I’m not sure exactly when, but it seems about a year ago that I began to realize what a thing I have for mustard; the spicy, sharp, strong variety, most preferably grainy and brown. If we travel, among my chosen ‘souvenirs’ is often a pot of fancy mustard. There is even a bit of joking that still goes on about a $15 crock of French mustard I once purchased from a small store in rural Oregon (which I later had to call to ask advice on how to even open). That particular crock of mustard though – it fully ignited my appreciation for the spicy complexity that real mustard has to offer.
As it often goes, I don’t know what took me so long to make it myself. This bone head simple process has been one of my favorite kitchen discoveries in quite a while. So I thought I’d share.
When I decided to make my own, I knew I wanted brown mustard and I knew I wanted to start with whole seed so I could make a stone ground style mustard. Brown mustard seed isn’t available locally, so I ordered a pound of organic seed on Amazon. The price is pretty great, particularly when you consider how much mustard a pound of seed will make (many $15 crocks, ahem).
I read a variety of recipes online, looked at the ingredients of the mustards in our fridge, considered the tastes I have liked most over the years and ended up going with the flow a bit.
I especially liked this article on how to make mustard, where I gained a better overall understanding of the process and the chemical reactions involved.
I opted for a simple mustard with no competing flavors so I could develop my own favorite base. I also decided I wanted to use brown mustard seed only, even though many sources advised against it (“too harsh” some might say). Typically, you will find recipes that combine yellow and brown mustard to balance the spiciness of the brown. I did add a bit of turmeric, just ’cause I felt like it. I like it’s gentle, earthy bitterness.
I have been surprised and delighted by the result. I really had no idea it would have such a bite! Or that I could love mustard even more. If you’ve ever had wasabi, this recipe will bring back all those sensations.
Spicy brown mustard
1/3 cup brown mustard seed, pulsed in a coffee grinder for a few seconds – just enough to break open all the seeds (or to your desired consistency).
1/4 tsp whole brown mustard seed
3 ounces cold water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
a few generous shakes of turmeric (1/4 teaspoon?)
sea salt to taste
After pulsing the seeds, combine them with the whole seed and cold water and let it soak until the water is absorbed. Maybe 15 minutes or so.
Then add the rest of the ingredients, stir it well, cover it, and put it in the fridge until the following day.
Now give it another taste, and adjust the salt if needed. It will have mellowed quite a bit from the day before. At this point I added a small drizzle of maple syrup (I would estimate no more than 1/4 tsp), which I felt would help round out the flavor. I also found it to be a little runnier than I wanted, so I added a couple tablespoons of yellow mustard powder and then blended it all with my immersion blender for a moment to help thicken it up. Next time I will reduce the amount of water by .5 – 1 ounce and pulse half of the seeds to a finer texture at the start. Over the next couple days the mustard will continue to soften and slightly thicken, and the flavor will become fuller.
This is a spicy, sinus tickling mustard, unlike any I have ever purchased in a jar. I love it’s stripped down simplicity, which actually has the most pleasing complexity.
Are you a mustard lover? I’ve found people either love it or don’t care for it much at all. If you’ve made it yourself I’d love to hear any favorite recipes! And if you’re one who’s just not sure about mustard, I encourage you to try it again. Aside from it’s exciting flavors, mustard has so many healing properties and health benefits; containing a number of essential minerals, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, K, cancer fighting properties, respiratory relief, and so many other supportive attributes.
I’m looking forward to experimenting with herbs soon (dill, thyme, rosemary, caraway…), and I’d like to make a Dijon style as well. The possibilities really are endless!