Thursday, March 10, 2016

Condiment of the Week - Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise (/ˈmeɪəneɪz/, /ˌmeɪəˈneɪz/ or in AmE also /ˈmæneɪz/, and often abbreviated as mayo /
Jar of pale-yellow mayonnaise
ˈmeɪoʊ/) is a thick, creamy sauce often used as a condiment. It is a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk, and either vinegar or lemon juice, with many options for embellishment with other herbs and spices. Proteins and lecithin in the egg yolk serve as emulsifiers in both mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce. Commercial egg-free alternatives are available for vegans and others who want to avoid animal products and cholesterol, or who are allergic to eggs.

Mayonnaise varies in color, but is often white, cream, or pale yellow. It may range in texture from that of light cream to a thick gel. In countries influenced by French culture, mustard is also a common ingredient, but the addition of mustard turns the sauce into a remoulade with a different flavor and the mustard acts as an additional emulsifier.

Mayonnaise can be made by hand with a mortar and pestle, whisk or fork, or with the aid of an
Making mayonnaise with a whisk
electric mixer or blender. It is made by slowly adding oil to an egg yolk, while whisking vigorously to disperse the oil. The oil and the water in yolks form a base of the emulsion, while lecithin and protein from the yolks are the emulsifiers that stabilize it. Additionally, a bit of a mustard may also be added to sharpen its taste, and further stabilize the emulsion. Mustard contains small amounts of lecithin. If vinegar is added directly to the yolk it can emulsify more oil, thus making more mayonnaise.

For large-scale preparation of mayonnaise where mixing equipment is being employed the process typically begins with the dispersal of eggs, either powdered or liquid, into water. Once emulsified, the remaining ingredients are then added and vigorously mixed until completely hydrated and evenly dispersed. Oil is then added as rapidly as it can be absorbed. Though only a small part of the total, ingredients other than the oil are critical to proper formulation. These must be totally hydrated and dispersed within a small liquid volume, which can cause difficulties including emulsion breakdown during the oil-adding phase. Often a long agitation process is required to achieve proper dispersal/emulsification, presenting one of the trickiest phases of the production process. Though, as technology in the food industry advances, processing has been shortened drastically allowing roughly 1000 liters to be produced in 10 minutes.

Commercial mayonnaise sold in jars originated in Philadelphia in 1907 when Amelia Schlorer decided to start selling her own mayonnaise recipe originally used in salads sold in the family grocery store. Mrs. Schlorer's Mayonnaise was an instant success with local customers and eventually grew into the Schlorer Delicatessen Company. Around the same time in New York City, a family from Vetschau, Germany, at Richard Hellmann's delicatessen on Columbus Avenue, featured his wife's homemade recipe in salads sold in their delicatessen. The condiment quickly became so popular that Hellmann began selling it in "wooden boats" that were used for weighing butter. In 1912, Mrs. Hellmann's mayonnaise was mass-marketed and later was trademarked in 1926 as Hellmann's Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise.

A typical formulation for commercially made mayonnaise (not low fat) can contain as much as 80%
Standard ingredients and tools to make mayonnaise
vegetable oil, usually soybean but sometimes olive oil. Water makes up about 7% to 8% and egg yolks about six percent. Some formulas use whole eggs instead of just yolks. The remaining ingredients include vinegar (4%), salt (1%) and sugar (1%). Low-fat formulas will typically decrease oil content to just 50% and increase water content to about 35%. Egg content is reduced to 4% and vinegar to 3%. Sugar is increased to 1.5% and salt lowered to 0.7%. Gums or thickeners (4%) are added to increase viscosity, improve texture, and ensure a stable emulsion.

There are several ways to prepare mayonnaise, but on average it contains around 700 kilocalories (2,900 kJ) per 100 grams, or 94 calories per tablespoon. This makes mayonnaise a calorically dense food.

There are egg-free versions of mayonnaise available for vegans and others who want to avoid eggs,
Vegan sandwich with egg-free mayo
animal fat, and cholesterol, or who have egg allergies. In the US, these alternatives cannot be labelled as "mayonnaise" because of the FDA's definition of mayonnaise making egg a requirement.

Well-known brands include Nayonaise and Vegenaise in North America, and Plamil Egg Free in the UK.

In August 2015, the United States Food and Drug Administration sent out a warning letter to the San Francisco company Hampton Creek, objecting to the name of their "Just Mayo" product, which is not egg-based and therefore does not meet the U.S. legal definition of "mayonnaise".

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