Domesticity Nouveau

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Homemade Mayonnaise

Slow Cooker Pork Loin Homemade Mayonnaise

I just couldn’t wait any longer and had to interrupt the planned slow cooker pork loin! 

I do believe that mayonnaise is my favorite condiment.  Slightly tangy, creamy, smooth, delicate, decadent.  It offers a wonderful balance to the crisp crunch of asparagus.  A luscious dip for the sweet petals of artichoke.  A base for wonderful dressings that adorn refreshing and cool salads.  Yep, it is just about the most wonderful thing in my refrigerator. 

And yet, this wonderful condiment evades many home cooks.  They read of the trials and tribulations in attempting to make it from scratch.  They fret about the safety of eggs.  Doubt consumes their minds as they debate the merits of using the food processor or the stand mixer or the blender.  It just becomes too much and they turn to the jar at the store, defeated. 

[Insert the battle cry of mayonnaise here.]

What would the battle cry of mayonnaise be, anyhow?  I’m not exactly sure, but I do know that victory is yours when you use an immersion blender (aka stick blender)!  I fail miserably, where countless others have succeeded, when I use any kitchen appliance other than an immersion blender to make mayonnaise.  I have no idea why, but I imagine that someone who is knowledgeable in physics could explain the inverse action of the whirly-thingy to the gravitational pull of the gooey stuff.... yeah, I just want to eat it.

Homemade Mayonnaise

1 whole egg
1 tsp kosher flake salt
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup extra light olive oil

Bring all ingredients to room temperature.  Place in a pint size canning jar in the order listed.  Gently insert immersion blender to the bottom of the jar and begin blending.  As mayonnaise begins to form, slowly draw immersion blender to the surface, mixing in all the oil.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

I’ll take your questions now....

Why do you use a whole egg?
Some recipes call for egg yolks, some call for whole eggs.  I have had success with both, but I find it easiest to just crack one egg into the jar instead of separating out yolks.  This is where I have found my success and what works for me.  Some people are concerned with the use of raw eggs, I am not one of them, but respect the concerns of those who are.  Your Lighter Side Blog did a great review on Safest Choice Pasteurized Shell Eggs and a quick Google search will bring you many sources on how to pasteurize your own eggs at home.  Our food choices are personal, and while I have no problem with consuming raw eggs, you have to make that educated choice for yourself.

Do I have to use kosher flake salt?
No, you can use regular table salt, just cut the measurement to 1/2 tsp of salt.  I prefer Diamond Kosher Flake Salt for my cooking.  Other people stock their kitchen with a fine grind sea salt, or a luxury salt like fluer de sel; different grinds of salt have different volumes when measured.  I could write paragraphs about salt, but we are talking mayonnaise!  Just remember you can always add, you can’t take it back out.

What is dry mustard powder?
Mustard powder (sometimes called mustard flour) is the ground seeds from the mustard plant.  You can find it in any supermarket spice section.  Many recipes for homemade mayonnaise call for wet mustard, and I suppose that would work just fine, too.  Do note that different flavors and styles of wet mustard may impact your end flavor.  Mustard works as an emulsifier, helping the oil to merge with the other liquids when it normally would not want to.  You know how oil and vinegar salad dressing will separate into layers?  Mayonnaise is essentially the same thing, but when the mustard is added, everyone gets along, holds hands, and stays unified in the creamy form.

Why both lemon juice and white vinegar?
Sssshhhh, don’t tell anyone, but I use bottled lemon juice (gasp)!  I prefer the consistency in flavor and acidity level, plus I never remember to buy lemons at the market.  It will be our little secret. 

When I was playing around trying to get a flavor as close to my favorite store brand mayonnaise (Best Foods/Hellmans), I read the back of all the labels & every recipe I could.  One thing that seemed to change from brand to brand and taste to taste was the acids they used.  Some used no citrus juice and only vinegar.  Others used no vinegar and only citrus.  The above recipe is what I settled on as my preference, but you are welcome to change to your tastes and pantry supplies.  The key is to use 2 Tbsp of acid to the 1 cup of oil to get the right balance and not be too tangy or too greasy.  Once you get the hang of making mayonnaise, you can get creative with your choices, playing with lemon juice, lime juice, wine vinegars, flavored vinegars, etc.

It only takes a few seconds
and things start coming together
Do I have to use extra light olive oil?
You can use whatever oil you wish, but stronger flavored oils, like extra virgin olive oil, will likely produce an off tasting mayonnaise.  Extra light olive oil is about as bland an oil that you can find that isn’t seed based.  The more neutral flavored your oil the better.  Some people like to use a mix of oils, like coconut oil and light olive oil, or a nut oil instead.  When you are beginning, start with the simple and save the expensive oils for once you have mastered the technique.

Why a canning jar?
Why not?  It is the perfect size for a batch of mayonnaise, you can store in the same container you mix, and there is something charming about mason jars!  Of course you can use whatever container you would like that is tall and narrow, allows your immersion blender to fit and will hold all your ingredients.  One benefit of using a pint size canning jar is that the top of the word ‘Ball’ or ‘Kerr’ is the perfect spot to pour oil to after layering in the other ingredients, therefore saving you from having to wash a measuring cup....  laziness has its benefits!

I just stick in the blender and let it go?

A few seconds from being complete!
You can stir in any remaining oil.
Amazing, huh?!  No more slowly dribbling in oil over a 5 minute period.  No more hot mayonnaise because your blender over-heated while you slowly poured in the oil.  You don’t have to wash the entire food processor.  Your arm doesn’t get tired dribbling into the stand mixer.  Just stick it in and go!

What do you mean slowly draw to the surface?
As the mayonnaise begins to form in the bottom of the jar, slowly start lifting the blender to the top; I think it takes me 30-60 seconds.  This will draw in the oil into the emulsion you are forming.  There may be the tiniest bit of oil that remains on the surface, but that is easy to mix in with a couple of flicks from a spoon... or a spork if that is what is handy.

It only lasts a week?
I have no problem with raw eggs, but I’m not dumb about it.  Write the date on a piece of tape and stick it on the jar so you know when to pull it and make some more.  The acids do help to deter funk, but REAL food doesn’t last forever.  Use your noggin with this.  If it smells bad, it is bad.  Better to lose a few dollars than be ill for a week.  Store bought mayonnaise is full of stuff that makes it almost as shelf stable as a Twinkie.  You are making JERF mayonnaise!

But mine didn’t blend together!
This happens, even to the experienced.  Who is to blame?  The chicken for its egg or the cook?  Lets blame the chicken, just to save some face.  Always set yourself up for success.  Water is an enemy in this process, so make sure your utensils are completely dry.  Cold can be a factor, so make sure you bring your ingredients to room temperature.  Although I must note, that using the immersion blender technique, I have success using an egg right from the fridge.  Sometimes you can rescue your mayonnaise with the addition of another egg:  crack it in, let it sink to the bottom and repeat the immersion blender treatment.  Sometimes a little more mustard powder will work.  Sometimes nothing does, and the best solution is to use it as a base for salad dressing for that evening.  Sometimes that doesn’t even work and you just need to get your box of tissues and shed a tear.  It will be okay.  You will have victory another day.  It is only defeat if you never try again. 

All hear the battle cry of mayonnaise!!!!  Glorp, glorp!!!

Up next....  Basic Slow Cooker Pork Loin!  No interruptions from the condiments this time...

1 comment:

  1. Always perfect mayo when I use this method. I have been using this method since I bought my stick blender and it has worked every time. This is the best explanation of it I have seen, though.