Tips on Making Mayonnaise
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- Use the freshest eggs available (backyard chickens, anyone?), since the lecithin in the egg yolk is what emulsifies the oil, keeping the product smooth and creamy.
- Those who are unable to have vinegar for any reason, or who otherwise wish to, for reasons of taste etc, can use plain, store bought citric acid crystals dissolved in water in place of the lemon juice and/or vinegar. (Citric acid is one of the main components of lemon juice.) This has the additional advantage of preserving the final mayonnaise better, as the citric acid also acts as a preservative. Note that it is important the amount of liquid mentioned in the recipe be maintained - the recipe mentions 6 tablespoons of liquid, two each of vinegar, lemon juice and water. The amount of water added to the citric acid should therefore be at least 6 tablespoons and preferably a bit more. The amount of citric acid used varies depending upon the brand of citric used, and the taste of the maker, but is usually between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon(s). In countries that do not have a wine making tradition, store bought vinegar is nothing more than diluted industrial acetic acid. This should be avoided at all costs.
- For a healthier alternative, try egg white mayonnaise.
- To recover a broken mayonnaise:
- Place another yolk in another bowl and slowly whisk the old into the new.
- Pour some vinegar down the side of the bowl and slowly work the mayonnaise back together, quickly whisking the oil and egg near the vinegar into the vinegar, and then bit by bit whisking the rest of the egg and oil into this. This is more difficult than the other method.
- Place a teaspoon of water into another bowl and then add the broken mayonnaise drop by drop into the water while whisking, just like you added the oil to the egg yolks before. When you have incorporated all of the broken mayonnaise into the water, slowly add the remaining oil (if any) while whisking, just like before
- If olive oil is used, the mayonnaise should be used at once. When refrigerated, it will crystallize or solidify. Olive oil makes a very fruity mayonnaise.
- Make sure that all oil is fully incorporated into the mayonnaise before adding more. If you rush the process, the mayonnaise will "break," and the emulsion will release all its fat to become a useless pile of oil and egg yolk.
- Using a hand-held immersion blender makes this task very easy. Crack the eggs in the container you plan to use to store the mayonnaise--a clean generic salsa jar works perfectly. Add the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, oil, and seasonings. Plunge the immersion blender into the container, then turn on high. The bottom of the mixture will turn instantly into mayonnaise. While the immersion blender is still running, very slowly lift up the blender to incorporate all of the oil.
- Using organic, free-range eggs reduces (but does not eliminate) the likelihood of salmonella poisoning. This is because the more space the chickens have, the lower the chances of salmonella contamination.
- To ensure you are adding the oil slowly enough, put the oil into a "squeeze bottle" (like those used for mustard or ketchup, with a narrow nozzle) and squeeze it from that into the mixture. As a guideline to tell if you're doing it slowly enough, it should take at least a minute to add all the oil this way.
- Some grocers and specialty food shops sell "sterile" (free of food-borne bacteria), pre-separated egg whites and yolks.
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