Contrary to what it says on a store-bought bottle of mayo, an egg yolk, oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and maybe mustard are all you need to make mayonnaise. Store-bought mayo lasts a long long time in the fridge, and did you know that for some brands of mayo, fridge storage is unnecessary.
I have no idea how much that put you off or not, but I sure freaked out after discovering how many types of preservatives go into commercial mayo. Not to blatantly discourage anyone from ever buying mayonnaise from the store, I think the choice is everyone’s to make, but I do think that everyone should try their hand at making their own mayo at least once in their life. It’s a little bit of kitchen magic that all should experience.
Some people are afraid to try making mayonnaise at home before they think you need a whole bunch of egg yolks and handling oil is a messy affair. In actual fact, according to masterchef Heston Blumental, an egg yolk can hold up to a whopping 1.5 litres of oil before it begins to split. So follow our strategy and let science take the lead.
In a clean dry bowl, beat an egg yolk until pale and creamy. (You can use an electrical mixer, or do with manually with a whisk and lots of elbow grease. If doing the latter, think of it as working now for your calories later.
Then add a drop of oil at a time and beat hard, incorporating the oil fully before adding the next drop.
After adding a fair amount of oil, the yolk should resemble a thick mayo paste. At this stage, the mixture is pretty stable, so begin to add the oil in a slow steady trickle, beating all the way through.
When you’ve whipped up enough mayo to fill the jar of your choice, season with fine salt, white pepper powder, lemon juice (or vinegar) and a small bit of mustard. The best part about homemade mayo is being able to season it according to your taste. Finally, adjust the consistency of the mixture according to your preference by adding drops of water, or not.
If in any case, the mayo simply isn’t coming together after a lot of whisking, or if it looks like the mixture has split, it could be because the bowl wasn’t completely dry, or that the mayo didn’t stablise before more oil was added. Rectify this and start again with another egg yolk, repeating the process with the failed mixture. Do it once, or twice and you’d be a pro. Have fun!
And here’s the recipe card if you need a reference sheet in the kitchen!