Making Mayonnaise

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
All of the ingredients for making mayonnaise should be at room temperature; warmth speeds the transfer of emulsifiers from the yolk particles to the oil droplet surfaces. The simplest method is to mix together everything but the oil—egg yolks, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, mustard—and then whisk in the oil, slowly at first and more rapidly as the emulsion thickens. However, the cook can produce more stable small droplets by whisking a portion of the oil into just the yolks and salt to start, and then adding the remaining ingredients when the emulsion gets stiff and needs to be thinned. The salt causes the yolk granules to fall apart into its component particles, which makes the yolks become both more clear and more viscous. If left undiluted, this viscosity will help break the oil into smaller droplets.