Pasteurization is a process where food is heated to 140°F, killing harmful bacteria. Egg yolks would normally start to cook at 140°F, but you can use a microwave to pasteurize egg yolks without cooking them, so they can safely be used in mayonnaise and other preparations requiring raw egg yolks.
How it works is by adding acid to the egg yolks — either in the form of lemon juice or vinegar. Adding acid raises the temperature at which egg yolks cook, so we can heat them to 140°F, killing the bacteria, but without cooking the egg.
IMPORTANT: You'll need no fewer than three clean whisks on hand to use this procedure. (Clean forks are OK, too.)
Time Required: 5 minutes
- Separate two eggs and collect the yolks in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Whisk the yolks thoroughly using the first of your three clean whisks.
- Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice and whisk again.
- Add 2 Tbsp water and whisk again. Seal bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the microwave.
NOTE: The current whisk should be set aside now. You'll need to have the next two ready to go in quick succession.
- Heat the egg mixture on high until the surface begins to rise. Once you see this, cook for 8 more seconds, then immediately remove the bowl from the microwave, remove the plastic wrap and whisk the yolks vigorously with a clean whisk.
- Immediately return the bowl to the microwave and heat on high again until the surface begins to rise. Continue for 8 more seconds, them remove and whisk vigorously with another clean whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
These egg yolks are now safe to use in mayonnaise or other raw-egg preparations.
- You can increase the number of yolks to three. Just increase the cooking times to 10 seconds from the moment the surface of the eggs starts to rise.
- Three whisks (or forks) are absolutely essential. Don't try to wash and dry the same whisk and re-use it. It'll take too long and the temperature of the eggs will fall too fast. And by no means should you use an unwashed whisk for the second or third whiskings. You'll just be contaminating the egg mixture.
What You Need
- 2 fresh eggs
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)
- 2 Tbsp water
- Microwave-safe glass bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Three (3) clean whisks or forks (this is important)
- Microwave oven