Making Mayonnaise

How to make a Mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise is a revelation to anyone who has only ever eaten mayonnaise out of a jar. It has real flavor, with hints of mustard and lemon, as opposed to the insipid taste of the jarred version. You can adjust the consistency of homemade mayonnaise depending on what you're using it for. Stiff mayonnaise is good for serving with artichokes and deep-fried and grilled foods, while a looser mayonnaise can be used as a sauce for seafood or hot or cold cooked vegetables.

The process of making mayonnaise is very much like making a vinaigrette, except that the oil is emulsified into an egg yolk - mustard mixture instead of just mustard. The mustard is stirred into the yolk to promote the emulsion, along with a little lemon juice or vinegar for flavor. Tasteless vegetable oils such as canola or safflower oil are used to make all-purpose mayonnaises. Olive oil, or even nut oils, can be used to make more distinctively flavored mayonnaises. Most mayonnaises can be made in a blender, food processor, or by hand, using a wooden spoon or mortar with a pestle as when making garlic mayonnaise, because the aggressive action of a blender or food processor, or even a whisk, compromises the flavor of the oil and turns it slightly bitter.

If you are concerned about using raw egg yolks, cook them into a sabayon as though you are making a hollandaise sauce and whisk in oil instead of butter.

Basic Mayonnaise (hand made method)

  • Combine the egg yolks, mustard and lemon juice or vinegar in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

  • Start by adding only a teaspoon of oil at a time, pouring it carefully down the side of the bowl and whisking it into the egg yolk mixture a little bit at a time.

  • When the mayonnaise stiffens slightly, you can add the oil more quickly - about a tablespoon at a time.

  • Continue adding oil until the mayonnaise is stiff. If the mayonnaise becomes too stiff to work, add a little more lemon juice, vinegar or water to loosen it.

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