which flavour do you want to be the highlight - in order to answer this question you need to cast you mind back to what you tasted in France. From your postings I would suggest it is not that of butter (which is best clarified before you add it). I would surmise that you want the flavour of the shallot and herb reduction to come through a bit more, counterbalanced by the acid - vinegar in the reduction or lemon juice at the end of creating the sauce.

Finally, it may be that the amount of finely chopped tarragon you are adding to the sauce, after incorporating the butter, is insufficient to give the depth of flavour you want. Add a bit more and add a teaspoonful of freshly chopped flat leaved parsley to the sauce to warm through whilst it is in the bain marie or keeping hot before you serve it.

Whilst I`m studying your recipe I reckon you should give it another go bearing in mind the points that I`ve made. I think the critical thing here is to think back and indulge in some "mind tasting" recollections. Again, every thing comes back to what was the END point of the sauce that you tasted in France which is the FIRST and LAST point of tasting for a customer - buttery, herby, acidic, eggy or some other combination?

Hope this helps - let me know if you need more info!

All the best,
Archiduc
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archiduc View Post
Hi Anori,
Thanks for your reply. I`m going to have to print it out and study it. Scrolling back to your method I can see a couple of points which may be causing you problems. Point 3: add the water to the reduction before you add the egg yolks - as the temperature at point 2 may be too high for the egg yolks, I would suggest that you add the water before you add the egg yolks.

I`m scrolling back, reading and thinking as I write this and one thing that I notice is that you say you`ve had the sauce in France. Now this means that you have a "bench mark" in relation to the taste of final product that you want to achieve. Next question - how many times have you tasted the sauce - I reckon it will taste differently in every restaurant depending upon which butter is used and which acid ingredient is used, the quantity of herbs used etc! However, there are some "certains" that you can quarantee. It should taste buttery, herby, eggy and acidic at the same time - it is the most mellifluous of sauces and consequently most difficult. Sorry, I`m not making things any easier here am I? There are 4 flavour notes, rather like the scales of music - which one was the predominant one for you? against which you can measure your sauce. Which flavour PEAKED for you? Which flavour do you want to be the highlight - in order to answer this question you need to cast you mind back to what you tasted in France. From your postings I would suggest it is not that of butter (which is best clarified before you add it). I would surmise that you want the flavour of the shallot and herb reduction to come through a bit more, counterbalanced by the acid - vinegar in the reduction or lemon juice at the end of creating the sauce.

Finally, it may be that the amount of finely chopped tarragon you are adding to the sauce, after incorporating the butter, is insufficient to give the depth of flavour you want. Add a bit more and add a teaspoonful of freshly chopped flat leaved parsley to the sauce to warm through whilst it is in the bain marie or keeping hot before you serve it.

Whilst I`m studying your recipe I reckon you should give it another go bearing in mind the points that I`ve made. I think the critical thing here is to think back and indulge in some "mind tasting" recollections. Again, every thing comes back to what was the END point of the sauce that you tasted in France which is the FIRST and LAST point of tasting for a customer - buttery, herby, acidic, eggy or some other combination?

Hope this helps - let me know if you need more info!

All the best,
Archiduc
WOW! You are genius. I think you can not hurt sauce by adding a bit more of vinegar or tarragon if needed after sauce is done. I also think the right amount of salt is quite important to bring out flavor. Another thought is you did not reduce vinegar, tarragon ,shallot reduction enough.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:25 AM   #8
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Hi Jpmcrew,
Beware of adding salt too soon -season to taste at the END of the process. Beware of adding salt too soon!

Regarding the reduction, as you say I`an humble opinion, it is one of the most difficult points, dare I say sauces to get right. Equally, we have the question as to what is right!

If the reduction has been insufficient then the ingredients used in the reduction have been insufficient and one should look to the quantity and quality tarragon in the first place as the quantitiy and quality of other ingredients are less likely to variation - IMHO!

Adding acid - vinegar/lemon juice etc., or herbs must be done very carefully - taste, taste and taste again and only then if you think something extra should be added at the end of the process like some extra finely chopped tarragon and/or some very, very finely choppped flat leaved parsely should you do it.

Good luck with this most Royal of sauces,
Archiduc
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Old 02-09-2008, 01:00 AM   #9
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A side note I would never use ground black pepper I all ways use pepper corns in the reduction. 2 it is very important to clarify your butter. Granted this can be a tricky sauce to master but obtainable with just a little work
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:28 AM   #10
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anori,

I posted a very lond reply, not sure why is lost... but these are my comments and I hope they help you.
Seems like your quantities for the vinegar reduction are too small.
I use normally 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of white vermouth, 1Tbsp of mince shallots, 1 Tbsp of minced tarragon, 1/4 tsp of pepper and a pinch of salt.
Note that I like this sauce spicy, the pepper quantity could be less. Green onions are a good substitute for tarragon.
I heat up ingredients until boiling, season and reduce over medium heat until liquid is reduced to 2 Tbsp.
I do not use water, I question the use of water from the recipe you posted.
The vinegar mix is reduced to increase the flavors, why soften them with water?
Then, I proceed with the hollandaise using 3 yolks, 2 Tbsp of cold butter and 1/2 cup of melted butter and 2 Tbsp of minced tarragon.
I beat the yolks to thicken them over mild heat, strain the vinegar mix and beat in, add 1 Tbsp of cold butter and mix thoroughly over low heat. Add the second Tbsp of cold butter repeating the procedure and then add the melted butter drop by drop without stop mixing. Season to taste and add the 2 Tbsp of tarragon.

As archiduc suggested, parsley is a good alternative to tarragon and also remember where you tried the sauce and how it tasted. If it was a reasonable price restaurant, they probably used vermouth instead of dry white wine. If it was an expensive place, they probably used a nice white wine. Again, I question the use of water.

Another thing to watch is the butter-yolk ratio. I use 2 oz of butter per yolk as a guideline, I was told a yolk can take a bit more, but I'd rather be on the safe side.
The recipe you posted has a 3 yolk-6 oz. ratio, I use 3 yolk-5 oz.
I hope this helps you.

Bonne cuisine!
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