Mayonnaise is one of the many foods that is referred to as an emulsion. An emulsion is a
combination of two unlike components. According to Julia Child, mayonnaise is also something every cook must
confidently and rapidly whip up on command with nary a qualm, because it is one of the elemental cookery procedures.
Fresh, homemade mayonnaise is so much
better tasting than the store-bought commercial mayonnaise. It is easy-to-make,
inexpensive, and so good! You will definitely impress your family and friends with the wonderful taste of homemade mayonnaise.
It has a silkiness and elegance that can't be beat. Once you make your own mayonnaise, you will understand the taste difference.
Give it a try!
The Science of Mayonnaise: Before attempting to make homemade mayonnaise, it is
important to understand just how mayonnaise works. Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil in lemon juice that has been stabilized by the molecule lecithin found in the egg yolks.
The key to making mayonnaise is to avoid having the components of the emulsion separate back into their individual components. This is called "turned" or
"broken" mayonnaise. 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.
Why To Make Your Own Mayonnaise: There are two (2) main reasons for making your own
mayonnaise - freshness and flavor. Homemade mayonnaise is fast and easy to make
in a blender or food processor. It takes less than 5 minutes to make.
Homemade Blender Mayonnaise Recipe
Yields: approximately 2 to 2 1/4 cups
Prep time: 5 min
2 egg yolks, room temperature*
egg, room temperature*
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed
lemon juice, plus more if needed**
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Big pinch freshly-ground white pepper
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. You may also use pasteurized eggs.
** Some people like to use vinegar in place of the
lemon juice. I personally like the flavor of the freshly-squeezed lemon juice.
*** For a basic mayonnaise, use
an 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, mustard,
salt, and white pepper in the work bowl of the food processor or blender; process for
10 seconds or more, until creamy.
With the food processor or blender running continuously,
pour in the oil very slowly in driblets at first, to start the emulsion
process. NOTE: Add 10 to 15% of the oil at this time.
The first addition should be small and gradual. Wait about 30 second
When the sauce has definitely thickened, you
may add the oil in a thin stream. Do not stop the machine at this point, but
cease pouring every few seconds to be sure the oil is being absorbed.
NOTE: Add about 50% of the oil at this time.
Then continue until the remaining 1 1/2 cups
of oil are incorporated. NOTE: You may not need to use
all the remaining oil at this time.
Stop the machine and check the mayonnaise for
taste and consistency. Adjust the seasonings and, if the mayonnaise is very
thick, process in additional 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 or
jar and store in the refrigerator. If
not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The sauce
will keep for a good week. The fresher the eggs used, the longer the
mayonnaise will keep.
Makes approximately 2 to 2 1/4 cups.
Precautions for Preparing Mayonnaise:
IMPORTANT: All the ingredients must be at room temperature. If necessary, eggs may be immersed in warm
water for 10 minutes to bring them up to temperature before
breaking them into the blender jar.
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. You may also use pasteurized eggs.
Eggs keep the fat (oil) and the liquid (vinegar or lemon
juice) of the mayonnaise evenly blended together. If egg
yolks weren’t used to emulsify the mayonnaise, the heavier
liquid would sink and the lighter fat would float just as
they do in vinegar and oil dressing.
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.
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.
Repairing "Turned" or "Broken"
Mayonnaise frequently breaks when stored overnight in the
refrigerator and should be reconstituted before being used. If mayonnaise breaks at any point, it can be brought back
together by beating the broken mixture bit by bit into a fresh egg yolk. As soon as this new mixture begins to
thicken, the broken mayonnaise can be added more quickly.
Champagne Mayonnasie: You can use a regular, white distilled vinegar, or you can amp up your
mayonnaise with a flavored vinegar, such as a champagne or pinot noir vinegar.
Chantilly Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, then fold in 1/2 cup heavy cream, beaten to soft peaks.
Chipotle Mayonnaise: To the finished mayonnaise, stir in half of a roughly chopped chiipotle pepper in adobe
sauce. Also add 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce. Taste and add more to your taste.
Citrus Mayonnaise: Substitute Meyer lemon
juice, lime juice, or blood-orange juice for the lemon juice; the
blood-orange juice will tint the mayonnaise a delicate pink. If you use
blood-orange juice, you could add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar at the beginning of the recipe.
Curry Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, then blend in 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder.
Fruit Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, then beat in 3 tablespoons each orange juice and
superfine sugar, 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind, and a pinch nutmeg.
For added zip, mix in 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other fruit liqueur.
Serve with fruit salads.
Garlic Mayonnaise (Aļoli): Prepare mayonnaise. Add 2 teaspoons minced garlic (roasted for an additional
flavor boost) with the first group of ingredients.
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).
Mustard Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, 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
each minced parsley and fresh chervil. Serve with seafood or use to dress
cold vegetable salads or sliced tomatoes.
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, then mix in 1/4 cup black or red caviar, 1/2 cup sour
cream, and 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill.
Tarragon Mayonnaise: Excellent served with poached fish and crab cakes.
Thousand Island dressing: Prepare mayonnaise. Into 1/2 cup of
mayonnaise, stir in 1 tablespoon of tomato paste or 2 tablespoons of
ketchup, and 1 tablespoon each of finely chopped gherkins, minced scallion
whites and chopped green olives. Season with mustard, lemon juice and black
Wasabi or Horseradish Mayonnaise: To the finished
mayonnaise, add 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder or 2 teaspoons prepared
horseradish (adding more to taste).
Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, by Julia
child and Jacques Pepin, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1999.
Food Science, Course FS 532 Lab Manual,
University of Wisconsin, Dept. of Food Science, Updated January 16, 2003.
Sauces: Classical and
Contemporary Sauce Making, by James Peters, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1991.