Mayonnaise, or simply mayo, is a cold sauce with French origins that is made from egg, vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard, and water to create an oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion with a dispersed oil phase and a continuous water phase. Egg yolk works as an emulsifier by stabilizing the oil-water contact, in mayonnaise making process.
What is the science behind mayonnaise formation?
Emulsification is the process of getting two liquids that don’t mix to form a suspension. Oil and water don’t mix well, so they can’t dissolve into each other to make a uniform solution. The problem is that these two different substances won’t mix together on their own, so an emulsifier is used.
What is an emulsifier?
Emulsifiers are molecules that have a part that dissolves in fat and a part that dissolves in water. The part that likes oil sticks to the oil, and the part that likes water sticks to the water. This makes a good barrier around the droplets, so it is a part that coats the droplets and keeps them from sticking together. If the droplets stick together, the emulsion will break apart. An example of an emulsifier is egg yolk, which has lecithin.
An emulsifier is an essential ingredient in making mayonnaise. It acts as a glue that holds the two liquids together and keeps the mixture stable. Eggs are one food that has emulsifiers in them. The egg yolk in mayonnaise is the emulsifier because it has lecithin, which is a fat emulsifier.
What are the basic ingredients used for mayonnaise processing?
Mayonnaise is a mixture of egg yolk, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and seasonings that is thick and creamy. It can be used as a base for sauces like Thousand Island, Tartar, etc. Mayonnaise is often used as a spread on sandwiches and burgers, as the creamy base for cold salads, as a dip for French fries, etc.
Depending on where it comes from, mayonnaise manufacturing companies from different parts of the world can have other ingredients for mayonnaise making process. Some of the 4 choices, like the type of oil or emulsifier, are different. For economic reasons, the type of oil can be changed, and various spices can be used to show the culture. The emulsifier can be a whole egg (which is often used in the US), a liquid egg yolk (which is often used in Europe), or a spray-dried egg yolk.
What roles do various ingredients play in the production and quality of mayonnaise?
- Oil- Since oil is the main ingredient in mayonnaise, it greatly affects how good the finished product is. The amount of oil in the mayonnaise affects how it behaves viscoelastically and how stable it is. The oil also changes the way the mayonnaise tastes and feels because it adds creaminess and flavor. So, it’s essential to use neutral-tasting oil, like rapeseed, sunflower, or grapeseed oil.
- Egg- In most industries, liquid egg yolk that has been pasteurized or egg yolk powder is used. Egg yolk is used more often than egg white because it is a better emulsifier. Egg white can also work as an emulsifier, but egg yolk is four times better at it. Many credit LDL as the main factor in its extraordinary emulsifying abilities.
- Vinegar- Vinegar adds to the flavor of mayonnaise and lowers the pH, which helps keep it safe from bacteria and supports preservation.
- Salt and sugar- Salt adds to the taste and helps the mayonnaise stay together. Salt helps to get rid of the charges on the proteins (from eggs) so that they can stick to the droplet surface more easily. Sugar adds to the taste of mayonnaise, but it is mainly added to counteract the taste of vinegar.
- Mustard– Mustard makes mayonnaise taste and look different. Isothiocyanates are what gives mustard most of its taste.
Mayonnaise Making Process
- Both the first and second operational speeds may be the same or have the same value. The third operating speed is better than the second operational speed because it is faster.
- When the vegetable oil, water, and egg are mixed into the pre-emulsion, this means that they have already formed an emulsion.
The mayonnaise making process using the mayonnaise making machines is shown in the diagram below. First, an egg is placed into the mixing tank. Then, water that already has sugar dissolved in it is added. The agitator in the mixing tank is turned on right away, and slowly, the oil is added to the tank where the pre-emulsion will be made. Then salt that has already been dissolved and lemon juice is added to the vinegar. Once the pre-emulsion is complete, the pump and mixer are activated to continuously move the mixture back and forth until mayonnaise is formed. When the mayonnaise is ready, it goes into the buffer tank and is then ready to be moved into packages.
Certain factors such as stirring speed, temperature, egg content, egg type, and oil content can cause changes in the quality of the mayonnaise and even phase-inversion (water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion forms instead of oil-in-water). This results in broken mayonnaise with very low viscosity, close to the viscosity of the oil.
Figure 1 shows a well-made mayonnaise, while Figure 2 shows a mayonnaise that is broken.
Fig 1 Fig 2