What is jinxing my mayonnaise making?!
August 21, 2017 12:06 PM   Subscribe

So up until a week ago I had been happily (and smugly!) making mayonnaise using Jamie Oliver's recipe...

1 free-range egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
250 ml mixed oils
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
ΒΌ lemon
sea salt

I was just popping everything into the fitted jug of a stick blender, whizzing it up, and watching the magic happen before my eyes. Not now!

The last two times I've attempted this, the emulsion magic has failed to happen and I have been appalled at the waste of oil! My attempts at salvaging/thickening have failed.

The ONLY thing I can think of that's changed is we were out of djion so I was using a quality wholegrain mustard...but surely that can't account for it?!

Any ideas?! Such a silly situation but I'm tearing my hair out!
posted by dance to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have had only very occasional failiures using the serious eats/food lab recipe. I notice Kenji calls for a tablespoon of water that your recipe omits?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:11 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you're using grainy mustard try adding all the ingredients except the mustard first and making the mayo base: you just need the oil and the acid (vinegar and lemon juice in this recipe) to get an emulsion going, add in your egg yolk, and then when the texture is as you like it you can add whichever mustard you like.
posted by tractorfeed at 12:13 PM on August 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

If there is any residue on the mixing jug, sometimes that can get in the way of emulsifying. Give it a good scrub and see?
posted by goggie at 12:19 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

But, if you, like tractorfeed writes, don't use mustard at the start, all the old tales (about the RIGHT temperature (and nothing else), a-drop-of-oil-at-a-time, about "when the emulsion becomes too thick, dilute with hot water, teaspoon-wise" etc. etc.) tend to become true again. Finely ground mustard (like Dijon mustard) helps to stabilize your emulsion so it is more forgiving. Without it, mayo becomes again what it used to be: kitchen magic, not for the faint of heart.
posted by Namlit at 12:22 PM on August 21, 2017 [10 favorites]

its totally the grainy mustard. The more finely ground mustard acts as a better emulsifier than grainy. I doubt just skipping the mustard will work either unless you use a more traditional method for making mayonnaise.

BTW broken mayo is super easy to fix. Just dribble it drop by drop into a new egg yolk.
posted by JPD at 12:22 PM on August 21, 2017 [22 favorites]

You can also use a pinch of cayenne to assist in the emulsion (plus add a little touch of heat). Maybe with the grainy mustard you just need a little more oomph to get the emulsion to work.
posted by briank at 12:26 PM on August 21, 2017

I seem to recall that Alton Brown suggested using a whole egg rather than just the yolk if making mayo with a blender/food processor.

Mine is basically: 1c oil, 1 whole egg, 1/2t salt, 1-2T lemon/lime/vinegar/whatevs, 1T mustard. Pour oil into the other stuff and use a stick mixer. I've made it probably 500 times and never had it fail, even when I don't use dijon.
posted by woof at 12:55 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, needs a whole egg or added water. Mustard helps emulsify but not really necessary-- the yolk proteins should handle that. A little water and another yolk should do it.
posted by supercres at 12:57 PM on August 21, 2017

If your oily ingredients and wet ingredients are refusing to mix, you're short of emulsifiers. Egg yolk contains lecithin, which is an emulsifier. So is mustard to some extent. If you're using a different mustard and not getting enough emulsification, maybe add another egg yolk.
posted by flabdablet at 12:59 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I have never gotten this to work without a whole egg or the water.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:00 PM on August 21, 2017

If this was working up to a week ago, is heat/humidity a possibility? Although since I've never seen whole grain mustard in mayonnaise, it seems like maybe it wouldn't work or people would already be doing it??? Also if you're substituting the same volume, maybe the whole mustard seeds in the grainy mustard might take up some of the volume needed to create the emulsion...so maybe a little extra is worth a try?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:11 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's almost certainly the mustard. Mustard seeds have no emulsive properties until they're pulverized, which if using whole-grain doesn't happen in your recipe until after everything else has mingled, if it happens at all.
posted by STFUDonnie at 1:45 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Are you pouring the oil in very, very, very slowly while whizzing?

That's the key.

I put in a quarter cup of oil with dried mustard and a room-temperature egg and room-temperature lemon juice and salt and whiz it. Then I very, very, very slowly pour in the oil (pouring it directly on the stick slows it down even more) while whizzing.
posted by jgirl at 1:54 PM on August 21, 2017

When you say whole grain mustard you mean the stuff that is basically mustard seeds with a little paste around them right? If that's the case then I would agree that you need to use a smoother mustard.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:25 PM on August 21, 2017

For posterity's sake, the brilliance of the stick-blender mayo method is NOT having to drizzle in oil a all (or even to have to whisk).

The "trick" is letting all the ingredients re-settle once you have place the stick attachment inside the well-fitted vessel. The oil naturally separates and floats on top of everything else so as you start the blender its mostly mixing up egg and emulsifiers and slowly pulls down available oil from the floating upper portions.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:59 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

That's also why they ten to use whole eggs and require specific vessels
posted by JPD at 3:24 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Finely ground mustard is a pretty good emulsifier, strong enough to hold together a vinaigrette. It's totally the missing mojo.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:49 AM on August 22, 2017

a one quart wide mouth mason jar works really well for me (and means I dot even have to transfer my freshly made mayo into another vessel for storage).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:42 AM on August 22, 2017

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