Not a mayo admirer? You may well become a fan, once you’ve tried making this versatile condiment from scratch! Some people’s first question might be why bother making your own mayonnaise if it’s freely available pretty much everywhere. The trouble is that shop-bought mayonnaise is made to last longer and the result is that the ingredient list is bursting with preservatives, acids and sugars.
Homemade mayonnaise is easy to make and fast – it takes around 5 minutes to make. The advantages of making your own mayonnaise are its freshness (no artificial additives and preservatives) and the knowledge of what’s in it. Moreover, mayonnaise can be tweaked and altered in almost an infinite number of ways. By adding another simple ingredient such as garlic or herb sprig into the mix, a whole new taste experience can be created. According to many established chefs, mayonnaise is also something every cook must confidently and rapidly whip up on command because it is one of the elemental cookery procedures.
In certain cases (during summer, when you’re pregnant, etc.) it might be a better idea to make sauce Tartare – which is basically a mayo made with hard boiled eggs. And it can be used like the classic mayonnaise without taking any risks.
Before attempting to make homemade mayonnaise, you might be interested in just how it works. Mayonnaise is one of the many food stuffs that are actually an emulsion. An emulsion is mixture of two liquids that would not normally mix. Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil in lemon juice that has been stabilized by the lecithin found in the egg yolks. No matter how long you mix the oil and lemon juice together, it will always separate into a gooey mess unless the egg yolk is added as a stabilizer.
Below follows the basic mayonnaise recipe:
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 whole egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed, plus more if needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
Up to 2 cups vegetable oil or pure olive oil (all one or a mixture)
Since raw eggs are being use, only use the freshest eggs you can buy (the fresher, the better). As an egg ages, lecithin, a protein that acts as the central emulsifying agent, breaks down and the power of the egg yolk to stabilize the mayonnaise weakens.
For a basic mayonnaise, use oil with a mild flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients. If you plan to refrigerate your mayonnaise, then choose a refined oil such as pure olive oil or sunflower oil. An unrefined oil, such as extra virgin olive oil, will solidify when chilled and cause separation later as it returns to room temperature.
Put the egg yolks, egg, lemon juice and salt in the work bowl of the food processor; process for 10 seconds or more, until creamy.
With the food processor running continuously, pour in the oil very slowly in driblets at first, to start the emulsion process. Important: add 10 to 15% of the oil at this time. The first addition should be small and gradual. Wait few second between additions.
When the sauce has definitely thickened, you may add the oil in a thin stream. Do not stop the blender at this point, but cease pouring every few seconds to be sure the oil is being absorbed. Important: add about 50% of the oil at this time.
Stop the blender and check the mayonnaise for taste and consistency. Then continue until the remaining oil is incorporated or until you it reaches the thickness and consistency you like. Adjust the seasonings and, if the mayonnaise is very thick, process in drops of lemon juice or warm water to thin. The mayonnaise may be used at this point, or you can process in some of the remaining oil for a thicker sauce.
Transfer the finished mayonnaise to a bowl. If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Tips for preparing and storing mayonnaise:
- All the ingredients must be at room temperature. If necessary, eggs may be immersed in lukewarm water for 10 minutes to bring them up to room temperature before breaking them into the blender jar.
- Never use aluminum bowls or saucepans to prepare mayonnaise, as they will turn the mayonnaise gray. Stainless steel, enameled, plastic (food processor) or glass may be used.
- Add the oil very slowly, especially at the beginning.
- Since homemade mayonnaise has fresh eggs in it, the mayonnaise should not be left at room temperature for more than a couple hours, as food poisoning is always a concern.
- Fresh homemade mayonnaise can only be stored for a limited number of days – usually a maximum of 4-5 days in the fridge.
Herb Mayonnaise: Add 1/4 cup of roughly chopped herbs midway through the processing (after the mayonnaise has begun to thicken but before you have added all the oil).
Garlic Mayonnaise: Add 2 teaspoons minced garlic (roasted for an additional flavor boost) with the first group of ingredients.
Mustard Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, and then mix in 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard.
Remoulade Dressing: Prepare mayonnaise as directed, then mix in 1 tablespoon each minced capers and gherkins, 2 teaspoons each anchovy paste and Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon of fresh minced parsley. Serve with seafood or use to dress cold vegetable salads or sliced tomatoes.
Sauce Nicoise: Prepare mayonnaise as directed and set aside. Mix 2 tablespoons tomato puree with 2 minced pimientos and 1/2 crushed garlic clove; press through a fine sieve and blend into mayonnaise.
Russian Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, and then mix in 1/4 cup black or red caviar, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill.
Wasabi or Horseradish Mayonnaise: To the finished mayonnaise, add 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder or 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish (adding more to taste).
This is our experience and versions of mayonnaise we make. What is yours?