Monday, June 07, 2010

Homemade Mayo: Disaster Averted

By Diana Hsieh

A few days ago, I made Monica's mayonnaise for the third time. (I made it in my food processor. I didn't add any sugar, and I used 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 high oleic sunflower oil. I had to heat the oil ever so slightly to melt the coconut oil.)

At first, the egg and oil mixture emulsified well, but after adding one-and-a-half of the two cups of oil, I realized that I'd run out of space in the small bowl of my food processor. So I switched everything to the larger bowl. (When I made this mayo the first time, I made a half batch. I used the large bowl, and that was the wrong choice. Alas, I chose wrongly again!)

Unfortunately, something in that process of overcrowding then switching bowls caused a serious problem, because the mayo was reverting to a liquid state. Or maybe the two cups of oil was too much. I'm not sure. In any case, after I added the vinegar and the lemon juice, I had runny, separating liquid rather than a thick, creamy emulsification. Yikes! I was seriously unhappy at the thought of wasting all that good oil. Plus, I needed the mayo for my lunch, and I was hungry!

I tried adding another egg yolk into the mixture, but that didn't do anything. So I moved the liquid-mayo to a bowl, added three more egg yolks into the food processor, turned it on for a minute, then slowly drizzled in the liquid mayo. Basically, I re-made the mayo.

Much to my delight, that worked! The mayo emulsified again perfectly. After I took this picture, I added the whey and left it on the counter for a few hours to preserve it. (That immediately turned the mayo more white; I have no idea why!) Meanwhile, I was able to make myself some delicious turkey salad for lunch.

In case you've had problems making mayo -- or in case you do -- don't despair! You might be able to save it.

Notably, after writing up the above account for OEvolve, William Green sent me a link to Alton Brown recommending the same process for emulsification gone wrong. (See "Scene 6.") Nice!

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