Homemade Mayonnaise! When you’ve mastered how to make your own mayo there is a plethora of dressings, dips and sauces that you can whip up. Homemade mayonnaise will embellish the BBQ-season, the picnic or breakfast sandwich, the snack evenings (chips and dip will never be the same again), the taco and almost every conceivable meal. Everything gets better with a dollop of mayo! Especially when it’s homemade!!! So take on your D.I.Y.-mind and try, it’s not as hard as you may think 😉
Making your own mayonnaise requires some arm strength or an electric mixer. The decision is yours. I usually go with the manual whip, I mean it’s pleasant when you can cook up a nice meal and get a workout at the same time. As a novice I would say that it takes tops 10 minutes to whip up a mayonnaise, but you will probably get the grasp of it quite soon and after just a few times you will have a delicious mayonnaise in about half that time. So when you’ve overcome the mayonnaise-making-technique you will make it again and again and again… I will thoroughly guide you through the steps in the preparation section below the recipe. There are no risks for slips if you just follow these simple instructions.
But before we start let’s go through some kitchen chemistry. Because it’s quite fascinating how such runny ingredients can turn out so mellow, creamy and wonderful; or perhaps I’m the only one nerdy enough to enjoy this kind of facts? So if you’re not into science you could just go straight to the recipe, but I hope you’re staying to read another paragraph or so because it’s actually really interesting.
Mayonnaise is an emulsion, i.e. it contains two liquids (oil and vinegar) that can’t be combined, at least without a little help. The oil and the vinegar (which contains water) are like foes; they won’t get together, unlike you use a mediator (emulsifier) that will bring peace and order to the mayo. When only oil and water are whipped together you will see how the oil forms small drops inside the water, unfortunately after just a few minutes the water will sink to the bottom and the oil will rise to the surface creating two separate layers. The mixture splits.
There are two kinds of emulsions; oil-in-water emulsions where the oil is dispersed in the water and water-in-oil emulsions where it’s the other way around. Mayonnaise is an oil-in-water emulsion whereas butter is a water-in-oil emulsion. As mentioned above oil and water won’t go together unless you use one or more emulsifiers; in this case we use lecithin naturally found in egg yolk but also some substances found in mustard. The emulsifier has a water-loving part and an oil-loving part and thus functions as a binding agent or as a glue between the water and the oil droplets. Think of the emulsifier as lots of tadpoles; the tadpoles have water-loving (hydrophilic) heads and oil-loving (hydrophobic) tails. When the emulsifier is combined with the oil and the water it arranges its water-loving heads towards the oil drops surfaces while the oil-loving tails point towards the middle of the tiny oil drops. This means that every drop of oil is surrounded by water-loving heads that lowers the tension between the water and the oil. The reason for why you have to whisk really hard and only add a little oil at the time is because the droplets have to be small enough so that the emulsifier will be able to cover the whole surface of each drop. It’s not until each drop is surrounded with a layer of emulisifiers that the emulsion will be stable.
Remember making your own mayo is not as hard as you may think.
Mayonnaise – apptx. 275 g
1 egg yolk
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
250 g neutral oil
To prevent the mixing bowl from sliding around while whisking place a wet cloth on the countertop, use a bowl with a rubber rind underneath for stability or why not let your partner or friend hold the bowl; that’s a good excuse for getting them involved in the kitchen 😉 Another tip is to use a bowl with a rounded inside bottom instead of a flat one; this is so that the whisk will come at in every corner and no oil will be left aside.
Start by adding the yolk, Dijon and vinegar in a bowl. Carefully drop in the oil, little by little while whisking constantly. When the emulsion starts to thicken you can be more generous with the oil and use a small but steady flow instead of just dripping it. Remember to still whisk constantly. If it looks like as if the mayonnaise is splitting just pause the addition of oil and take a few beats with the whisk – then it will come together. Add salt and pepper to taste. The finished mayo will have quite a thick consistency; if you find it too chubby you can add just a tiny bit of water. And when I say tiny I only mean a few drops. Stir and you will see that the consistency loosens up quite a bit by only adding this small amount of water. If you want to flavor the mayonnaise I recommend to add the water afterwards or withhold it completely because the added ingredient may contain water within themselves that dilutes the mayo.