The formula for making mayonnaise sounds quite easy: “slowly beat oil into egg until an emulsion forms…”, until you get to the desired outcome: “…where the oil molecules are uniformly dispersed in the egg and suspend there”. Hmmm. I’ve tried making mayo over the years with a whisk, and about half the time, my mayo used to split leaving me with a deflated oily puddle. Until I learned the simple secret to the perfect, creamy, fluffy mayonnaise – a tablespoon of water, which creates a stronger, and more stable emulsion (and ensuring fresh ingredients makes for a much tastier mayo than any store-bought variety).
If you have the time, patience and elbow grease, you can use a whisk/electric whisk, but here’s my can’t-go-wrong made from scratch stick-blender mayo, giving me one less reason to need to go into a fluro-lit supermarket.
Makes about 1½ – 2 cups of mayonnaise
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- Juice of 1/2 small lemon
- 1 cup avocado oil or other neutral oil*
- 1 pinch sea salt and white pepper, to taste
- Add the egg yolk, water, mustard, lemon juice, and oil into a small jug with a diameter just wider than your stick blender (I use a clear plastic 600mL measuring jug like this one that came with my stick blender)
- Place the stick blender into the jug so it’s resting on the bottom and rest it against the bottom of the jug, and make sure you’re holding the jug firmly with one hand
- Start the blender and keep holding it against the bottom of the jug. The emulsion will start immediately
- Slowly, slowly tilt the blender and move it up until you have perfect, creamy, natural mayonnaise.
- Season to your taste with salt and white pepper. (Tip: I often add garlic powder for a more aioli flavoured mayo)
- Store in a sterilised, airtight jar in the fridge, and mix any other flavours through it as you need it (e.g. mustard, minced anchovies, roasted garlic, pesto, etc.). Will keep in fridge for 2-3 weeks.
*When you make mayonnaise, because you’re not heating the oil, you’ll be able to taste the flavour of the oil, so stronger tasting oils like olive oil will tend to make your mayo taste quite bitter. I’ve tried a few and lighter avocado oils are definitely my favourite (in particular a Mexican brand called ‘Ahuacatlan’ which I get (cheap!) from Costco) – but extra extra super light olive oil should also work.
** If it splits/doesn’t thicken, you can rescue it by doing the following:
- In a fresh wide-mouthed jar / start with another egg yolk, water, mustard and lemon juice and blend until combined.
- Slowly start adding the failed/split mixture little by little until it’s all added and thick.