Adventures in Homemade Mayonnaise (with Recipe)

I’m buying farm fresh eggs from a local friends each week-2 dozen for $4.  While I love quiche, hard boiled eggs, fried eggs, deviled eggs, egg strata, breakfast casserole and more–there is a point at which you think to yourself  “what else can you make with eggs?”.

That’s when a brilliant thought hit me.  Mayonnaise!  Mayonnaise is made from egg yolks-and we eat sandwiches and various salads enough to use up a bit.  Why not make my own mayo?  It is sure to be healthier (and less expensive) than the stuff you pick up at the store.

So I did a bit of research and came up with a variety of homemade mayonnaise recipes which were all pretty similar:

Homemade Mayonnaise

Homemade Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • 1 Egg Yolk (room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard (or 1 tsp prepared mustard)
  • 1/4 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 TBS Vinegar
  • 1 C Oil (Canola, Safflower, Corn--Olive is very strongly flavored so not recommended)

Instructions

    This recipe can be made in a food processor, a blender or with a whisk. (please see notes below)
  • 1-Whip/pulse the egg yolk for a few seconds by itself until the color changes slightly and it is creamy (approx 10-15 seconds in a machine)
  • 2-Add salt, mustard, sugar, lemon juice and vinegar. Mix well with whisk or machine.
  • 3-Begin adding oil-a few drops at a time to start. After a minute or so of adding and incorporating a few drops, when you can start to see the liquid thicken, you can add the rest of the oil in a very thin stream. This should take about 5 minutes and works best using a squirt/squeeze bottle.
  • 4. When all the oil has been added stop, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • 5. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Variations:
  • You can add all sorts of herbs and flavorings to your mayonnaise--either by adding dry spices to the yolk mixture initially, or by folding ingredients into the mayonnaise at the end.
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Please note, some of the additional directions in this recipe–especially the time frames and bit about the squeeze bottle– were added by me after my adventures.

here’s how it all happened.  Last week I set out to make mayonnaise, fully confident in my ability as a good cook to master this task.  I pulled out the food processor, got my ingredients, and started.  The yolk went into the processor.

AND. . . the blades are up too high and didn’t even TOUCH the tiny bit of liquid that was the egg yolk as they whirred around.  Um.  This is a problem.  I thought “Well maybe if I add the lemon juice and vinegar that will increase the volume enough”.  Nope.  No dice.  And of course there was so little liquid that I was afraid if I tried to scrape it into something else I’d loose a significant percentage.

Ok, no problem.  I’ve got plenty of eggs (did I mention 2 dozen a week?) so I’ll just pitch this batch, switch to the blender and start over.

I pulled out my Kitchen Aid blender that Yankee Bill got for me two years ago.  it’s pretty and red and it matches my mixer :)  Egg yolk, pulse, add other liquid and spices, pulse. . . The first issue right off the bat was that the bottom of this particular blender, unlike most others I’ve had in my life, is flat.  So the blades are not recessed down into the bottom most part–they actually are up just a bit.  Hard to explain-but basically only the very tip of two blades were even touching the yolk.  So it got stirred, but not with a lot of contact.  But finally I got to the point where you start adding the oil.

I had read SO MUCH about the dangers of adding too much oil too quickly that I erred on the side of safety.  I tried with drizzling in my oil with the measuring cup but nothing ever thickened up after 10 minutes or so–I figured I had added the oil too quickly and messed it up.  Chucked out that batch and started again.

Got the yolk, lemon, salt, sugar, vinegar, mustard in and mixed.  I had read somewhere that using a squeeze bottle could help control the oil-so I dug one out of the cake decorating stuff and filled it with the cup of oil and began again. A couple drops. Wait. A couple drops. Wait. repeat, repeat.  After almost 20 minutes I had only added about 1/4 of the oil and it was still completely liquid.  Something was wrong.

I’m nothing if not stubborn, and now this was personal.  I had been chronicling my debacle on the Frugal Upstate Facebook page as we went along.  By this point I was 3 eggs and 2 appliances into it.  I was not going to let it defeat me but was getting really ticked.  All the lovely folks on FB told me to take a break and a deep breath–so I did ;)

Ok.  Time to change tactics again.  Obviously the blades of the blender were not really whipping things up very well in my flat bottomed blender, so I went and pulled out the Oster blender I was sent to review a few months back.  Although it’s a very large party sized blender (part of the reason I didn’t choose it initially since we were working with such small amounts of liquid) it has a more traditional design with the blades being at the very lowest part of the pitcher and the shape of the pitcher narrowing as you get near the bottom.

The egg obviously whipped up much better.  The other ingredients incorporated fine.  I started dripping oil in slowly. . . It started to thicken and I was elated.  After all of these failures I was going to get it right!  I didn’t want to mess it up so I kept adding the oil very slowly.  Which apparently messed it up as my mayonnaise “broke” (ie went from being thick to all the sudden loosing it’s emulsion and turning into a soupy, clumpy mess).

Yup.  I may or may not have become very unladylike at that point.

After another deep breath (and lamenting to Facebook) it was time to hit the internet.  One reader, Kitsune Nyx, suggested I read “Kelly the Kitchen Kop”‘s post “What to do when your mayonnaise won’t set”–which looked good–except she was using an immersion blender.  I decided to experiment (I mean really-what did I have to lose at this point) and go old school.

I took out a bowl and a whisk.  I cracked myself a new egg yolk and tossed the whites into the tupperware container with the rest of them (I wound up eating egg white omelets for a few days after this thing).  I whipped the egg yolk by hand until it was lighter in color and frothy.  Then I took a spoon and started manually adding in (initially a few drops at a time and then a spoon or so at a time) the clumpy broken mayonnaise.

What do you know.  It combined beautifully, thickened up no problem and came out perfect.

Finally!  Since then I’ve made another batch of homemade mayonnaise and had it turn out just fine, now that I’ve mastered it!

A few notes:

The blades of whatever you are using needed to be down far enough that they would do their job and whip the egg, oil & lemon/vinegar together and create the suspension/emulsion.

I think I totally over-processed the mayonnaise the first couple of times around. Whipping it for too long actually caused it to break in the long run.  I had to be a bit bolder after the first couple of rounds of drops were incorporated and I saw the thickening.  The smallest constant stream I could get out of the squeeze bottle worked just fine when I made (a couple of days later) the Avocado Cilantro Mayonnaise–the whole thing went together in about 5 minutes.

Real farm fresh egg yolks will give you a totally different color to your mayonnaise.  That yellow color in the photo is the actual color–no photo editing, bad lighting or food coloring added.  It’s very yellow!

Real mayonnaise is really tasty!

 

 

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