Monday, 30 August 2010

Guest Post: Aarons' Guide to Home-made Mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise tastes so different from the supermarket bought version that it is almost criminal. I was scared to try it for a long time because of all sorts of horror stories about how difficult making mayonnaise was. But there really is no need to be afraid. I trawled through about a dozen mayonnaise recipes looking for tips and have come up with one that I think works well and tastes sublime. I hope you like it too.

The key with mayonnaise is to use really really fresh free range eggs. The fresher the egg, the more likely everything is to turn out perfectly. Whisk one large egg yolk with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Add a tablespoon of white whine vinegar and give it a good thorough whisk for a couple of minutes. This bit is important because it helps the mayonnaise to emulsify later.

Now take some olive oil and start dribbling it in drop by drop, keeping the whisking action going. A food processor or electric whisk is very handy here. This is the stage where things can go wrong. You just need to make sure that each drop of oil is thoroughly whisked in before adding the next drop.

Once you've added about two or three tablespoons of oil and the whole mixture begins to thicken then you an start adding the rest of the oil (a total of 500ml) in a thin continuous trickle. If it starts to get too thick add another tablespoon of white wine vinegar and if that fails a tablespoon of warm water.

There are a few tricks in case you don't quite the hang of it and the mixture splits and curdles- The first is to use a 50% vegetable oil and 50% olive oil at first, thus ensuring that you don't waste vast quantities of olive oil on failed attempts.

Also, don't throw out your failed curdled mayo! Just start again with another fresh batch and then as the mixture starts to thicken, gradually add in your curdled mixture drop by drop.
After the mixture has thickened the hard part is over and you can add the juice of a lemon to give it a sharper taste.

There are a thousand things you can do with it once you've triumphed;
Mix in herbs or smoked fish, put a dollop in a fish stew, mix in some crab, add crushed or chopped garlic to turn it into aioli.... endless possibilities! It'll keep in the fridge in a jam jar for about a week.

...And once you've tasted it you'll never go back to Hellman's.
Thank you so much to Aaron for this post! I would, if he doesn't mind, like to dedicate it to my Papa, a fierce believer in the worth of home made mayonnaise, and Hellman's arch nemesis. (My house was more tuna-yoghurt than tuna-mayo. Oh yes.)



  1. Oh this post was written with Papa firmly in mind. And perhaps to allow the residents of the LouLovesFood house to finally lift the mayonnaise sanctions that they have lived under for so long.

    And I also should add that once you taste home made mayonnaise, you'll discover that Papa was right...:)

  2. The only sanctions to exist are on the synthetic varieties sold in jars in this country. Mayonnaise purchased from a supermarket in France is almost authentic.

    And all the while there are insurgents in the house, sneaking jars of unnaturally coloured stuff in with the weekly shop. Its more Helmand than Hellmanns in our house.