Saturday, December 24, 2011

Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe

I have found that making mayonnaise from scratch is very easy! It may seem counter intuitive, but doing it by hand is actually easier than trying to get an emulsion in a mixer or blender.

There are a few things that I have learned that will be helpful to you if you decide to try to make your own. The first is, use fresh farm/yard eggs. I don't know what they've done to our commercial egg supply, but the yolks are not the same. I know, you find that incredibly hard to believe. {/snark} Fresh yard eggs will make an emulsion and keep it without you even having to do anything, I mean unless you just dump all the oil in. If you pour the oil slowly and stir fast, the emulsion makes itself (or in Soviet Russia emulsion makes you!)

Secondly, you will want to use "light tasting olive oil" like this here (or whatever brand you'd rather have). Other types of olive oil can have a very strong flavor, which might be okay in some instances, like if you're making dressing out of it. Don't use lard. Trust me on this.

Finally, I've found that a mixture of sherry wine vinegar and lemon juice really makes the best mayonnaise.

So the recipe? There are literally dozens of them, maybe hundreds, but I've found the best one to make by hand is based on the one from Mastering the Art of French Cooking* by Julia Child, et al.

I've altered it though, because it says either sherry wine vinegar or lemon juice, but I insist that using both is better. I also reduce the amount of boiling water needed, maybe because I add more vinegar/lemon juice than she says to. I also suggest you buy the book, because it is one of the best cookbooks ever :)

Homemade Mayonnaise by hand
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 T. sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp prepared or unprepared mustard
  • ~17 oz bottle of light tasting olive oil
  • Sherry wine vinegar and lemon juice as needed (about 3T. of each)
  • 3 T. boiling water

All you need is a bowl and a whisk to make this. Make sure your bowl is warm (but dry!) so to take the chill off your eggs. Beat the egg yolks until they are thick and sticky, about two minutes.

Add the vinegar, lemon juice, salt and mustard. Beat for 30 seconds.

Then add the oil, a teaspoon at a time at first (don't stop stirring until you have an emulsion!), then once you have an emulsion (after about a quarter of the bottle) you can add a Tablespoon at a time. Once you do have an emulsion, make sure you whip it good after adding oil, before adding any more. When the mixture gets thick, add more sherry wine vinegar or lemon juice to thin it out, alternating between the two. I generally add about 3 T. of each during the course of adding the oil, a Tablespoon here and there. Once you have added all the oil, you'll want to add the boiling water to keep the mayonnaise from turning.

And buy the book! There are a lot more details about making mayonnaise in it, and all about how to fix turned mayonnaise and how to save a mixture that has lost the emulsion. I can't recommend it enough, it's really one of my favorite cook books of all time.

*The edition we have is an old one, so I don't know if they've changed anything in the newer versions

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