Mayonnaise is a permanent emulsion made by suspending tiny drops of oil and water (usually lemon juice or vinegar) in an emulsifying agent (egg yolk which contains lecithin) using a whisk. It’s an easy at-home condiment to make, tastes better than store-bought, is better for you, and can easily be used as a spread, as a dressing, or turned into a sauce by changing the consistency and flavors.
Depending on the type of olive oil you use, your homemade mayonnaise will range from ecru to a pale yellow, and will take on the flavor of the oil, so try to find a mild, fruity oil. You can also play with the viscosity of your mayonnaise by the amount of oil you add; The more oil you use, the thicker your mayonnaise will be.
Use fresh eggs
Using fresh, local eggs will provide you with the best nutrition, and in my opinion, a safest option. If local eggs are not available, select the best organic eggs, preferably without soy, available near you.
Mustard makes it happen
The secret to getting mayonnaise to act like mayonnaise is establishing the initial emulsion before streaming in all of the oil. A dollop of mustard, which also contains emulsifying lecithins, and a few drops of oil added to the egg yolks will ensure your emulsion will stick around to form mayonnaise.
Slow and steady makes the best mayo
Once the initial emulsion is formed, the oil can be whisked into the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream. The slower the oil is added, the smaller the oil droplets will be, creating a more stable mayonnaise.
Hand-eye coordination required
Mayonnaise requires some serious multi-tasking. One hand will need to stream in oil, while the other hand briskly whisks. Wrapping a damp kitchen towel around the mixing bowl will help hold it steady as you stream and whisk.
Why not use an egg beater?
If your hand held mixer has a whip attachment, by all means, use it. Otherwise, your small-batch mayo should be whisked by hand since there won’t be enough mass for your standing mixer to mix.
What about other types of oil?
If you’re using the mayonnaise immediately after making it, clarified butter or ghee works well. However the saturated fat will turn solid in the refrigerator, making it difficult to spread the mayonnaise after it’s been refrigerated, so it’s best to make just enough for same-day when using a saturated fat. Coconut oil will also produce the same result. Avoid using industrial oils of any kind (they are banned in my kitchen), such as canola, soy, peanut, or corn, as they are highly inflammatory, highly processed, and already oxidized even before you get them home.
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard
- 1 cup cold pressed, unrefined olive oil
- 1 tablespoon organic white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- Sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- In a medium glass, ceramic or non-reactive bowl whisk together egg yolk, mustard and a few drops of the oil until thick.
- While constantly whisking, slowly stream in half of the remaining oil. Add vinegar and whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue adding oil while whisking until desired consistency is reached.
- Stir in additional salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate, covered, up to 3 days.
Add 1 small garlic clove, minced, along with chopped fresh herbs such as tarragon and flat-leaf parsley.
1/2 teaspoon of raw honey will create a sweet and tangy mayonnaise.
Toasted, ground spices such as curries, cumin seeds or smoked and dried chilies will create a colorful and fragrant mayonnaise, and the perfect base for many sauces or dressings.