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I'm beginning to think this whole "egg-free mayonnaise" thing is an extremely elaborate practical joke. I have exhausted all the tips Google has yielded, so I'm hoping someone on here has an idea what else I might be doing wrong.

Here's my basic recipe (variations I've tried are listed below):
1/2 cup soy milk
1 cup sunflower oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
Combine everything but the oil and whisk.
Add the oil in super tiny amounts, whisking like crazy each time.

Result: a very homogeneous white soup the consistency of water. There are no visible oil droplets. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes for the first oil droplets to appear, and a few hours for an actual layer of oil to form.

Soy milk and oil are both at precisely 28°C (82°F).

Things I've tried so far:

  • with a blender.
  • with an immersion blender.
  • with an electrical whisk.
  • with a whisk.
  • with a fork.
  • on a boat. No, wait, that's Dr Seuss.
  • add 1 or 5 tsp of soy lecithin. Does nothing, but despite soy lecithin's supposed tastelessness, the result tastes terribly of soy.
  • have ingredients at 23°C (73°F) instead of 28°C.
  • use oat milk instead of soy milk.
  • use a warm water/soy flour mixture instead of soy milk.
  • use a different oil.
  • add xanthan. This makes a somewhat thicker, but terribly clumpy mixture that you really don't want to eat.
  • different blender speeds.
  • quadruple the amount of oil. This resulted in a much larger amount of soup.
  • continue mixing for ten additional minutes. Resulted in my hand falling asleep from holding the hand mixer for so long.

I am so very out of ideas. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Edit: tried a few more things and added them to the list of things that do nothing.

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  • 1
    DId you try only this recipe, never any others? I don't see any emulsifiers in it.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 11 '20 at 18:15
  • @rumtscho I tried a lot of different recipes. I also tried adding soy lecithin before adding the oil. Apr 11 '20 at 18:42
  • @BettaGeorge, please see my answer below. If you still have trouble please write back and I'll see if I can come up with an exact recipe for you. Let me know what kitchen tools you have.
    – myklbykl
    Apr 11 '20 at 18:50
  • I've seen some recipes using soft tofu or aquafaba instead of just soy milk. Those might be alternatives worth considering. I also wonder how long you continues mixing/blending after the final addition of oil, and if you've tried increasing the ratio of oil to milk?
    – kitukwfyer
    Apr 11 '20 at 21:10
  • @kitukwfyer How long should I continue mixing? I gave up after ten minutes without visible change in consistency, mostly because my hand was cramping up. I shall try using tofu later today and report back. Apr 12 '20 at 11:51
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Well this is ... disturbing. Switching to a different brand of soy milk let me succeed on the first try. I have no idea what the manufacturer of my usual brand does to it, but after more testing, even water+lecithine works better than that brand of soy milk.

I hope it's okay to answer my own question. For anyone who comes across this via Google in the future: I tried two different brands of organic soy milk with the same official ingredient list and no visible differences, and one consistently produces mayonnaise while the other consistently produces soup.

Thanks to all the nice people who took the time to try and help me!

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Your recipe calls for a 2:1 ratio (by volume) of oil to soy milk. In normal mayonnaise recipes, the oil:water ratio is 5:1 or more. I honestly can't see that recipe ever producing anything but soup. Try quadrupling the oil.

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  • Do you mean the oil:water ratio is 5:1?
    – Tinuviel
    Apr 12 '20 at 6:40
  • Yep, thanks for catching that.
    – Sneftel
    Apr 12 '20 at 7:07
  • Okay, tried that. Resulted in a larger amount of soup. Is it possible that some oils don't work for this? I've never read anything of the sort, but who knows. Apr 12 '20 at 11:44
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I have made eggless mayonnaise before. For your quantity, in addition to the lecithin, add 5 tsp of modified cornstarch and 1/4 tsp or more of xanthan gum. Fine tune from there as I use less oil.

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Mustard is an emulsifier. I would try just starting with whole-grain mustard if you have it (or any mustard if not) a little vinegar, lemon juice, and perhaps a bit of water, and then use a hand mixer and gradually add oil as you build the emulsion (you can do with a whisk but it is more work). When you have the volume you want, salt to taste.

I just found this recipe on line.

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  • It looks like everything you are suggesting was already tried by the op before asking. And mustard is a terribly weak emulsifier, it's just about good enough to stop big eyes of fast forming on vinaigrette, but it cannot support a foam.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 12 '20 at 8:31
  • I have tried that, to no avail. Apr 12 '20 at 11:52
  • @rumtscho, no I don't see where she tried just mustard as an emulsifier.
    – myklbykl
    Apr 12 '20 at 14:34
  • It's right in the recipe, the fourth item. And I would possibly have downvoted without it being there too, since mustard doesn't have much of a chance to work for that, especially whole seeds.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 12 '20 at 17:09
  • @rumtscho, I think you're misunderstanding. I did read her recipe which has many items, but I don't see where she tried only mustard. The soy milk could making the recipe not work, or you could be right and it just won't work, but I have seen multiple people who say they've been successful with only mustard for vegan mayo, though I have not tried it myself.
    – myklbykl
    Apr 12 '20 at 17:56
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OK. I just tried an experiment and I'll call it a modest success, though more time needs to spent to perfect this.

Experiment 1: Dijon mustard, oil, vinegar, and water. I was able to get a stable emulsion but it was too mustardy and too thin.

Experiment 2: I started with 1 tbsp of soy lecithin and 1 tbsp of water and combined them with my hand mixer. Then I gradually added oil and it made a stable emulsion. I then added salt and the emulsion broke. :(

Experiment 3: This time I started with 2 tbsp of soy lecithin and 3 tbsp of water. I added oil and the emulsion maintained. I added a little vinegar and water and more oil. Emulsion was good. I kept adding more oil, then I added some dijon mustard. At the addition of the mustard the mayo became much thinner and I was afraid I may have lost it, but I added more oil and kept blending with my hand mixer and was able to get most of the thickness back (see photo below).

More experimentation is needed, but I added some salt and lemon at the end and tasted it and it tasted pretty good.

Vegan Mayo

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Because of all the additives in most soy milk, it's best to use pure soy milk made from only soybeans and water with nothing else added.

I also use dried mustard and have had the best results with a food processor as it's easier to pour the oil in very slowly.

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