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I recently made a batch of homemade mayonnaise, having found myself with left over egg yolk from another recipe. I decided not to flavor the mayonnaise with any mustard. The mayo ended up tasting like mostly oil. I decided not to use mustard since the store brands never taste like mustard. How can I adjust the flavor so that my mayo tastes like the typical mayo you get in stores (particularly Hellmann's brand)?

For the record, here is how I prepared the mayo:

For every 1 egg yolk I have, I added 2 table spoons of white vinegar to activate the emulsifier. Then I slowly dripped in vegetable oil until the mixture started to look a bit like yellow mayonnaise. At that point I started adding and stirring into the mixture large portions of vegetable oil until I got to my desired thickness (I like the thicker mayo). I should note that the color was still a very light yellow, perhaps not enough vinegar.

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But...why would you want your mayonnaise to taste like Helman's? The point of home-made mayonnaise (or of top-quality mayonnaise) is that it should be better than Helman's! I would add mustard, though not too much. I also recommend lemon juice (unless it's already sour enough) and pepper. I assume you have already added plenty of salt. – Cerberus Jan 16 '14 at 3:51
@Cerberus I have a particular pallet and I've grown accustomed to Helman's flavor. I would like to know how to curve the flavor towards Helman's and from there tweak it to where I find it optimal. Also, the price of Helman's is quite a bit more than say Kraft and I can't bring myself to pay the difference, especially when I can make Mayo at home at a substantially reduced price. As for the mustards, I know that different kinds of mustards result in different tastes, so I don't know the right combination. Last time I added honey Dijon mustard and it tasted like the old mcdonalds honeymustard – Nil Jan 16 '14 at 7:40
Mustard powder is a better option than actual mustard imo. – Stefano Jan 16 '14 at 9:45
Checking the my Hellmann's jar, you'll need to add lemon juice and sugar. Also, whole egg, not just yolk. – derobert Jan 16 '14 at 9:57
I think you'd be better off adjusting your taste to real mayonnaise flavor. Also, a great side benefit of making your own mayonnaise is that you realize that it's almost all oil. Use good oil; use garlic; use whatever spices and herbs that you like. Homemade food means you're making what you like. The mass-market products are optimized for production cost mostly. – Pointy Jan 16 '14 at 22:55
up vote 10 down vote accepted

I have to make both mayonnaise and aioli every day at my job. We sometimes do R&D on off days and we spent quite some time trying to imitate our favorite gourmet mayonnaise. I think that we were successful, here are some tips:

  1. Lemon juice comes closer to that crisp tartness that I taste in even cheaper mayonnaise. Try using the juice from lemons, limes, or both and see where that gets you.

  2. The store bought brands don't taste like mustard, but let me emphasize that mustard is vital to getting you closer to that taste. There is a specific "tang" to store bought mayonnaise that doesn't come from the acid -- you can get very close to this tang with mustard. I use a good quality dijon when I make mayonnaise and the difference is noticeable. Keep adding dijon in small amounts and observe the change in taste. I end up 2 - 3 tablespoons to my batch.

  3. Experiment with fresh garlic and/or garlic and onion powders.

  4. Try adding white pepper instead of black pepper and see where that gets you.

  5. I add a little water at the end. I find that it tones down some of the intensity of the acid and dijon.

Also, you don't have to add your acid in the beginning. In fact, I almost always add mine after the initial "setting" of the emulsification. It is easier to control the thickness and flavor of my mayo; I use my acid for my first thinning and then add oil to adjust from there.

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Also: A common trick in lactovegetarian/vegan cooking to make something taste more "eggy" is using black salt (kala namak) ... careful with that stuff if not familiar with it! – rackandboneman May 12 '15 at 10:56

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