Homemade Mayonnaise in 2 Minutes or Less
Mayonnaise can be made by hand with a mortar and pestle, whisk or fork, or with the aid of an electric mixer or blender. Mayonnaise is made by slowly adding oil to an egg yolk, while whisking vigorously to disperse the oil. The oil and the water in yolks form a base of the emulsion, while lecithin and protein from the yolks are the emulsifiers that stabilizes it. Additionally, a bit of a mustard may also be added to sharpen its taste, and further stabilize the emulsion. Mustard contains small amounts of lecithin.It is a process that requires watching; if the liquid starts to separate and look like pack-ice, or curd, it simply requires starting again with an egg yolk, whisking it, slowly adding the ‘curd’ while whisking, and the mixture will emulsify to become mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise, English pronunciation: /ˌmeɪəˈneɪz/, often abbreviated as mayo, is a condiment. It is a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice, with many options for embellishment with other herbs and spices. Lecithin in the egg yolk is the emulsifier. Mayonnaise varies in color but is often white, cream, or pale yellow. It may range in texture from that of light cream to thick. In countries influenced by French culture, mustard is also a common ingredient. In Spain and Italy, olive oil is used as the oil and mustard is never included. Numerous other sauces can be created from it with addition of various herbs, spices, and finely chopped pickles. Where mustard is used, it is also an emulsifier.
The most probable origin of mayonnaise is the town of Mahó in Menorca (Spain), after Armand de Vignerot du Plessis’s victory over the British at the city’s port in 1756. According to this version, the sauce was originally known as “salsa mahonesa” in Spanish and “maonesa” in Catalan (as it is still known in Menorca), later becoming mayonnaise as it was popularized by the French.
The French Larousse Gastronomique suggests: “Mayonnaise, in our view, is a popular corruption of moyeunaise, derived from the very old French word moyeu, which means yolk of egg.” The sauce may have been christened mayennaise after Charles de Lorraine, duke of Mayenne, because he took the time to finish his meal of chicken with cold sauce before being defeated in the Battle of Arques.
Nineteenth-century culinary writer Pierre Lacam suggested that in 1459, a London woman named Annamarie Turcauht stumbled upon this condiment after trying to create a custard of some sort.
According to Trutter et al.: “It is highly probable that wherever olive oil existed, a simple preparation of oil and egg came about – particularly in the Mediterranean region, where aioli (oil and garlic) is made.”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, mayonnaise was in use in English as early as 1823 in the journal of Lady Blessington.
A classic European recipe is essentially the same as the basic one described above, but it uses olive oil with vinegar or lemon juice. It is essential to beat the mayonnaise using a whisk while adding the olive oil a little (e.g. a teaspoon) at a time, then it is possible to add the oil more quickly while briskly whisking to incorporate the oil into the emulsion. If there are two people in the kitchen, one person can slowly pour the oil while the other does the whisking. Experienced cooks can judge when the mayonnaise is done by the emulsion’s resistance to the beating action. Herbs and spices can be added at any stage and the vinegar may have already been infused with sprigs of French tarragon, or the oil may have been infused with garlic.
Homemade mayonnaise can approach 85% fat before the emulsion breaks down; commercial mayonnaise is more typically 70-80% fat. “Low fat” mayonnaise products contain starches, cellulose gel, or other ingredients to simulate the texture of real mayonnaise.
Some recipes, both commercial and homemade, use the whole egg, including the white. It can also be made using solely egg whites, with no yolks at all, if it is done at high speed in a food processor. The resulting texture appears to be the same and, if seasoned with salt, pepper, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar and a little paprika, for example, the taste is similar to traditional mayonnaise made with egg yolks.
Commercial producers either pasteurize the yolks, freeze them and substitute water for most of their liquid, or use other emulsifiers. They also typically use soybean oil, for its lower cost, instead of olive oil.
Use of mayonnaise
Mayonnaise is frequently served in a sandwich, or with salad such as potato salad or canned tuna (“tuna mayo” or tuna salad). Regional uses are listed below:
In some European countries, especially Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands, mayonnaise is often served with “Pommes Frites”, French fries or chips. It is also served with cold chicken or hard-boiled eggs in France, the UK, Benelux, the Baltic States and Eastern Europe.
Guidelines issued in September 1991 by Europe’s Federation of the Condiment Sauce Industries recommend that oil and liquid egg yolk levels in mayonnaise should be at least 70% and 5% respectively, although this is not legislated. Most available brands easily exceed this target.
Commercial mayonnaise sold in jars originated in Philadelphia in 1907 when Amelia Schlorer decided to start selling her own mayonnaise recipe originally used in salads sold in the family grocery store. Mrs. Schlorer’s Mayonnaise was an instant success with local customers and eventually grew into the Schlorer Delicatessen Company. Around the same time in New York City, a family from Vetschau, Germany, at Richard Hellmann’s delicatessen on Columbus Avenue, featured his wife’s homemade recipe in salads sold in their deli. The condiment quickly became so popular that Hellmann began selling it in “wooden boats” that were used for weighing butter. In 1912, Mrs. Hellmann’s mayonnaise was mass marketed and later was trademarked in 1926 as Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise.
At about the same time that Mrs. Schlorer’s and Hellmann’s Mayonnaise were thriving on the East Coast of the United States, a California company, Best Foods, introduced their own mayonnaise, which turned out to be very popular in the western United States. In 1932, Best Foods bought the Hellmann’s brand. By then, both mayonnaises had such commanding market shares in their own half of the country that it was decided that both brands be preserved. The company is now owned by Unilever.
In the Southeastern part of the United States, Mrs. Eugenia Duke of Greenville, South Carolina, founded the Duke Sandwich Company in 1917 to sell sandwiches to soldiers training at nearby Fort Sevier. Her homemade mayonnaise became so popular that her company began to focus exclusively on producing and selling the mayonnaise, eventually selling out to the C.F. Sauer Company of Richmond, Virginia, in 1929. Duke’s Mayonnaise, remains a popular brand of mayonnaise in the Southeast, although it is not generally available in other markets.
Japanese mayonnaise is typically made with apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar and a small amount of MSG, which gives it a different flavor from mayonnaise made from distilled vinegar. It is most often sold in soft plastic squeeze bottles. Its texture is thinner than most Western commercial mayonnaise.A variety containing karashi (Japanese mustard) is also common.
Apart from salads, it is popular with dishes such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki and yakisoba and may also accompany katsu and karaage. It is sometimes served with cooked vegetables, dabbed on sushi or mixed with soy sauce or wasabi and used as dips. In the Tōkai region, it is a frequent condiment on hiyashi chūka (cold noodle salad). Many fried seafood dishes are served with a side of mayonnaise for dipping. It is also common in Japan to use mayonnaise on pizza. Mayonnaise is also often used for cooking where it can replace butter or oil when frying vegetables or meat.
Kewpie (Q.P.) is the most popular brand of Japanese mayonnaise, advertised with a Kewpie doll logo. It is made with egg yolks instead of whole eggs, and the vinegar is a proprietary blend containing apple and malt vinegars.
Mayonnaise is very popular in Russia where it is made with sunflower seed oil which gives it a very distinctive flavor. A 2004 study showed that Russia is the only market in Europe where mayonnaise is sold more than ketchup by volume. It’s used as a sauce in the most popular salads in Russia such as Russian Salad [oliv’e] and Dressed Herring and also many others. Leading brands are Calve (marketed by Unilever) and Sloboda (marketed by Efko).
Furthermore, in many Eastern European countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, etc.), one can find different commercial flavors of mayonnaise, such as olive, quail-egg, and lemon.
Chile is the world’s third major per capita consumer of mayonnaise and first in Latin America. Since mayonnaise became widely accessible in the 1980sChileans have used it on locos, completos, French fries, and on boiled chopped potatoes, a salad commonly known as “papas mayo”.
As a base for other sauces
Mayonnaise is the base for many other chilled sauces and salad dressings. For example:
- Fry sauce is a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup or another red sauce (e.g., Tabasco sauce, Buffalo wing sauce, or one of many smoky barbecue sauces popular in the Northwestern United States), spices, and sometimes a strong tasting salty liquid (such as Worcestershire or soy sauce) is added to balance out the sweeter red sauces. Commonly eaten on French fries in Utah, Idaho, eastern Washington and rural Oregon.
- Marie Rose sauce combines mayonnaise with tomato sauce or ketchup, cream, flavorings and brandy. In North America, a processed version of Marie-Rose, called “Russian Dressing” sometimes uses mayonnaise as a base. However, most homemade varieties and nearly all commercial brands of “Russian dressing” use little or no mayonnaise as a base. They are very dark red and sweet dressings made with vegetable oil, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, and a variety of herbs and spices (often including mustard).
- Ranch dressing is made of buttermilk or sour cream, mayonnaise, and minced green onions, along with other seasonings.
- Rouille is aïoli with added saffron, red pepper or paprika.
- Salsa golf created in Argentina is Mayonnaise with ketchup as well as spices such as red pepper or oregano.
- Sauce rémoulade, in classic French cuisine is mayonnaise to which has been added mustard, gherkins, capers, parsley, chervil, tarragon, and possibly anchovy essence. An industrially made variety is popular in Denmark with French fries and fried fish. It is quite different from most of the remoulade sauces that are frequently found in Louisiana and generally do not have a mayonnaise base.
- Tartar sauce is mayonnaise spiced with pickled cucumbers and onion. Capers, olives, and crushed hardboiled eggs are sometimes included. A simpler recipe calls for only pickle relish to be added to the mayonnaise.
- Thousand Island dressing is a salmon-pink dressing that combines tomato sauce and/or tomato ketchup or ketchup-based chili sauce, minced sweet pickles or sweet pickle relish, assorted herbs and spices (usually including mustard), and sometimes including chopped hard-boiled egg—all thoroughly blended into a mayonnaise base.
- Certain variations of honey mustard are based on mayonnaise and are made by combining mayonnaise with plain mustard, brown sugar, and lemon juice.
- A mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup is known in the United States as “Fancy Sauce,” as popularized by the film, Step Brothers.
Common additives in commercial mayonnaise
When purchased premade it may contain sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, thickeners, emulsifiers, EDTA, flavor enhancers, and water. Such mixtures allow for the production of products which are low in fats and/or sugars. Premade mayonnaise is also readily available without these additional ingredients.
There are several ways to prepare mayonnaise, but on average mayo is approximately 700 calories per 100 grams of product. This makes mayonnaise a very highly caloric food by itself.
For people with serious health conditions, where cholesterol is of big concern, or egg allergies, but also for vegans and religious vegetarians, who abstain from egg consumption (like for example in many places in India) there are growing numbers of egg-free, mayonnaise-like spreads available.The most well known American brands are Nayonaise and Vegenaise. Some egg-free mayonnaise alternatives are also soy-free.