Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Homemade and Healthy Mayonnaise

Today I made mayonnaise.

My primary reason for making it myself is that I am disgusted with the prices of good mayonnaise.

Let me define "good".

Good mayonnaise is simple. It is made with eggs and good fats. It does not contain bad fats like soybean oil or canola oil. It does not contain high fructose corn syrup. This simplicity is all I ask of my mayonnaise.

Two of the things I try to avoid having in my pantry are high fructose corn syrup and soy.

Here are a few good reasons I shun soybean oil and soy products:

  • High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.
  • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders.
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
  • Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
(Taken from the Weston A. Price Foundation's Soy Alert)

It is very difficult to find any condiment that is made without soybean oil or HFCS. In the health food section of the store there are a few alternatives and those are outrageously priced! I got fed up trying to find a jar of mayonnaise for under $6. Maybe $6 isn't much, except that it used to be $3 (and this could be due to the spiraling value of the American dollar) but if you make your own cole slaw dressing and lots of tuna salad like we do, you go through a jar pretty quickly.

If you take some time to read some of the links I have added here and you find that you, too, are compelled to avoid the unhealthy mayo choices, here's how easy it is to make your own.

A few simple, natural ingredients:
Good oils
Lemon (or vinegar)
Mustard (dry or dijon)

Good oils are cold expeller pressed and not heat processed or polyunsaturated.
For more information, here is an excellent article on oils:
The Skinny on Fats

Good oils can be expensive and can make your homemade mayonnaise outrageously priced also. I buy my extra virgin olive oil in two liter tins and I got this cold-pressed sunflower oil from my food co-op for about $6 for the bottle. I am using a combination of both since EVOO has a distinctive flavor and gets thicker, even semi-solid in the refrigerator. The oil flavor in the mayonnaise will be more mild with the combination. It would be perfectly fine to use either oil alone.

The use of a food processor makes homemade mayonnaise a breeze. If you don't have one you can use a blender. You can also beat it with a whisk like Grandma did but you need good wrist technique. It takes a little practice.

Start with two whole eggs and two egg yolks

Add three tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

two teaspoons of dijon mustard (or 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend those thoroughly for about a minute.

Next, very slowly drizzle in 1 and 1/2 cups of oil.
At first just start with drops of oil while the processor is on high.
Take your time. You want the oil to emulsify.

After the appearance changes to a thicker, lighter color showing that you have a proper emulsion begin pouring the oil in a thin stream. Don't rush. The only tricky part to mayonnaise is the emulsion and that isn't even a trick if you just take it slowly.

After all the oil is added, you can taste and add more salt or lemon if needed.

That's it. So easy.

From here it's a cinch to get fancy and add curry or herbs. Adding garlic makes it a fine aioli.

There will be no reason to ever go back to reading labels, looking for a healthy mayonnaise.


  1. Yeah, down with soy! I'm so proud of you for linking WAPF info in your post! :-D

    Oh, and don't forget the part about letting it sit out on the counter for the rest of the day after you make it...

  2. Arg! I guess that's what I get for reading your blog on Nathan's computer.

  3. Nathan IS kidding about leaving it sit on the counter for the rest of day... right???

  4. Oh I forgot... How long does it keep in the fridge?

  5. Yes, I kept mine out overnight. I was trying to find the info about why to do that though before saying it. Katie? Do you have it? Even Alton Brown of Food Network's "Good Eats" said to leave it out on his mayonnaise show. I believe it is to let the enzymes develop and that makes it SAFE. Ack! Don't quote me until I confirm...

    I added a teaspoon of whey which adds enzymes that act like preservatives. It isn't absolutely necessary so I didn't put that in the recipe. You can take the whey off of good yogurt (define "good"!) or fresh mozzarella etc.

    It'll keep for a long time and really long with the whey.

  6. Thanks for the recipe. Now I just have to get a food processor so I don't kill my wrist! BTW, I love your blog.

  7. Yes, you let it sit out to "culture" for a few hours. The good bacteria from whey or raw cider vinegar will multiply and make the mayo safer with probiotic organisms. Every good French chef does this, and Juila Child ALWAYS did! (I'd have to look around to find the documentation on why this tecnique is safe, but I've read it in many different places-- yes, even Alton Brown.)

    Carissa-- I actually prefer my blender to the food processor ('course,I don't have a Cuisinart like Mom does!). I get a much thicker mayo in the blender.

  8. I'm anxious to try this out now! This weekend I'll do that. I should probably get the documentation from Alton Brown tho, so my husband will try it. He's a stickler on the raw egg bit but trusts Alton implicitly. We tried farm fresh eggs for several years, but then I thought I was getting that IBS syndrome. We discontinued and suddenly I got better. I think the eggs weren't getting cleaned properly. Oh well... I'll start with store bought eggs and go from there.

  9. I have a semi-crappy blender and when I have used it for mayo it doesn't do the first beating very well so I always use my processor. If you have a good blender it will definitely do a fine job.

  10. How much do you add if you are going to add the raw cider vinegar?

    1. A teaspoon to a tablespoon would do. No matter how much you use, the good stuff in the vinegar will multiply so don't worry too much about the amount. You just don't want to add so much you alter the flavor or thickness.


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