After learning how to make mayonnaise I have seriously never bought mayonnaise since. Firstly, I have yet to taste any bought mayonnaise that can compare with the flavour and freshness of the homemade version. Secondly, I really enjoy making it.
The first time I made it, meticulously following the recipe I had, it seemed like an adventure in to the big big world of cooking; now it’s something that I can whip up – or whisk up – in no more than 3 or 4 minutes. The secret behind a good stable mayonnaise is getting the right proportion of egg yolk to liquid, and of course the whisking action. Egg yolk is the most magnificent of natural foods – it has an incredible emulsifying power; that is the way it can cause liquids that do not normally mix to come together as one.
Just as an aside it is believed by some that the word for mayonnaise came from the old French for yolk, moyeu, meaning the centre hub. It certainly has logic to it.
Back on track, can I honestly say that I have not yet had a mayonnaise split on me; a girlfriend or two maybe, but not a mayonnaise. The reason I believe is the quality of the whisk I use and the size of the mixing bowl. I use a large whisk and large metal mixing bowl.
The requirement is to smash the oil in to droplets so that they can then be emulsified by the egg yolk. The large mixing bowl and structure of the large whisk enables vigorous beating, and hence a beautifully constructed creamy mayonnaise. If you have never made mayonnaise before I reckon you should approach this with a sense of adventure and excitement, and not in fear or hesitancy – somehow I reckon what’s in the mind has a significant bearing on what ends up on the plate – or sandwich.
- ■ egg yolk from 1 large egg | Free range, organic and fresh eggs for the absolute best results.
- ■ 1 tsp. Dijon mustard | Dijon is a must staple in my kitchen – it can be used in so many dishes.
- ■ about 250ml grapeseed oil | A non-invasive oil is required. Grapeseed has a subtle flavour and is perfect. Also, groundnut oil is great. The measure is not exact as I add the oil until I have a great consistency, but 250ml is a good start.
- ■ 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar | Any white vinegar will do; rice wine vinegar is just my preference.
- ■ a pinch black pepper | Freshly cracked and cracked finely.
- ■ season sea salt |
To the mixing bowl add the egg yolk and Dijon mustard and whisk until blended.
Now start adding the oil. Here is where the large bowl and whisk come in to play. When I first made mayonnaise I studiously added the oil drop by drop and then in a very steady stream. If it’s your first time then I would recommend this. However, I can pour in 50ml at a time and then vigorously whisk and I get a perfect emulsion. So add all the oil, in your chosen way, and you will get a thick and creamy emulsion.
Now whisk in the vinegar and pepper. If you think the mayonnaise is a little too ‘wet’ then whisk in more oil to slightly thicken. Taste and add salt as required.
■ Not much salt is required as I find there is enough salt in the Dijon mustard to give the desired flavour. ■ The mayonnaise can be made in a food processor. In this case add the oil in a steady stream. I must say that the manual method produces better and more consistent results - for me anyhow.