May 5, 2009

Homemade Mayonnaise...easier than you might think

Everyone has a line drawn in the sand. A point at where you just raise your fist to the heavens and shout "No more!". This, my friends, is what has happened to me.  My line was crossed. In the grocery store isles, shopping for mayonnaise, the ugly scene ensued... it went something along the lines of, "Are you freaking kidding me? Over $4 a quart for freaking mayonnaise?"
Freaking indeed.

Now I make my own mayonnaise, because I no longer find it convienant to be fleeced in that particular aspect of my life. Yes I realize I'm fleeced in many other areas that I have no control over. But darn it, I know how to make some darn tasty mayonnaise, and now I'm mad and motivated, and I will share with you :)

First off, I have come to love making mayonnaise. It really is kitchen chemistry at it's finest. It sort of makes me feel like a mad scientist..and not just mad at the cost of store mayo. Anyway, mayo is tempermental ...but only at first. Then it's relatively forgiving. However, you MUST follow the beginning steps or else you will not have mayonnaise. But no worries, I'll get to that.

Mayonnaise is an emulsion of eggs and oil. According to chemistry, an emulsion is "any colloidal suspension of a liquid in another liquid." Thank you Good eggs are important for taste and also because we're going to use them raw- as in uncooked. You can use pasteurized eggs, and if you're at all sqeamish about raw eggs, that's what you should do. You can use any oil. The Spanish love to make mayo with olive oil for the taste, but in this post I'm aiming to reproduce store-bought mayo, so we want to use a neutral-flavored oil. Pick your favorite.

I like to make mayonnaise in my kitchenaid with the whisk attatchment. It's easiest for me, but you can adapt to a hand beater or a whisk if you're determined to get an arm workout.

Basic Recipe for Mayonnaise

(all seasoning will be tasted for and adjusted up if needed at the end, so you can go lightly)

3 eggs- separated and reserved
1.5-2.5 c. oil approximately
1-2 T. of acid (lemon juice, lime juice, assorted vinegars)
.5-1 t. salt
pinch of sugar if desired
a squirt of prepared mustard or some mustard powder if desired
also: some people enjoy a few drops of hot sauce or pinch of cayenne. It's up to you.

Start with eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for a few minutes. 
Ice-cold ingredients can doom your mayonnaise.
We start with the egg-yolks only.

This is the fairly runny mixture of egg-yolk, acid, mustard and salt/sugar.

Now this is where I get serious. With the mixer running,
or you whisking away, start adding the oil to the egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon at a time. 
This is literally a few drops at a time, a dribble, a wee bit.
You must do this for at least the first 1/4 cup of the oil
if you want the mayonnaise to form properly.
If you over-dribble, stop oiling and let it beat in for a bit
and pray for the best!! 

You can see it starting to thicken some more here.
Yes, it is very yellow at first, but will gradually get
lighter as you keep adding oil. You don't have to be
quite so precise after the first 1/4 cup, but do add
slowly and let it mix in before you add more.

Keep going, but you can see it getting lighter and thicker.

Here I'm scraping down the sides. The downside of
my mixer on high speed is that it likes to kick stuff
onto the sides of the bowl.

It's really gelling here. You can see that the texture is
definately thick. I'm going to add a bit more oil.

Ok, so we're going to stop for a bit. We need to chat mayonnaise. What we have here is called "heavy mayonnaise". Obviously, you can tell from the picture that it is very thick and saturated stuff. It's used in the food industry quite often. It is better for foods like mayonnaise salads that are going to be made ahead of time. It doesn't get as weepy or icky since the moisture content is minimal, it coats very well and doesn't get absorbed as easily as regular mayo. This is useful to know, especially if you are going to make something with mayonnaise and need to hold it for awhile.

Here you can see the very custard-y texture of the heavy mayonnaise. Like I said, heavy mayonnaise has lots of uses. However, this is not quite the product that we buy in the supermarket when we pick up a jar. (or not if it's $4!!!!) For that type of mayonnaise, we must do a final step.

See what happened?  We went from gloopy to creamy, yellow-y to ivory in a single bound by simply adding 2 of the reserved egg whites back into the mix. It's magic, I tell you! See how pretty it is? Now you can taste it and check for seasonings...does it need more lemon juice? more salt? Add it in and mix it up. It's quite forgiving at this point.

So now, all that's left to do is put the delicious, homemade, preservative-free (and cheap, did I mention cheap? as in not $4 a jar?) mayonnaise into a jar and into the fridge.  With all the sandwhiches that get made at my house for school lunches, it goes pretty fast and I haven't had a problem with spoilage.  However, you can easily make a smaller batch if you have a smaller group to feed.



Sailu said...

Bookmarked to be tried this weekend.

Thanks for sharing.

Sailu @ Sailus Kitchen

Mina (theBrat) said...

Your welcome! Hope you enjoyed.