Many of the talented from-scratch cooks that I know shy away from making homemade mayonnaise (also called aioli). The simple ingredients and fresh clean flavors inspire them, but the results sometimes disappoint. My results too, have always been varied. An emulsion of common kitchen staples (oil, eggs, vinegar, salt, and mustard) that can be made in minutes – had us bewildered. I was fed-up with inconsistent results and nutritional compromises from store-bought brands. I committed to discovering the secrets of a creamy, tangy, always goof-proof, homemade mayonnaise. Here are the secrets I’ve found and my recipe for Goof-Proof Mayonnaise.
High quality ingredients are essential to terrific mayonnaise. Eggs should be large and fresh (preferably less than two weeks old). Only use eggs from chickens that are allowed to forage and are fed a diet appropriate for hens. Raw eggs from healthy, naturally-raised fowl are unlikely to be contaminated or dangerous.
The neutral taste of high-oleic sunflower oil produces a classically flavored mayonnaise. Sunflower is preferable to other options for neutral tasting oils because it is unlikely to be contaminated by genetically engineered genes (even in organics genetic contamination can occur). All sunflowers are currently non-GE.
Extra-virgin olive oil is also a safe and healthful option for lovely mayonnaise. The olive taste is prominent and I prefer to use it for garlic aioli.
Use white vinegar for a traditional tang. Dijon-style mustard, sea salt, and a small amount of whey (a natural preservative) complete the ingredient list. The whey is optional and can be omitted if desired.
When making mayonnaise have the ingredients at room temperature (about 70 degrees F). Remember that chilled eggs can be brought to room temperature by placing them in a bowl of warm (about 100 degrees F) water for about 15 minutes.
Always begin with the eggs, salt, mustard, and a small portion of the oil (¼ cup) in the pitcher of the blender. Use the lowest speed. The eggs, oil, and other ingredients will quickly emulsify. When the remaining oil is added slowly, in a thin stream, it is easily incorporated into the emulsion.
Always use the lowest speed on the blender. This discourages the emulsion from ‘breaking’ or separating into oil and egg. Should the mayonnaise ‘break’, it can be repaired. With the blender on low add an additional room temperature egg yolk. The emulsion should re-form.
Thus, the secret ingredients: Excellent eggs, neutral flavored oil (I prefer sunflower), mustard, sea salt to taste, white vinegar for classic zest, and naturally preservative whey. The goof-proof method: All of the ingredients must be at room temperature; begin with ¼ cup of the oil in the pitcher (along with the eggs, salt, and mustard), always use low speed, slowly drizzle in the remaining oil. Should the mayo ‘break’, simply add an extra yolk!