05 Jul2008

mayo1

Is it really worth the effort? Absolutely. If you have never made or tasted freshly whisked mayonnaise, you are missing out on one of life’s simplest food pleasures. Forget bottled mayonnaise for a moment, and spend 10-15 minutes of your roughly 37 million minutes on this planet (assuming you keel over at 70 or so) making a small bowl of mayonnaise. Marketman and mayonnaise go back many, many years. When I first stepped into my college dorm room, and later apartment, I couldn’t even cook a pot of rice, or fry an egg (I still can’t do the latter properly). But by my sophomore year, I was cooking out of necessity (I missed Filipino food) and economy (I was on a very tight budget) and the love affair with food would grow immensely over the next 25 or so years. But one incident linked to mayonnaise is forever burned into my memory banks and it is an amusing one…

mayo2

Mid afternoon, and home alone, I was sitting on an armchair and watching some television, probably some ridiculous soap opera, with my back to the front door of our apartment. My roommate opened the front door quietly, and later he said that “I saw you from behind, vigorously beating something on your lap!” and for a split second, he wondered whether he should make a hasty retreat instead! Then he walked right up to my back and when he saw the mixing bowl and my whisk, he said, “what the heck are your doing?” to which I answered, unperturbed, “making mayonnaise from scratch!” Well, you can just imagine how loudly we burst out laughing, he convinced that I must be the only student at the school who had ever made mayo from scratch… We continue to be good friends until this day and he often recounts this story to new mutual acquaintances, as if making your own mayonnaise is proof positive that one’s mind had gone around the bend…

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I realized a few months ago that I have never written a post on making mayonnaise from scratch, despite the fact that my “About’ page states that I like to do just that. And I had a t-shirt at last year’s charity effort with the tag line “I beat my eggs to make mayonnaise.” So here is how to make Marketman’s mayonnaise… In a medium to large-sized stainless steel or ceramic bowl, add two large organic egg yolks. If your organic eggs are small, like the ones I used today, use three egg yolks. Wash your eggs well and dry them with a dishtowel before cracking and separating out the yolk. You don’t want cooties in your mayonnaise from the shells of the eggs. To the egg yolks, add a pinch of dried mustard ( I use Coleman’s) and about 1/2 a tablespoon of good dijon mustard (the smooth variety). A pinch of salt and some ground black or white pepper. Whisk this all for a minute or two until the mixture starts to lighten. Before you start, measure out 200 ml of vegetable oil (many recipes say to use ground nut oil, but I just use vegetable oil. Then I have roughly 50ml of good extra virgin olive oil ready as well. Then when your egg mixture has been whisked for a minute or two, start to add DROPS of the the vegetable oil and whisk to incorporate. YOU MUST DO THIS IN DROPS FIRST. Then as you get the hang of it, you can add the oil in a very slow stream and whisk some more. Do not add too much oil or the mixture will “separate.” Keep whisking and add more oil until you have finished the 200ml of vegetable oil. This takes me up to 10 minutes of whisking, but the amount of time will depend on how nicely you whisk it…

mayo4

As the “mayo” gets thicker, you can start to add the olive oil until you reach a rather thick consistency. Add the juice of about half a large lemon while whisking some more. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Sometimes you need a little more lemon juice to thin the mayonnaise further. Serve immediately or store in the fridge, covered, for up to several hours. Mayonnaise made from scratch is thicker, richer and more flavorful than bottled pretenders. It is silky, sensuous and delicious. For immediate gratification, while you are sweating profusely from all that whisking (unless you did this in an igloo), dip a plain salted potato chip into the mayonnaise and eat it. Or if you have fresh asparagus, steam some and dip into the mayonnaise and SWEAR to yourself, that despite the trouble, making mayonnaise from scratch is ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT! :)

P.S. From here there are endless variations. Mayonnaise with chopped herbs. Or finely chopped roasted capsicums. Some fine anchovies, olives, capers, etc…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Apicio says:

    In the sixties away from the big city and bright lights, you did not have any choice. If you craved mayonnaise, you whipped it yourself using what was available, local fresh eggs. Commercial mayonnaise crept into our consciousness only in the form of sandwich spread but in North America where you have to search high and low for quality eggs, you cannot get around the heavily stabilized guck that legally passes as mayonnaise (no refrigeration required, believe it or not). A French mustard company waylaid by Grey Poupon once tried reclaiming their lost market share with a heavy-on-the-mustard mixture they called Dijonnaise, not bad with hot-dogs just to break the monotony of ball-park French’s.

    Jul 5, 2008 | 8:03 pm

     
  2. Apicio says:

    Oh but was whipping this eminently edible emulsion your secret vice?

    Jul 5, 2008 | 8:16 pm

     
  3. James says:

    Great story … I must try to make some of this mayo.

    Jul 5, 2008 | 8:23 pm

     
  4. Emily says:

    I can whip up my mayo without any problem even when I add the oil right away in a very slow, steady stream. The most important factors I think are that the egg yolks should not come straight from the fridge, but be at room temperature.
    There are a couple of techniques I learned from two colleagues.

    First: if your eggs come straight from the fridge and you want to make your mayo right away, separate the yolks, put them in your big “whipping” bowl and swirl them around a few times so that the friction warms them up and they take the same temperature as the bowl.

    Second: Work at the sink. The bowl should be in the sink itself, with the yolks and the mustard. The bottle should be lying on the edge of the sink, opening over the bowl (of course!) and the bottle bottom against your stomach. This way you can adjust the flow of the oil into the bowl by moving closer or farther away from the sink as necessary.

    I start whisking – even a fork will do – when the oil starts pouring into the bowl and continue until I get the consistency I want. I’ve never had a mayo that failed.

    Incidentally, handmade mayo is the origin of a popular French expression : “La mayonnaise ne prend pas”, i.e. “the mayonnaise isn’t taking form” – used when referring to situations when things just don’t seem to gel, like in business meetings, projects, mergers or anything that involves relationships!

    Jul 5, 2008 | 8:53 pm

     
  5. pilar says:

    You’re so right MM! Nothing beats homemade food…be it mayo, pasta or anything.

    Jul 5, 2008 | 9:02 pm

     
  6. Lex says:

    Lemon not only thins the mayonnaise, it also lightens the color of your mayonnaise. Add a tsp. or so of garlic paste and voila……aioli!!!!!!!!!

    Jul 5, 2008 | 9:55 pm

     
  7. MarketFan says:

    How long would homemade mayo keep in the ref?

    Jul 5, 2008 | 10:01 pm

     
  8. nonymous says:

    If you have a $20.00 hand held blender, it can whip up a mayo in under 5 minutes or less.

    Jul 5, 2008 | 10:13 pm

     
  9. Emily says:

    Hi MarketFan,

    I’ve heard it can keep half a week to a week. No preservatives kasi. Has anyone heard a contrary opinion?
    I find it easier to whip up smaller batches when I need them than to make one big one and try to store it. That way I get to play around with the tastes more.

    Jul 5, 2008 | 10:14 pm

     
  10. maddie says:

    When you are trying to avoid too much fat or cholesterol in your diet, how do you make “light” mayo? Or is there such a thing?

    Jul 5, 2008 | 10:37 pm

     
  11. eej says:

    Hilarious post, MM!

    Yum, homemade mayo for my first love… tuna sandwich! I have to try out this one.

    Jul 5, 2008 | 11:09 pm

     
  12. Glecy says:

    What a nice memory. I was 6th grade in a small town in the northern part of the PI ,when my aunt asked me to help her whisk a homemade mayonaise. Calamansi is what we used instead of lemon.
    For maddie,
    I don’t think there is such light mayo. Since 1 tsp equals 100 calories. Just enjoy your sandwich then have a salad for dinner. Enjoy!

    Jul 5, 2008 | 11:18 pm

     
  13. natie says:

    one of the best things my nanay taught me…best-tasting, really..and the calamansi gave it a distinctive taste. now, we have fears of salmonella and transfats..oh, for the carefree days of yore.

    Jul 6, 2008 | 12:08 am

     
  14. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    I’ve never whipped my own mayonnaise before, but reading this, I should try.

    Funny story about the roommate. Thanks for sharing.

    Jul 6, 2008 | 12:18 am

     
  15. Marketman says:

    natie and others concerned about salmonella, see this interesting link to realize the risk of salmonella is apparently ridiculously low, so I wouldn’t be in the least worried about making my own mayonnaise out of raw egg yolks. Glecy and Maddie, actually, you can make a “light” mayo by using egg whites or part egg white and part egg yolk instead of all egg yolks in your mayo. Emily, I would keep it 2-3 days max in the fridge, but it never sits that long in our household! nonymous, lots of folks use a food processor and blender, but there is nothing like making it with a whisk as the process and journey is nearly as satisfying as the end result… Apicio, for some reason, I found it very calming and rewarding to whisk my eggs into mayonnaise…

    Jul 6, 2008 | 12:23 am

     
  16. alilay says:

    i just finished reading bon appetit’s april 08 issue. Molly Wizenberg wrote on her column The Cooking Life entitled “Mayo Clinic” – rediscovering homemade mayo and with a recipe at the end, and now MM’s detailed procedure with pictures how can i go wrong. i am out of store bought mayo and now i want to do some for myself . i have to get dijon mustard and powder too all i have is the french’s kind in the yellow squirt bottle.

    Jul 6, 2008 | 7:04 am

     
  17. Marketman says:

    alilay, you don’t have to buy the powder, just use dijon… I use both because I have them handy. But just the dijon will work fine. Be prepared for a ten minute workout. I think I sweat more profusely making mayonnaise than walking 5 kilometers at a brisk pace!

    Jul 6, 2008 | 7:32 am

     
  18. zena says:

    I love homemade mayo! it really tastes much better. Unfortunately because of short shelf, i only make when i do potato salad. Otherwise, i have to contend with the store-bought which can me too sweet, too sour, too something. I also cheat, i use the blender, hehe.

    Jul 6, 2008 | 9:09 am

     
  19. sister says:

    You might try making “Light mayonnaise” by making a simple white sauce with oil, flour and skim milk, cooling it and adding some to regular mayonnaise made with eggyolks and oil. Not worth the bother when you really only consume a tablespoon or so at any one meal. How many calories are you saving with “light mayonnaise” anyway, maybe 25%, with a discernable loss of taste.

    Jul 6, 2008 | 9:14 am

     
  20. Sandy Ocampo says:

    Just tried this now for lunch, my kids love it! Secret really is egg should come not straight from the ref. it is easier to get the mayo stickiness if egg to be use has room temperature. Thanks MM and thank you too Emily. Finally I made a good mayo.

    Jul 6, 2008 | 12:44 pm

     
  21. Apicio says:

    Infomercials featuring quick and easy mayonnaise never fail to rivet my attention but I guess making mayonnaise with these new-fangled whipper-snappers is almost as robotic and spiritually unsatisfying as resorting to battery powered personal devices. Old fashioned mayonnaise making reminds me of John Houseman (professor Kingsfield in the Paper Chase and for E.F. Hutton, we make money the old fashioned way…) impeccably enunciating the word Pu-ri-tan in his ad for the salad oil.

    Bechamel and mayonnaise make great chicken salad sandwich.

    Jul 6, 2008 | 8:20 pm

     
  22. alicia says:

    The first and last time I made mayonnaise was in the fifth grade with my french teacher , Madame Gang. We had an elective, “Cuisine with Madame Gang”… boy this post stirs up memories of about thirty years ago! Was just reading a recipe that called for avocado mayonnaise to use on a roast chicken sandwich , and since avocados are in season I will try it and use this recipe as my base. Thanks!

    Jul 6, 2008 | 9:58 pm

     
  23. dhayL says:

    Thank you for posting the recipe of your famous homemade mayonnaise including photos as well! I know you mentioned that is was quite easy to prepare, to me it makes it even more easier if there are photos included, so I know how it supposed to look like at a certain stage, hehehe. We love mayo in our household, we like to dip our fries in mayo and ketchup and in our sandwhich. Thank you so much!

    Jul 7, 2008 | 5:43 am

     
  24. portugalbear says:

    Thank MM for enlightening us again. Making mayo is no rocket science and it’s so costly to buy off the shelf.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 10:50 am

     
  25. roy liao says:

    Marketman,

    Can I use canola oil, corn oil or other healthy oil instead of ordinary vegetable oil? Will the taste be as good as using ordinary vegetable oil? Just concerned with saturated fats..

    By the way, will not the mayo solidify if put inside the ref? (if we use ordinary vegetable oil)
    Roy

    Jul 7, 2008 | 2:31 pm

     
  26. Marketman says:

    roy, I haven’t tried it with canola, but it will probably work… and yes, it gets a little more solid in the fridge but will thaw if left out for a few minutes. Also, cover with plastic wrap on the surface of the mayo to prevent a film/crust on the surface. But eat with a day or two for best results.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 9:32 pm

     
  27. lalaine says:

    I’ve been a fan of homemade mayonnaise myself but unlike your fun story, mine was 36 hours of discomfort plus IVF for hydration. I contracted a bad case of salmonella from consuming raw eggs! May I suggest, pasteurized shell eggs?

    Jul 27, 2008 | 7:56 am

     
  28. Marketman says:

    lalaine, salmonella is a risk, but apparently, a relatively low risk… but I guess not if you get it. You can also get salmonella from other foods, not to mention cooties in fresh salad greens… so this is all a calculated risk…

    Jul 27, 2008 | 7:31 pm

     
  29. Belgin says:

    I always enjoy reading your articles. Surely it was many decades ago but it’s one of my best childhood memories I had, spending time with my mom in the kitchen making homemade mayonaise just like the same process you made minus mustard but we use kalamansi juice. My mom being a Home Economics graduate from University of San Agustin, she knows quite a few tricks making foods from scratch. The homemade mayo we always make tastes better than the commercial brand says our relatives and I don’t remember buying store mayo when we are growing up and for some reason nobody in my family suffered from salmonella eating raw eggs.

    Aug 11, 2008 | 2:30 pm

     
  30. Aly says:

    My sister made mayonnaise once and left it in the refrigerator. My friend and I thought it was soup and heated the bowl in the microwave. You can just imagine how that turned out…

    Nov 9, 2008 | 8:36 pm

     
  31. emsy says:

    the foodie part in me wants to do everything from scratch, but the lazy side always gets in the way. so everytime i make homemade mayo, i use my immersion blender. just crack the eggs into a glass with the mustard and oil. the oil will float of course. put in the blender and turn it on medium. i lift the blender every minute or so to allow the oil on top to sink and continue blending. once the oil is gone, turn on high. add lemon and season and in about 5 minutes, the mayo is done!

    Feb 5, 2010 | 6:40 pm

     
 

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