Homemade Mayonnaise 101

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Homemade Mayonnaise

Take three simple ingredients, pick your preferred kitchen gadget, add any optional flavorings, and in less then two minutes you have a healthy and simple homemade mayonnaise. My favorite method does it all in one jar for virtually no cleanup.

This is one condiment every one needs to learn how to make. The store bought versions are health disasters. Take for example Hellman’s Mayonnaise, the brand I grew up on, but is it “Real”? The first ingredient is soybean oil, probably genetically modified (unless labeled organic 91% of soy is estimated to be genetically modified), and undergoes a tremendous amount of processing to produce that rancidity is inevitable. Brands made with other vegetable oils like canola oil are not healthier choices. (To learn more about what oils and fats to use read the Complete Guide to Fats and Oils, and learn How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods and Why).

Homemade Mayonnaise 101

The Ingredients

Basic: 1 Egg Yolk + 1 Cup Oil + 1 Tablespoon Liquid

Recommended Additions: 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt + 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Egg Yolk: preferably pasture raised and farm-fresh – this is a raw condiment after all. Plus pastured eggs offer more nutrition then even store bought organic choices.

Oil: Use extra-virgin olive oil or a combination of olive and other healthy oils like coconut oil, sesame seed, and nut oils.

Liquid: Use water, lemon or lime juice, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar. This is critical to a mayonnaise that doesn’t “break” (meaning it doesn’t thicken up and emulsify). “A single egg yolk can emulsify a dozen cups of oil or more. What is critical to the ratio is oil to water.” – Harold McGee.

If the mayo breaks – get a new bowl, add a teaspoon of water and begin adding broken mayo while whisking continuously.

Room temperature ingredients enhance the emulsification process (so does salt). Mustard helps maintain a stable emulsion (Michael Ruhlman).

The Tools

Whisk | Blender | Food processor | Immersion Blender | Standing Mixer

All these methods start by mixing the yolk, liquid and/or optional ingredients followed by a slooooooow drizzle of oil while whisking/processing/blending until an emulsion is formed and then you can proceed with a steady stream of oil to finish.

Whisk: I think everyone should try making mayo with just a bowl and whisk at least once in their lives (set the bowl on a towel to keep it stable). Once you have some bragging rights (and some sore arms) move on to your electronic equipment of choice.

See Michael Ruhlman’s “transformation” of egg yolk, lemon juice, salt, and oil into mayonnaise using a whisk and bowl.

Blender: This is my least favorite method. You may need to stop a few times to scrape the sides to make sure all the ingredients are emulsifying. I feel like I waste half the mayo trying to remove it from the blades.  If you have another option use it.

Food Processor: You need a small work bowl for this. I have an 11 cup food processor and can’t make a one cup recipe with it. You may notice a small hole on the top of your food processor -this will aid the process of pouring a small stream of oil while mixing the ingredients.

Watch Sarah from The Healthy Home Economist do a video for homemade mayonnaise with a food processor.

Stand Mixer: I personally never used this method but could see how this would be fabulous for a large portion (probably about 4 times the basic ratio). Use the whip attachment.

Immersion Blender: Very quick and easy method for homemade mayonnaise. You add all the ingredients in a 2 cup measuring cup and blend. Then pour in all the oil on top and start pulsing until it emulsifies. (Update – see Cindy’s comment below for another way to use the immersion blender for an easier mayo preparation).

For a step by step pictorial of this method check out the LA Times Test Kitchen Tip: Quick Blender Mayonnaise.

Whisk Attachment for Immersion Blender: The immersion blender method used to be my favorite until I rediscovered its whisk attachment collecting dust in my drawers. I pulled it out last month when I was trying to figure out the quickest, least messy way to make mayonnaise in its storage jar. With the whisk attachment, I use my recipe of choice and prepare and store all in one jar. I also like that it resembles the traditional hand whisk method for preparing mayonnaise.

Optional Flavorings/Ingredients

For a lacto-fermented version (for beneficial bacteria and longer storage) add one tablespoon of liquid whey (the liquid remaining after milk, yogurt, or kefir has been strained) and leave it on the counter for seven hours before refrigerating. This lasts a few months (as opposed one week for the regular version).

Aioli is mayonnaise traditionally flavored with finely minced garlic and made with extra virgin olive oil.

My favorite seasoning for homemade mayonnaise is dried ground Aji Amarillo, a Peruvian yellow chile pepper that you can find online. (Or do what I did- marry a Peruvian that can get it for you).

Other options include;

finely minced shallots: use within a day or off flavors may develop,

finely minced fresh herbs: like dill, chives, mint, tarragon, cilantro add them after the oil is added,

lemon/lime zest or other citrus zest,

curry powder – my favorite flavoring when making a simple chicken salad from left-over chicken used for soup/stock (check out how to easy it is to make your own slow cooker chicken stock).

minced ginger,

use your creativity!!

Mark’s Daily Apple has a recipe for Homemade Ghee Mayo– it uses clarified butter for an extra rich flavor.

Do you make your own mayonnaise? Which is your preferred method? How do you like to season it? Leave your tips and suggestions below.

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Homemade Lemon-Aji Mayonnaise (Electric Whisk Method)
Aji Amarillo is a Peruvian yellow chile pepper- use cayenne pepper as a replacement. Any oil combination works; this is my preference. For a lacto-fermented option include the liquid whey. All mayonnaise recipes work with any of your preferred methods.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried ground Aji Amarillo, or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
1 tablespoon liquid whey (optional)

1. Combine the oils in a glass measuring cup.
2. Place all ingredients except the oils in glass canning jar*. Place the jar on a kitchen towel to keep it stable. Use the whisk attachment to your immersion blender and whisk ingredients until fully incorporated.
3. Begin adding the oil very slowly, a few drops at a time, into the jar while whisking the ingredients. Once an emulsion is formed you can stream the oil a little faster to combine.
4. If using whey, leave at room temperature for seven hours before transferring to the fridge.

*I prepare the mayonnaise in a glass canning jar to minimize cleanup, but you can re-use store bought mayonnaise jars, or other glass containers. Otherwise prepare in a pyrex measuring cup or a bowl and transfer to a storage container.

This post is linked to The Healthy Home Economist | Monday Mania, Kelly the Kitchen Kop | Real Food Wednesday, and GNOWFGLINS | Simple Lives Thursday.

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