There’s something wonderfully satisfying about making your own sauces from scratch.
Exercising your right to choose the ingredients our families consume is the ultimate in power and control – or so it seems in the kitchen!
Naturally, the flavor of homemade sauces is head and shoulders above that of processed and preserved spreads from the grocery shelf.
Like made-from-scratch mayonnaise.
Tart and bright with a splash of fresh lemon, the rich, velvety texture and taste is so marvelous you’ll never want to settle for a mass-produced product again.
But beware: Wonderfully easy to make with just a few basic ingredients, homemade mayonnaise can rebel if you don’t give it the attention it deserves.
For a classic thick version like our recipe, use a hand whisk for stiff, creamy results.
No matter how you make it, when a batch of this delicious sauce goes sideways, those feelings of satisfaction can quickly turn to despair!
So… what to do?
As with so many of the good things in life, a successful batch of mayo requires two essential, but non-material ingredients – patience and TLC.
Whip it up too fast, or forget to admire how it all comes together, and your luscious homemade spread can break when your back is turned.
A humbling experience, “broken” mayonnaise happens when the ingredients weren’t emulsified properly during the initial blending. The oil needs to be whisked in oh-so-slowly, adding it in a very light stream that allows the yolk and oil to bond and emulsify.
When it breaks, those delicately emulsified ingredients have become undone. The bond breaks, ingredients separate, and your airy custard looks more like curdled cottage cheese!
But fear not, intrepid sauce-makers – a broken batch is easy to fix.
We have two solutions for you to try, depending on how you plan to use your sauce.
If you want a thinner mixture for making a salad dressing or to add to another sauce, use the water cure. For a thicker batch to use for a sandwich spread, deviled eggs, and so on, the addition of another egg yolk is the best solution.
Fix #1 – The Water Cure
If your mayonnaise remains a bit thin after the initial whisking, or if it’s broken and separated, whisk in two teaspoons of boiling water.
The hot water will help the yolks to set and re-emulsify with the oil, bonding the ingredients back together again.
If it doesn’t thicken right away, add another teaspoon or two of hot water and continue whisking.
This will result in a thinner but creamier sauce that’s good for dressings, or as an addition to other sauces. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Fix # 2 – Add Another Yolk
If you want your spread to have a thicker consistency, put a fresh egg yolk into a clean bowl, then slowly whisk the thin or broken batch into the new yolk.
The extra yolk will re-emulsify the ingredients, making it smooth and light once again.
For this process, make sure to whisk the broken sauce slowly into the egg, just one small dollop at a time.
Once it begins to thicken, you can add the remaining broken batch in a steady stream, whisking constantly as you add it to the fresh yolk.
Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Once it reaches the desired consistency, use it immediately or store covered in a clean dish in the fridge for a day or two.
A Slow Hand Does It
And that’s it! Two easy solutions to restore your homemade spread to creamy perfection.
Remember, a successful batch of mayo needs to develop slowly – take your time and give the ingredients a chance to bond and thicken. When you do, you’ll be richly rewarded with superb flavor and texture!
And what about you readers – any tips for reconstituting broken mayonnaise? Let us know in the comments below.
Photos by Felicia Lim, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.