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Making mayonnaise

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#1 Jon

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 02:33 PM

I'm hoping somebody (or many somebodies) might help me understand the art and craft and science of making mayonnaise. I don't need it very often, so it's not a stock item in my fridge. The components of it, however, are always around, so I do occasionally put egg, vinegar, mustard, etc. into my food processor in various proportions, turn the machine on and start drizzling in some oil. Sometimes it works fine but, too often, it doesn't come together the way it should. I've tried recipes from a variety of sources, from the Joy of Cooking to whatever Google drags in. None has worked consistently for me.

I just hate it when I follow directions carefully and don't get the promised results, and I have yet to find an explanation of what can go wrong, why it happens or how to avoid it. I don't mean to pose an overly broad question, but would anyone be willing to educate me or point me to a good resource?

#2 jsmith

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 02:47 PM

Mayonnaise from EGCI course
Q and A from EGCI course

The course is good, and the Q & A might help you find your errors. Two things I would suggest are room tempurature ingredients and adding the oil slowly to begin.

#3 Jon

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:29 PM

Thanks, I missed that course. Most of my ingredients are typically at room temp., except the egg and possibly the acid (if I use a refrigerated lemon). Oh, and the mustard...

I will read through that course. Thanks again.

#4 Rebecca263

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:40 PM

RecipeGullet has something for you! Try something there. My recipe, is, of course, chatty to the nth degree, and somewhat convoluted sounding, although it is completely easy. Just like it's author, hmmm. :rolleyes:
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#5 Marlene

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:42 PM

I make mayonnaise in my stand mixer rather than my food processor using the whisk. It just seems to work better that way.
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#6 russ parsons

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:47 PM

if you'll use a good dab of dijon mustard, it goes a lot easier. mustard is already an emulsion (oil from the seed and vinegar), and it's easier to start an emulsion from an existing emulsion.

#7 Abra

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:03 PM

It's heresy, but works perfectly every time.

Put 1 whole egg, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, some salt, white pepper, and a dash of cayenne in the blender. Whir to combine, then start drizzling in your oil. I use 3/4 cup canola and 1/4 cup good olive oil. Pour faster as it thickens. When all the oil is in, add 1 T champagne or white wine vinegar. This will thicken as it chills, of course, but it's fine fresh from the blender too.

Honest, you can't screw it up if you do it like this.

#8 snowangel

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:10 PM

I've made mayo in the blender, with the immersion blender, the mixer and the food processor, and the only failure I had was with the food processor...
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#9 Marlene

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:20 PM

Yep, blenders work quite well too.
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#10 Qwerty

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 05:22 PM

BAH! Just do it by hand...take almost no time at all and, IMO, creates a much more consistent and better product. Easier to adjust, less cleanup, etc.

Unless you need like 2 gallons, then use a blender or mixer. :)

#11 Marlene

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 05:32 PM

BAH! Just do it by hand...take almost no time at all and, IMO, creates a much more consistent and better product. Easier to adjust, less cleanup, etc.

Unless you need like 2 gallons, then use a blender or mixer. :)

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Bah yourself! :raz: It does not take less time by hand. In fact those of us who suffer from shoulder injuries can't take all that whisking. We made mayonnaise by hand in class and I though my shoulder was going to fall off. There is less cleanup though.
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#12 tim

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 05:46 PM

Jon,

Note that the eGullet course suggest well chilled ingredients. If there is a secret it is that emulsion are easier to develop at LOW temperatures. (I always put vniaigrettes into the freezer before adding an oil emlulsion.) All of the commercial mayo's use extremely cold ingredients for a reason.

The other well known secret is the importance of beginning the emulsion successfully with the very first few drops of oil. Once the emulsion develop, you can move a little faster.

Tim

#13 menon1971

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 05:55 PM

BAH! Just do it by hand...take almost no time at all and, IMO, creates a much more consistent and better product. Easier to adjust, less cleanup, etc.

Unless you need like 2 gallons, then use a blender or mixer. :)

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BAH! Just do it by hand...take almost no time at all and, IMO, creates a much more consistent and better product. Easier to adjust, less cleanup, etc.

Unless you need like 2 gallons, then use a blender or mixer. :)

View Post



Bah yourself! :raz: It does not take less time by hand. In fact those of us who suffer from shoulder injuries can't take all that whisking. We made mayonnaise by hand in class and I though my shoulder was going to fall off. There is less cleanup though.

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Marlene, I am sorry to hear of your injury and in your case by all means use a machine. However, I am with the first "bah" as I find it easier just to whisk it. In my experience it does not take but a few minutes.

#14 ray goud

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:49 PM

When in doubt, consult the expert for us foodies who are not pro chefs: Julia Child. On page 117 in her and Jacques Pepin's book "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home", is the most foolproof method, with a food processor. And if you can get them, use pasteurized eggs to be safe. Pasteurizing does not affect the eggs' ability to make an emulsion.
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#15 The Hersch

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:52 PM

I think the very easiest way to make mayonnaise is with a hand-held electric mixer-- you know, the kind with two beaters. I've never actually tried making it with a stand-mixer or a food processor, but they both seem like they'd be very cumbersome, and the food processor is relatively major cleanup. Since I don't currently own a hand-held electric mixer, I always make it by hand, but not with a balloon-style whisk; I use a little coil whisk like THIS, which is great for all kinds of sauce-making, and hardly costs anything. One of my favorite tools.

And it's really not true that you can't stop whisking; just make sure that the emulsion so far is stable, and stop for a sip of your cocktail. This only means that you shouldn't stop for the first minute or so.

#16 jsmith

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:24 PM

Jon,

Note that the eGullet course suggest well chilled ingredients.  If there is a secret it is that emulsion are easier to develop at LOW temperatures.  (I always put vniaigrettes into the freezer before adding an oil emlulsion.)  All of the commercial mayo's use extremely cold ingredients for a reason.

The other well known secret is the importance of beginning the emulsion successfully with the very first few drops of oil.  Once the emulsion develop, you can move a little faster.

Tim

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My mistake, I went by the Joy of Cooking which curiously specifies room temperature oil. I I'll try chilled next time and compare.

#17 andiesenji

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 11:06 PM

Here's a bit of trivia that might be of interest.

Beginning with the 1931 Model M4F, standard equipment that came with the Sunbeam mixer was a juicer bowl with reamer and an oil dripper that allowed adjustment of how rapidly the oil dripped into the mixing bowl. It was assumed that a homemaker (or the cook) would prepare mayonnaise fresh every day.
This attachment continued to be a standard part of the Sunbeam until the Model 9, introduced in August 1948, when the juice strainer was a perforated metal saucer placed inside the juicer bowl.

You can see the oil dripper pictured in the third picture (leaning against the bowl) on this page. Along with some of the other weird and wonderful Sunbeam attachments.

I have had good results with an immersion blender with its own little food processing bowl.

If you have a Cuisinart, notice that the pusher has a hole in the center that works just fine as an oil dripper/dispenser.

I have always had more consistent results with chilled ingredients.
I also pasteurize my eggs.

Edited by andiesenji, 26 March 2007 - 11:09 PM.

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#18 Norman Walsh

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:32 AM

Keep the ingredients cold and wisk the oil very, very slowly at first.
Thats the secret.
Regarding emulsions take the simple hot dog type sausage the secret of which is keeping all the ingredients very cold in fact just above freezing. prior to mixing.

I also think its easier whisking by hand, medical reasons exempt Marlene.

Norman Walsh

#19 Rebecca263

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 06:00 AM

I have a terrible time whisking by hand. I am just a doofus when it comes to time oriented activities, and it takes me forever to get the first bits emulsified. A cheap blender works wonders! And, remember, if it breaks or curdles, you can beat a new yolk in a clean bowl, and then add the broken mixture to the yolk, bit by bit. My daughter has had to do this a few times, it's easy, and kind of fun to watch the alchemy, too!
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#20 Pielle

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:11 AM

I make my mayo by hand all the time. When you get used to it, it isnt a big job at all. I can make a cup of mayo in under 2 minutes, and that includes the time taken to wash the whisk and putting it away. It is not much effort, you just need to put it at the right place. No one is gona make me bother washing a blender or food processor for making mayo!

My method :

1st Buy a good whisk (under 5$ at restorant supply store)

-Put egg yolk, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard and a bit of lemon juice (to taste) in a bowl

-Whisk together until properly emulsified. My guess is that at this point, ingrediants are at room temp so starting temps is irelevant.

- Now add oil in a thin filet while whisking vigourously. Stop adding oil and emulsify proporly if you see an oil puddle

- Gradualy increase oil pourring speed and stop to emulisify proporly every time you see oil puddles.

- In the end you can practicly dump the oil in there.

-Salt and pepper to taste and then season for the desired dish!

Edited by Pielle, 27 March 2007 - 08:14 AM.


#21 Jon

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:38 AM

Wow, thanks for all the ideas here. I did read the egullet course & Q&A threads, and was reassured that other people had similar difficulties. I also read wikipedia, answers.com and HowStuffWorks pages on emulsions in general and mayo in particular, and am starting to feel a little less ignorant.

So far, I've got the general idea that mayo is an emulsion of lots of oil dispersed in a little water (the water coming, I assume, from the egg and whatever acid is employed), stabilized primarily by lecithin from egg yolks but also by mustard. The vinegar or lemon juice provides water in which to disperse the oil, contributes flavor, potentially lowers the pH far enough to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria, and possibly helps stabilize the emulsion as well (though I only found this last point mentioned once, in the egci Q&A, and nowhere else). Salt is just (just!) there for flavor.

More sources recommend room-temp ingredients than cold; those that suggest cold ingredients generally point to commercial manufacturing techniques, which make me wonder whether it has more to do with safety than ease.

The likely problems seem to come down to the mayo being too thin (add more oil), too thick (add more acid), or broken/seperated/not emulsified (start over). The last problem being the hardest (or at least most wasteful) to fix, one should avoid it by using fresh eggs, room temp ingredients, making sure the egg/acid mixture is thoroughly beaten before adding any oil, and then adding the oil very, very (very) slowly at first.

I find all of this theory so comforting. Now I need an excuse to make more mayo.

Thanks everyone!

#22 The Hersch

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:15 AM

More sources recommend room-temp ingredients than cold

I never in my life heard of using chilled ingredients to make mayonnaise until I saw the advice in this thread, and find the concept slightly weird, especially as most recipes I've seen start by saying you should have all your ingredients at room temperature before you start. That's what I've always done, and I've never had a failure in 20-some years, knock on wood.

#23 tino27

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 10:44 AM

The likely problems seem to come down to the mayo being too thin (add more oil), too thick (add more acid), or broken/seperated/not emulsified (start over).  The last problem being the hardest (or at least most wasteful) to fix, one should avoid it by using fresh eggs, room temp ingredients, making sure the egg/acid mixture is thoroughly beaten before adding any oil, and then adding the oil very, very (very) slowly at first.

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If you find that your emulsion has broken, you don't have to throw it out. In a fresh bowl, add a fresh yolk and slowly begin to reincorporate the broken mayo into the fresh egg. Again, you want to start slowly, but as you start to create a stable emulsion, you can add the broken mixture in larger and larger amounts.
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#24 legourmet

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 04:23 PM

[/quote][quote name='The Hersch' date='Mar 27 2007, 06:15 PM']I never in my life heard of using chilled ingredients to make mayonnaise until I saw the advice in this thread, and find the concept slightly weird, especially as most recipes I've seen start by saying you should have all your ingredients at room temperature before you start. That's what I've always done, and I've never had a failure in 20-some years, knock on wood.

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[/quote]

All ingredients should have the same temperature. Doesn't matter whether they are cold or at room temperature.

I agree to Querty's comment
>>>Just do it by hand...take almost no time at all and, IMO, creates a much more consistent and better product. Easier to adjust, less cleanup, etc.<<<
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#25 The Hersch

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 06:49 PM

All ingredients should have the same temperature. Doesn't matter whether they are cold or at room temperature.

You state this as self-evident truth. I'm not saying you're wrong, but can you explain how your statement is true?

#26 andiesenji

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 12:04 AM

You can find "mixers" just like this - some made for and with the Wesson name and instructions for preparing mayonnaise.

Pampered chef pump mixer

This happens to be a modern copy of the old "Mayo mixer" or the "Whixit" which was popular in the 50s.
I'll post a photo of the pink and black one I have (50s colors) and a photo of one of the old Wesson mixers.
Tomorrow, after I have dusted them off a bit.

These work quite well and with very little effort.

Posted Image
This is not the Wesson - it is in a high cupboard and I no longer do stepladders.
Note the molded words that say what this does with "Mayonnaise Miser" at the bottom.
Posted Image
Posted Image

Edited by andiesenji, 28 March 2007 - 08:09 AM.

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#27 deltadoc

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 04:58 AM

Immersion blender is the key. Never made good mayonnaise in a blender or by hand in a bowl or a food processor.

I like using EVOO, even though some say its too heavy in taste, and a mixture of vinegar and fresh lemon juice, along with the yolks and dijon, and S&P.

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#28 Pielle

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 08:50 AM

Immersion blender is the key.  Never made good mayonnaise in a blender or by hand in a bowl or a food processor.

I like using EVOO, even though some say its too heavy in taste, and a mixture of vinegar and fresh lemon juice, along with the yolks and dijon, and S&P.

doc

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EVOO is good depending on the application. I go 100% EVOO if I make a mayo for a salad (ceasar mainly), I also go heavy on the lemon juice in this case. I also use EVOO in my tartare mayonaise. For dipping fries and for sandwiches, I would rather go for a high percentage of canola oil and put more dijon and less lemon. I seldom use vinegar and usualy go 100% lemon juice.

#29 menon1971

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 10:14 AM

You can find "mixers" just like this - some made for and with the Wesson name and instructions for preparing mayonnaise.

Pampered chef pump mixer

This happens to be a modern copy of the old "Mayo mixer"  or the "Whixit"  which was popular in the 50s.
I'll post a photo of the pink and black one I have (50s colors) and a photo of one of the old Wesson mixers.
Tomorrow, after I have dusted them off a bit.

These work quite well and with very little effort.

Posted Image
This is not the Wesson - it is in a high cupboard and I no longer do stepladders.
Note the molded words that say what this does with "Mayonnaise Miser" at the bottom.
Posted Image
Posted Image

View Post

Those are too cool! Especially the one on the right. :smile:

#30 andiesenji

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 12:44 PM

As soon as I can get the Wesson one down, I will get a photo of it also. It is in much better condition and has the original recipes with it.
I have some other "malt mixers" of this type and they all do a great job at whipping cream and making mayonnaise - one is hard plastic, also made in the 50s, but with a metal plunger. I used to take that one camping, back in the day, for beating eggs for omelets, making pancake batter - and making mayonnaise fresh every day. We could keep fresh eggs (purchased in Bishop, twice a week) in a hanging evaporative cooler - a canvas thingy, with nylon mesh "shelves" that could be hung in a tree. It had a water resevoir at the top that dripped down the sides of the canvas "box" and the evaporation cooled whatever was inside to about 25 - 30 degrees below the ambient temperature. It only works in low humidity and it is very dry in the high Sierras.
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