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Defeated: Couldn't get Mayo to Emulsify

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12 replies to this topic

#1 G-rat

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 12:10 PM

So the other day I poached some artichokes in olive oil. I saved the oil, which was awesomely redolent of artichokes and have been using it to make vinaigrettes that taste wonderful. Today I thought I might make some mayo with it. Started with one egg yolk, lemon, white pepper and salt. Whisked them together and beat the egg yolk, not too hard but got all of the lemon white pepper and salt mixed well into the yolk. Then I started adding the olive oil. It had been in the fridge and was cold but I added small drops at time and beat forever, then another drop, then another drop, doing it really slow because the oil was cold. It never emulsified. It looked like vinaigrette. I kept adding oil and kept beating...nothing. I added another yolk because at this point the proportions were off. (probably my biggest mistake).

I then put it in the food processor. Same thing.

Then I put it in the blender on high for 5 minutes...nothing...still looked like vinaigrette.

After I turned the blender off it looked like it had curdled so I put one more yolk in a bowl and starting adding the curdled misture in a small stream...vinagrette. What is wrong? Thoughts?

#2 mtigges

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 12:14 PM

I never make mayo without some dijon (or at least mustard powder) ... shouldn't be necessary, but the extra lecithin is not going to hurt. And it tastes good.

#3 Dave the Cook

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:23 PM

G-rat, was it extra-virgin olive oil? It's notoriously unstable in emulsions; heating it for a long might not have helped. To check, heat some new oil without poaching anything, then try to make a mayo with it. If it works, then the artichokes become the prime suspects.

ETA: no, mustard shouldn't be necessary (though I agree a little is tasty). McGee famously demonstrated that a single egg yolk can emulsify gallons of oil.

Edited by Dave the Cook, 31 May 2010 - 01:25 PM.

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#4 paulraphael

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:31 PM

you probably just didn't have enough water in the mix. The quantity of lemon you added didn't provide enough. You had a bunch of oil, and a thousand times the emulsifying power you needed. Just not enough water. That oil needs to be emulsified into something. A couple of tablespoons of water based liquid, including the lemon juice, would likely be enough.

Edited by paulraphael, 31 May 2010 - 01:32 PM.


#5 Dave the Cook

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:48 PM

If that was correct, G-rat would have gotten an emulsion at some point before breaking. (S)he said that never happened. But it would help if we could take a look at the recipe.

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#6 ChickenStu

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 02:33 PM

Let the oil come to room temperature next time, cold emulsions aren't as stable as warm/ room temp.

Temperatures for poaching in oil arent likely high enough to damage the fat to the point that it wouldnt emulsify.

#7 Lisa Shock

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 02:48 PM

It always works better if everything is at the same temperature. Also, you may not have beaten the yolk & lemon together long enough. You really need to get the water dispersed very well before adding any oil.

#8 jsmeeker

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 02:55 PM

I've never tried to make a mayo with a cold oil that has been previously heated. Always just with room temp canola or veg. oil fresh out of the bottle. As was pointed out, remember that you are forcing oil and water to mix. Not oil and egg yolk. the egg is just there to help things along. (and to bring some flavor and richness and color to the party)

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#9 Indirect Heat

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 04:34 PM

If it didn't emulsify, and you kept adding drops of oil, that's where you failed. Each drop needs to emulsify before you add more. Even with a food processor, you won't get it to emulsify if there's too much oil in there. The moment it looks like a vinaigrette, and you continue adding oil, that's where you fail.

As to the reason for failure? Probably that the oil was cold. Bring everything to room temperature, should work fine.

#10 ray goud

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 05:29 PM

you probably just didn't have enough water in the mix. The quantity of lemon you added didn't provide enough. You had a bunch of oil, and a thousand times the emulsifying power you needed. Just not enough water. That oil needs to be emulsified into something. A couple of tablespoons of water based liquid, including the lemon juice, would likely be enough.

This is THE perfect reason for the failure! Nothing else makes as much sense as this. McGee, previously cited, also explains this, as does Alton Brown.
Ray

#11 G-rat

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 11:01 AM

Guys -

Thanks for all the helpful comments...if you were here right now you would see me blushing....what an idiot I was in a rush and trying to make some mayo in a flash and having made it from a recipe numerous times thought I remembered everything. Well not enough lemon and forgetting a touch of vinegar equals...not enough water to actually emulsify the oil into. Thanks all...

#12 judiu

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 01:10 PM

Guys -

Thanks for all the helpful comments...if you were here right now you would see me blushing....what an idiot I was in a rush and trying to make some mayo in a flash and having made it from a recipe numerous times thought I remembered everything. Well not enough lemon and forgetting a touch of vinegar equals...not enough water to actually emulsify the oil into. Thanks all...

G-Rat, if that's the worst of your cooking problems, consider yourself Blessed!
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#13 Pam Brunning

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 01:59 PM

It is easy to forget basics - everything at room temperature. Mustard is a good idea as well not only for flavour but the starch will help to stop it breaking as with a little starch in a creme anglaise. :biggrin:

Edited by Pam Brunning, 03 June 2010 - 02:02 PM.

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