Safe homemade mayonnaise.

14 Oct
 An easy technique that guarantees safe homemade mayonnaise.

 By John D Lee

Homemade mayonnaise is a versatile sauce that actually bears little resemblance to the white goop that comes out of a jar. Actually, I like that white goop, but it’s no where near as good as a true homemade mayonnaise.

I had wanted to make homemade mayonnaise for use in my restaurant for years, but was always held back over fears of possible contamination. Health expert’s advice that the elderly and very young children not consume homemade mayonnaise as it is made from raw eggs, and does carry an increased risk for bacterial salmonella food poisoning. It can be quite serious, and several people die each year from consuming “off” homemade mayonnaise.

If you do have a healthy immune system, homemade mayonnaise, made the conventional way poses extremely low risk to you, but you can virtually eliminate all risk by using this easy technique, and making a mayo that is safe for all ages. The secret to the technique is first pasteurizing the eggs, and I am quoting the food science that I gleaned from the essential book, On Food and Cooking.

Pasteurizing simply means heating to a point at which bacteria cannot survive, and holding that temperature for a period of time that ensures that all bacteria will have died. Fortunately, the temperature at which bacteria in an egg will die is lower than the temperature that will start to denature the proteins of an egg; so you can still use a pasteurized egg for mayonnaise.

How to pasteurize an egg

The following information is the technique needed for the pasteurization of an egg, and you can use this technique for any mayo recipe.

Separate your yolks from your whites, and reserve the whites for another usage. Place the yolks gently into a metal mixing bowl filled with a bit of cold water. You can also use the top of a double boiler if you have one. By gentle as you don’t want to break the yolks!

Heat some water on the stove in a pot that your bowl will fit nicely atop of, and heat this water to a gentle simmer. Place your bowl with the eggs and water over the simmering pot, and heat the water in the egg bowl up very gently.

The temperature of pasteurization is between 52 and 58 degrees Celsius, and any higher than that will start to cook your eggs, so you need to be somewhat precise.

Insert a standard thermometer (your standard 2$ school laboratory thermometer will work well here) and watch closely for the temperature to rise to the desired point.

When the water reaches 55 degrees, turn off the heat, but let the bowl continue to sit ion the hot water pot. Wait 5 minutes with the egg water at 55 degrees, and your eggs have been pasteurized, and are bacteria free.

Add a bit of cold water (too make it a little easier on your hands), and then drain off all the egg water, using your hand as a strainer, to keep the egg yolks in the bowl. Use right away for mayonnaise, or refrigerate until needed.

Mayonnaise made with these eggs, and then stored in the fridge will be completely safe, but incorrect storage of any mayonnaise can allow for the growth of new bacteria.

Homemade mayo makes a great salad dressing, or dipping sauce, and is miles ahead of anything you can buy. You can add garlic, and alter the tastes, as well as completely change the character of the mayo through the use of different oils. Vegetable oil will make a neutral mayo, great for salad dressings, and olive oil will make a rich tasting flavorful mayo that is great on its own as a dipping sauce, or as an accent to other dishes.

Basic Mayonnaise recipe

2 egg yolks, pasteurized

1 ½ cups of vegetable oil

The juice of half a lemon

A good pinch of salt

In a metal mixing bowl, whisks up the egg yolks until they are aerated and frothy. Squeeze in the lemon juice, and add the salt. Start adding the oil at an extremely slow drizzle, making that the oil gets fully incorporated into the eggs as you are whisking, before adding more.

Mayonnaise is not at all difficult to make, but it does require a little patience at the start. Add the oil very slowly, and whisk thoroughly, and you won’t have any problems.

Keep drizzling and whisking until you reach the halfway point of the oil. After this point, you can start to add the oil a little bit faster, but make sure that you whisk it all until fully incorporated before adding more oil.

When all the oil is incorporated, season with salt and pepper to taste, and you are finished.

I think homemade mayo makes a great salad dressing with addition of lots of minced garlic, fresh black pepper, and white vinegar to taste.

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