How to Make Your Own Mayo and AioliTuesday, March 15, 2016
I'm a diehard fan of a particular brand of southern mayonnaise. I'd put that mayo on everything if I could get away with it. It's flavorful and tangy and makes every dish perfect, from my deviled eggs to potato salad to homemade ranch dressing. Sadly, my favorite mayo was one of the first things I had to give up on Whole 30 (along with most of the other condiments in my fridge) because its ingredients include soybean oil and sugar. As with most things on Whole 30, the solution was to make my own. All you need to make mayonnaise at home is egg yolks, oil, and vinegar, along with whatever else you want to add flavor. If you're doing Whole 30 just make sure ingredients such as mustard or hot sauce are all compliant. Mayo is an emulsion, where tiny droplets of liquid are suspended in another liquid. Now, I've made my own mayos in the past but it was always a hit or miss thing. Sometimes it would work and other times it would turn into a big soupy mess upon which I'd feel like crying. Not really so much about wasting the eggs and oil, but in failing to conquer something that looks so simple in the recipes.
I wasn't about to go without mayo for a whole month, so I was determined to get this down. In the past, I tried every recommended technique from whisking the ingredients by hand (quite the unnecessary workout) to using a food processor (hate cleaning that thing) and finally my blender. The latter usually ended in disaster. Blenders are tricky because you almost need to double most recipes in order for the blades to catch the yolks in the beginning, and I rarely need two cups of mayo at a time? Homemade mayo is perishable, so I only like to make what I'll use within a few days. I also found that my mayo broke more often in the blender, probably from being overworked. When a mayo breaks, the oil and eggs fail to emulsify so everything separates. It's usually fixable, but a pain in the ass regardless. But there was one thing I hadn't tried and it was sitting in my cabinet the whole time: an old fashioned hand mixer. It's a two handed operation but hardly the muscle power needed to do mayo by hand. I simply operate the mixer in one hand, and pour the oil from the other. To make that even easier, I now load my oil into a plastic squeeze bottle which allows me to control the speed of the stream. I've also recently upgraded to KitchenAid's 3-Speed Hand Blender (affiliate link), which is what I use to make my mayo now. I've got my process down and can't even remember the last time I had a broken emulsion on my hands, which is pretty dope. If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, that should also work although I tend not to drag it out for small tasks like this.
There's one last thing I'll leave you with, and that's the business of an "aioli." I'll be the first one to tell you that words mean things, so I've been conflicted with what to call some of my mayo-based creations. I was taught that a true aioli doesn't have eggs and is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. But most of the aioli recipes I found include eggs, and didn't seem all that different from mayo. I came across an article at Chowhound, "Mayo, Aioli, and Hollandaise: What’s the Difference?" which cleared that up. Eggs are fine, but it's the olive oil and garlic that distinguishes aioli from regular mayo. (Whew. My truffle aioli is appropriately named.) It's probably a battle not worth fighting, but for the record I only call my olive oil and garlic based creations aioli. If you care. Any flavors can be whisked into mayo or aioli though, so dream away. My favorite spice to add is smoked paprika, which turns the mayo a bright orangey-red color. When I want something spicy, I'll stir in harissa or scotch bonnet pepper sauce. Sometimes I just use more mustard for a dijonaisse. Infinite possibilities here, but I've included some variations to get you started. I'm in love with homemade mayos and aiolis now, and even when I'm off Whole 30 I've still been making my own.
Now for that recipe... I made a video, because it's easier than taking step by step photos in this case. If you have any questions (or would like to chime in on the mayo vs. aioli debate, feel free to comment below!)
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 cup
Special Equipment: Hand mixer or stand mixer
Refrigerate immediately. The mayo will firm up some as it chills. Use within 3 days. Be cautious about serving foods made with raw eggs to children or those with a compromised immune system.
If your mayo does break (which inevitably will happen from time to time), you can fix it by starting over with a clean bowl and fresh egg yolk. Whisk together the broken mayo and stream that into the new egg yolk, as if it was the oil in the original recipe.