25.Jul.2010 at 25 | Amber
So. Attempt #2 was a success! I will be attempting many different variations in the near future but I wanted to record my first findings so that I will remember what is important to tell you and what is not.
First of all, patience is the key. And don’t fret because your first attempt will be a lot more laborious and time consuming than even your second go at it. It’s the same when you do anything for the first time, use a field hockey stick, hold a baby, paint a wall…you strain muscles harder than you need and you use muscles that aren’t even necessary to complete the task at hand.
I’m not going to give a complete recipe at this point, as I have only completed two different types of mayo this evening and I have not decided what my ‘signature blend’ will be yet. I will however point out important tips that will be helpful no matter what type of mayonnaise you are making.
First, Mayonnaise consists primarily of egg yolk, oil, vinegar AND/OR lemon juice. Some people use the whole egg, most people add salt and lots choose to incorporate ground or prepared mustard. I say go with the salt in the beginning and experiment with the others later. Knowing this, it is all a matter of portions, technique and order.
Tip #1: Get an iPod.
Or any other mp3 player you like. I read this as an ingredient item on someone’s recipe and at the time I laughed but now I realize it was listed in all seriousness. Not only will it help the time pass (your first whack at it can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes whisking alone) but you can whisk to the music which takes your mind off the cardio your arm is experiencing but is also highly entertaining. As long as you are preparing your mayo around people who love you or…alone, you will be fine.
Tip #2: Use a regular, hand held whisk.
Lots of people will tell you you may use anything from a kitchen aid mixer, to a food processor, electric whisk or your finger (no one said your finger but I felt like I needed to say four things to there it is), I found that a normal whisk, while harder on the biceps, will produce the best blending and ultimately the best emulsion. The food processor, like I mentioned in my earlier post, will not touch all of your egg yolk which means that your oil is only emulsifying with part of your yolk. An electric whisk, while easier, requires that you hold it directly above your bowl which means you have to drip your oil from the side which leaves a small drop of oil sitting at the edge of your bowl and not being simultaneously whisked with the rest of your mixture. I cannot speak for the kitchen aid mixer as I have not attempted this but after using a regular whisk (and I find the smaller kinds are easier to handle and touch more of you material) I will not use anything else. Plus, if you wanted this to be easy you would’ve gone out and bought a jar of Hellman’s already so let’s get real.
Tip #3: Use a bowl with a small base.
The first time I tried this I used a pretty flat bowl with a lot of surface area at the bottom, which is great for things like cereal and rice, is not so good when you must chase your egg yolk around the bottom with your whisk to make sure all the elements are being mixed together.
Tip #4: Add half of the lemon juice AND/OR vinegar to the egg yolk BEFORE the oil.
I continue to say AND/OR because this all depends on what flavor you are going for. Just like there are many flavors of vinegar you may also choose to use lemon juice and if you’re like me, you may choose to use a little bit of both. I got this tip from Alton Brown, (which I don’t think he really meant to be a tip but just the way he makes mayonnaise) who is the master of food mechanics. When you add the vinegar (I’m just gonna say vinegar so I don’t have to continue with the AND/OR but you can assume I mean EITHER/BOTH) to the egg yolk before hand, you have a more liquid-like, less-sticky base to begin with which makes blending drops of oil into it a lot easier because it quickly gets mixed in as opposed to sitting on the top.
Tip #5: Get a disposable ketchup bottle for your oil.
Ya know, the ones that looked like the ketchup foodles you used when you were 5. When we are talking about an emulsion, you literally have to add the oil drop by drop at first, but eventually you want to pour it in as a thin stream. Using a dropper has its obvious downfall seeing as it can hold a tsp. at most and the object you use must be able to hold at least 1 cup of oil at the start. As you read previously, baby bottles won’t work either. Trust me, just get the ketchup/mustard/squeeze-a-ma-jig and you will be happy with your 30 cent investment.
While this doesn’t sound very important, you will thank me when your arm feels like it is about to fall off and you are glad you are using a light-weight whisk. Plus it is easier to control AND you will not be making more than 2 cups of mayo at a time…usually. One egg yolk and 1 cup of oil will yield almost 2 cups of mayonnaise. Since this is fresh and made with (hopefully) pasteurized eggs, it will only keep in the fridge for a couple days, and unless you are preparing the chicken salad for the clarksville picnic, the amount you need to be whisking is small and a small whisk is best.