(Note: this post was originally published on January 13, 2019. It was the first post on The Rogue Brussel Sprout! It has since been updated with new photos and additional detail).
Homemade Mustard is Best
Are you ready to free yourself from the condiment aisle? Homemade mustard is easy, fun, requires just a few simple ingredients, and is infinitely better than store-bought. I started making my own mustard at home many years ago and have never looked back. I hope this guide will help you to get started with your own mustard experiments and that you'll enjoy making it as much as I do.
There are numerous reasons why homemade mustard is better than store bought. First, many jarred condiments have all sorts of unappealing ingredients like preservatives, gums (for texture), oil, and loads of added sugar. Second, when you make it at home, you can customize your own personal mustard recipe to suit your flavor and texture preferences. Finally, homemade mustard makes a great and very unique gift to share with friends and family.
Ready to dive in? Here's everything you need to know.
How to Make Mustard
Making mustard takes a few weeks, but it's straightforward and the hands-on time is minimal. Mustard is essentially just mustard seeds that are aged in a liquid of your choice, blended, and aged again. Simple, right?
The most interesting (and creative) part of homemade mustard is making decisions about the end product you want to achieve. Do you want a hot and pungent mustard that will knock your socks off? A traditional Dijon? A sweet, mellow mustard? Do you want it smooth like butter? Or completely whole grain? Maybe a beer mustard? With some creativity and experimentation, you can have infinite mustard recipes to try.
The process of making mustard entails a few simple steps. No step takes more than 15 minutes, although keep in mind that you'll need to age your mustard for a few weeks. This guide will walk you through these steps and will then explore all the possible variations you can achieve.
Step #1: Homemade Mustard Ingredients
Choosing Your Mustard Seeds
There are a lot of options with homemade mustard and choosing your mustard seeds is the first. You have three possibilities: yellow, brown, and black. Yellow seeds have the mildest flavor (think simple ballpark mustard), brown seeds are intermediate, and black seeds are the most assertive. I prefer a 50/50 combination of yellow and brown, but you can experiment to determine what you like.
The amount you use isn't important since you'll adjust the liquid accordingly. However, I suggest starting off with small batches (about a cup of seeds total) so that you can experiment with different combinations. Once you're happy with your mustard recipe, you can scale up and make a bigger batch.
Where can you buy mustard seeds? Many food co-ops and health food stores have them in bulk (look with the bulk spices), which is perfect because you can get whatever amount and combination you desire. They tend to be reasonably priced, only a few dollars per pound. If you don't have a store that sells them, you may need to order them online.
Choosing Your Liquid
Your homemade mustard will be based in some sort of liquid, and this is where the fun really starts. In general, a more acidic liquid will temper the heat/pungency of the mustard more effectively. The liquids I've experimented with are as follows:
Water yields a very assertive mustard (mostly nasal heat) with a simple flavor White wine yields a moderate mustard with subtle wine flavors Dark beer yields a moderate mustard with malty flavors White vinegar yields a mild mustard with simple flavor and a big acid punch Cider vinegar yields a mild mustard with subtle sweetness and a big acid punch
You can use these options (or a combination of them) to create your own personal mustard recipe. I personally haven't experimented with other liquids, but some additional possibilities include lighter beer, hard cider, rice vinegar, or even whiskey. My personal preference is local cider vinegar because I love foods with an acidic kick.
One caveat: I suggest staying away from dark-colored liquids and fruity liquids. No one wants a red mustard (sorry red wine), and liquids with a short shelf life (e.g., fruit juice) will spoil during longer-term storage.
Additional Flavors and Sweeteners
You have the option of adding some herbs, spices, sweeteners, or other flavors to your homemade mustard. I like my mustard to be a tad sweet, so I love to add a few tablespoons of maple syrup. Honey would work well too. Remember that you can always sweeten it up later for a specific application (e.g. a honey mustard marinade), so I suggest trying to keep your core mustard recipe relatively versatile.
The other key element is salt. Add salt! It's important for making the flavors pop.
What about other add-ins? Personally, I almost never use flavored add-ins because it allows me to keep a stock of versatile mustard in the fridge that I can then further customize in small amounts for specific applications. But this would be your opportunity to add things like dried herbs (oregano?), spices (garlic salt? chili powder?), or even dried fruit (dried cranberries are delightful). Stay away from anything fresh and perishable.
Step #2: Combine
Once you've selected the ingredients for your homemade mustard, you're through the hardest part. The rest is a breeze!
Be forewarned that the seeds will puff up as they soak and will approximately double in size (depending on the liquid you use), so start with a bigger vessel than you think you need. Pour the mustard seeds into a large measuring cup or jar. Add enough liquid to cover them fully, but no more (you can always add additional liquid later if needed). Add in salt plus any sweeteners or additional flavors you want to use, then stir to combine. Cover the measuring cup and sit it on the countertop somewhere reasonably cool (i.e. no direct sunlight) but not in the fridge.
Step #3: Age
This is the first of two times when you'll let your homemade mustard rest and develop. A shorter aging process yields a more assertive flavor, whereas a longer aging process yields a more mellow flavor. You can age your mustard at this stage for up to several days (I usually do 2-3 days); I wouldn't leave it for much more than that since it's not refrigerated.
During this time, the seeds will soak up liquid. Take a look at it every day and add some additional liquid as necessary. Strive to keep the seeds just barely covered.
Step #4: Blend and Store
After your mustard ages for a few days, you're ready to blend it. If you have an immersion blender, use that; it will be the easiest option and will give you the most control over the texture of the mustard. A high-power blender can work too, but the mustard will blend very quickly, so keep a close eye on it if you want to retain some whole seeds.
Once again, you have options. You can do a complete blend into a very smooth consistency for that ballpark mustard feel. You can omit the blending all together for a whole grain texture, which is interesting although it doesn't work well as a dip. Or you can do a partial blend to make a coherent spread that still has whole grains in it. My preference is to blend it about 50-75% of the way, but this is part of the fun and how you'll create your own unique mustard recipe. Transfer it into glass jars, cap them tightly, and put them in the fridge.
One important point: resist the temptation to taste it. Mustard is often quite bitter at this point in the process.
Step #5: Age Again
Put the jars in the back of your fridge and forget about them for a few weeks; the mustard needs this time to mellow and mature. You'll want to age your homemade mustard for several weeks, although longer is fine. After this second aging period, your mustard is ready for you to start using it.
A Note About Storage
As written, this mustard recipe is NOT for storage outside the fridge. Your homemade mustard is not properly sanitized and canned for storage in the pantry. It can last in the fridge for months (especially for a vinegar base) but should never be stored outside the fridge. If you give it as a gift, make sure you let the recipient know.
Mustard Recipe Variations
This is really the coolest part about making your own homemade mustard! Between varying your seed blend, your liquid, and your texture, the possibilities are endless. A few combinations to help you get started:
Yellow seeds + white vinegar + full blend = classic, approachable ballpark mustard Yellow seeds + brown seeds + white wine + partial blend = Dijon(ish) mustard Yellow seeds + brown seeds + dark beer + minimal blend = typical beer mustard Black seeds + water + full blend = that super pungent mustard that comes with Asian take-out
Congratulations, you just learned a great new party trick: serving your very own, homemade mustard! Making it yourself is easy and fun, saves money, allows you to avoid unnecessary preservatives and other undesirable ingredients, minimizes packaging waste, and stimulates your creativity. There are infinite variations, so have fun formulating your own signature mustard recipe.
Most importantly, have fun with it! The world of homemade mustard has infinite possibilities and I'm so excited for you to start exploring it.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
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