Mayonnaise is not hard to make, particularly if you have a food processor or immersion blender, but emulsions can be a little tricky without the help of electrically-powered appliances. Because hand beating is a much slower process—especially if you have to take breaks to rest your wrist—patience is key in keeping your mayo from breaking, but using whole eggs and Dijon mustard can make things a bit less touchy.
Mayo is usually made with just the yolk portion of the egg but, seeing as the white can help stabilise an emulsion, I like to use a whole egg if I’m making it without the help of ultra-quick mechanical blades. That, coupled with the emulsifying mucilage you get from Dijon mustard, gives you a mayo that isn’t as prone to breaking.
Does this mean you can dump all your oil in at once? No, you still need practice a modicum of patience, but you won’t ruin your mayo if your stream of oil is a little thick. To make this tangy, luscious condiment without any sort of blender, you will need:
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
Add everything except the oil to a large mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk until completely combined—the mixture will pale in colour and get a little frothy. Add a tiny spoonful (a little less than 1/4 teaspoon) to the mixture and beat well to emulsify.
Repeat until you have added about 1/8th of a cup of oil, then add two little spoons at a time, beating to fully emulsify after each addition.
Once you have added 1/4 of a cup of oil, the mixture should have lost almost all of its frothy appearance, and should now look like a thin sauce. Slowly drizzle in a quarter cup of oil, beating constantly to ensure the emulsion does not break, making sure to scrape the sides with the whisk occasionally.
Repeat until you have added all the oil and have a thick, glossy mayo. Refrigerate and use within a week.