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Can we make homemade mayonnaise yet?

susanb Jun 20, 2002 01:45 PM

Apologies if this has been discussed (can't find it by searching) but what is the current thinking on whether it's ok to use raw eggs to make mayonnaise? I know I've read recently that eggs have become safer. I've also read about pasteurized eggs, but am not sure where to find them. I know I've read about some handy tricks for treating the eggs so they're safe, but I don't recall what they were. What do others do about this?

  1. w
    Wendy Leonard Jun 20, 2002 02:52 PM

    I make it with raw eggs, though I do use only organic eggs, reasoning that eggs produced under somewhat less mass-production methods will be somewhat safer, since it is those methods that led to the rise in salmonella.

    Pasteurized eggs are available in milk-type cartons near the regular eggs in the supermarket. I haven't tried them for making mayonnaise. I did use them once for making seven-minute frosting and the frosting was not nearly as stable. I don't know if that is because of the eggs or because it was a hot day--I would need to experiment some more to see.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Wendy Leonard
      jake pine Jun 20, 2002 04:45 PM

      Raw eggs are just fine. Like sushi, medium-rare burgers, sprouts and raw oysters, there is a small chance that someone might have a bad reaction, but it is so small as to be inconsequential as far as I'm concerned. There is simply no substitute for egg yolk in an aioli. The pasteurized eggs dont work as well, it breaks much more easily. Hard boiled egg yolks dont have the creamy texture of the raw yolks.

      1. re: jake pine
        Caitlin Wheeler Jun 20, 2002 06:55 PM

        What jake said. But obviously, if you're pregnant, stay away from homemade mayonnaise. Ditto for your young children or the elderly.

        1. re: Caitlin Wheeler
          susanb Jun 20, 2002 09:17 PM

          Thanks, everyone. I think I'm with Jake, too. Homemade is too good to give up, and I've survived despite years of sushi. I was hoping there was some way to eradicate the risk with no cost to the flavor, but oh well...

    2. j
      Jim H. Jun 20, 2002 03:43 PM

      You CAN make mayonnaise with hard cooked egg yolks...add a bit of chopped onion, pickles and chopped egg white and viola!...you have basic sauce tartare. Leave the chopped stuff out and you have mayonnaise. Try 3 yolks, 2Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, pinch cayenne, Tbsp dijon mustard and blend in blender with about one cup of oil. Careful if you use olive oil...may be very strong. Since the streets are not littered with the bodies of salmonella victims, raw eggs might be OK.

      1. j
        JC Jun 20, 2002 11:22 PM

        I remember seeing Alton Brown make homemade mayo and he let it sit out at room temp fo 4-8 hours before refriderating, this is supposed to kill the salmonella bacteria

        Link: http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season...

        6 Replies
        1. re: JC
          susanb Jun 20, 2002 11:39 PM

          Great link! Sounds like pasteurized eggs are a good answer.

          1. re: JC
            Wendy Leonard Jun 21, 2002 12:30 AM

            I don't understand this. This seems to me to be a dangerous recommendation. As I understand it salmonella thrives at room temperature--that's why there used to be so many salmonella cases from people taking egg and tuna salad sandwiches made with homemade mayo on summer picnics. The last thing in the world you would want to do with homemade mayonnaise is leave it out for several hours. I make homemade mayonnaise with raw unpasteurized eggs--but I use commercial mayonnaise for children's unrefrigerated lunchboxes. Unless there's something I'm missing here!

            1. re: Wendy Leonard
              Tater Jun 21, 2002 10:51 AM

              This is word-for-word from his show:

              "And there we have it. Ah, good body, nice cling, and the flavor, mm, just try to get that out of a jar. But it does fit in a jar. Now I usually cover my fresh mayo and leave it at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours. [camera does a double-take on the jar] Now take it easy. Take it easy. I know. Leaving raw eggs in this zone sounds like crazy talk. But here's the thing. There's a small, tiny, infinitesimal, little chance that, uh, that egg yolk was contaminated with salmonella. Now the cold of the refrigerator would prevent that salmonella from breeding but it will not actually kill it. Acid, on the hand, will. And with a pH of, wow, 3.6 this is a decidedly acidic environment. But for reasons that still have lab-coaters scratching their heads, acid does its best bug killing at room temperature. So leaving this out for 8, 10, even 12 hours is sound sanitation. After that, straight to the refrigerator for no more than a week. You can even put it in the door."

              I heard this somewhere else recently too. He does a good job of backing his statements up with science.

              1. re: Wendy Leonard
                hotoynoodle Feb 19, 2011 04:35 PM

                my understanding was that it more often was the chicken or ham or tuna, the protein in the salad, that started to turn and made people sick. there is a lot of acid in mayo, which kills lots of bacteria and prevents bad-guys from thriving.

                home-made mayo wasn't a "thing", in the states anyway, for much of the 20th century.

                i use raw eggs, have not died yet, but i use it within a week or so.

                1. re: hotoynoodle
                  Phurstluv Feb 19, 2011 04:46 PM

                  Or the chopped vegetables as in onions or celery often get contaminated in those type of salads.

              2. re: JC
                Maria Jun 21, 2002 01:16 PM

                I use regular raw eggs and have always followed the leave it out for a while routine, not really knowning what was the reasoning behind it. After reading the article I know why....it makes sense, since homemade mayonnaise has lemon juice in it. Thanks for a great link!

              3. j
                Janet A. Zimmerman Jun 21, 2002 11:22 AM

                In "The Curious Cook" Harold McGee discusses the raw egg/mayo question and comes up with a method for basically coddling the egg yolk in the microwave, then using it successfully in a mayonnaise. My copy of that book is, unfortunately, in storage, so I can't check on the details -- and I admit that I haven't personally tried it, but if you're concerned about the safety of the eggs you buy, his method might be worth a try.

                1. c
                  Cricket Jun 21, 2002 11:52 AM

                  If you have a Trader Joe's nearby, they sell pasteurized eggs.

                  1. Antilope Feb 19, 2011 07:39 AM

                    Would it be possible to pasteurize homemade mayonnaise after it is prepared? Would heating the mayonnaise to 165 F for a few minutes ruin it?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Antilope
                      hotoynoodle Feb 19, 2011 04:27 PM

                      heat that high would break it.

                    2. hotoynoodle Feb 19, 2011 04:39 PM

                      The inside of an egg was once considered almost sterile. But, over recent years, the bacterium Salmonella enteritidis (Se) has been found inside a small number of eggs. Scientists estimate that, on average across the U.S., only 1 of every 20,000 eggs might contain the bacteria. So, the likelihood that an egg might contain Se is extremely small – 0.005% (five one-thousandths of one percent). At this rate, if you’re an average consumer, you might encounter a contaminated egg once every 84 years.


                      from this site:


                      organic eggs are not superior to supermarket eggs against salmonella.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                        magiesmom Feb 19, 2011 06:42 PM

                        there is a range of opinion about whether free range eggs are safer re: salmonella as crowding seems to encourage growth of bacteria.

                      2. m
                        magiesmom Feb 19, 2011 06:38 PM

                        I have made mayo from raw eggs for 35 years, at least once a month to no ill effect.

                        1. j
                          JeremyEG Feb 19, 2011 06:48 PM

                          I've never tried making mayo with pasteurized eggs but I have been using fresh eggs from the farmer's market and the results are great. Much richer (and a nicer color too!).

                          1. chefj Feb 19, 2011 06:51 PM

                            As stated above. the PH level of classic Mayo is too acidic for bacteira growth.
                            If you add stuff to your mayo that will dilute the PH level then you may have a problem but assuming that your eggs have been stored properly you are fine. No need for pasteurizing and the like.

                            1. Redwine Feb 19, 2011 06:53 PM

                              I use Uncle Eddies eggs in Sonoma. I make my own mayo with Julia Childs recipe and never worry as I do not store it for later use.

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