There’s nothing so controversial as mayonnaise, I’ve found. People love it or hate it. Some people swear by mayo and some are hard-core Miracle Whip lovers. Some people claim it’s the unhealthiest thing you can eat, others say it’s full of healthy fats and good for you (in proper quantities). Some people think it’s just bland, white, and disgusting while others think of it as creamy rich goodness.
I suspect, since I’m making it from scratch, you can figure where I stand, right?
About 3 years ago I had never made homemade mayo. I had wanted to, stored countless recipes for it, and never gotten around to it, always thinking it was going to be a pain in the ass. Finally one day I pulled out the ingredients and started with a whisk and a bowl. My mayo broke. I tried again. More broken mayo. I tried it with a stick blender. Unmitigated disaster. I tried it in a blender. Even worse. I have to admit I had a bit of a meltdown. I remember at one point snarling to my housemate that every freakin’ 3 year old in France could make mayo, so what was wrong with me!!
And then … suddenly … once I got the tantrum out of my system, bliss. Gorgeous, creamy, rich, lemony mayonnaise in my food processor. Once I’d made it come together that way, I was somehow able to make it come together with a whisk and with a stick blender (although the regular blender has just never worked for me). Now I make a batch of mayo about once every 2 weeks. Usually I stick with the same basic recipe that gives me a nice neutral, slightly lemony mayo. But sometimes I jazz it up with herbs from the garden, garlic, or other flavorings.
So there’s the backstory. Let’s get on with the making of the mayo.
Start with 3 eggs at room temperature, separated. There are all kinds of fancy ways to separate eggs, but I just use my hands – letting the white slide off the yolk through my fingers. Reserve the whites for something fun like pavlova and put the yolks in your food processor.
Add in the juice of one lemon (or two if your lemon isn’t terribly juicy), and a 1/2 tsp or so of powdered mustard. (Sometimes I add a dollop of dijon mustard instead which provides a nice tangy tone to the mayo.)
Put the lid on and start the food processor going – oh and you’ll use the plastic mixing blade for this, not the metal cutting one.
Once the yolks are broken up and the lemon and mustard are beginning to mix, start adding your oil. SLOWLY. I cannot emphasize this enough. The trick to the mayo is the extremely slow addition of the oil. You can see that I pour mine into the stopper for the processor lid – that’s because my stopper has a tiny hole in the bottom that allows the oil to drizzle in. Even so, I don’t just start pouring all at once because even that tiny stream of oil is too much at first. Start with a tsp or less. Then another tsp. Then as the mixture begins to turn creamy white, you can add more oil faster.
Also, you’ll notice I use grapeseed oil for my mayo because it’s extremely neutral with a light flavor. I have made olive oil mayo which is really good, but tastes very strongly of the olive oil, which is something you might not want for every day use. It also means that if you’re going to make it with olive oil, you need to use a high quality one for the best flavor that’s not bitter.
Ok, so you’ve added the oil in tiny dribs and drabs, you have your emulsion forming and the stuff in the processor is becoming creamy looking. Also the sound of the food processor has changed from a liquidy mixing sound to a more thick blending sound. You can then begin adding the oil faster – in a gentle stream – until you’ve used all of it.
And .. voila! .. you have mayonnaise. I promise you’ll never buy store bought mayo again after you taste homemade!
Later this week I’ll talk about how to fix a “broken” mayo – when you pour the oil in too fast and the emulsion breaks and gets clumpy. It’s really easy!
Here’s the actual recipe with amounts:
Kara’s Homemade Mayo
- 3 egg yolks
- juice of one lemon
- 1 heaping tbsp of mustard powder ~or~ 1 heaping tbsp of dijon mustard
- 1-1/2 cups of oil (I use grapeseed oil for the mild flavor, but any oil will do)