Put a Little Mustard on that Mustard

Crafting a delicious homemade mustard is marginally more involved than making pancakes from store-bought mix (if you must). The basic ingredients are simple - mustard seed and cool liquid. What you do with it after that is really up to your personal preference. But we'll get to modifications in a minute.

To make a basic, go-to mustard for service atop some toothsome encased meats, roasts, chicken, chops, in marinades, vinaigrettes, or in sauces, I use brown Canadian mustard seeds from a local spice purveyor. I'd suggest buying bags of seed instead of spice bottles because you're going to go through 5-10 oz of seed depending on how much mustard you're interested in making.

To make this mustard, you will need the following:

3/4 cup brown mustard seeds (about 5 oz by weight)
1/2 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground allspice

plus 6 oz of beer, your preference (I've used this and this with equal success, but something lighter would work, too. I'd stick to maltier beers, though.)

Combine the dry ingredients in a ceramic or glass bowl (metal is reactive, and plastic is gross). Pour the beer over the spices slowly, then stir with a whisk just enough to make sure you don't have any dry pockets or clumps. Let the mixture stand for about ten minutes, then add the vinegar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit out on the counter, at room temperature, for a couple of days. You're going to be looking for the liquid to soften the mustard seeds. Don't worry about the foam.

Drink the remaining beer in the bottle. Have another, just in case.

After a couple days have passed and your mustard seeds have softened, place the contents of the bowl into a food processor and blitz it, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure an even finished product. Once the mixture has emulsified however long you process it will depend on how grainy or smooth you want the final product.

That's it. You have mustard. You're not going to want to eat it right away - it'll taste a little bitter. Give it a day or two. A note to meat and anyone else who wants to use it right away: it will be very potent, so go easy on slathering it on a roast until you've sampled it on a brat or sandwich first. I'm serious, you'll rediscover your nostril hairs the first couple days you try it. Over time the mustard will mellow and the flavors will change, with different notes coming out as it ages. It will keep in the fridge for at least six months (mine has lasted a year, but use your judgment). Store it in a glass container to prevent any contamination from plastic.

Now, additions. What I'd suggest is setting aside a little of your larger batch for experimentation. Or double this recipe, which is what I do. You can add just about anything to mustard. Germans like to make a sweet mustard with sugar (brown sugar is especially delicious). Obviously you know about honey mustard. Italians like to put fruit preserves in their mustard, which would be luscious as a marinade on pork (ahem). Adding turmeric will turn your mustard yellow. Herbs are fair game, as are chiles or horseradish if you need more heat. Cut back on the regular vinegar in favor of some balsamic if you'd like a little extra depth and sweetness. The combinations are legion.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go slather some on bread with liverwurst.

33 thoughts on “Put a Little Mustard on that Mustard”

  1. Now, that's what I'm talking about. Compliments on the Condiments.

    I'm thinking real hard about trying this over the weekend.

  2. While I've never attempted home made mustard, I'm happy to see, before I give it a try, that I've got part of the process mastered:

    Drink the remaining beer in the bottle. Have another, just in case.

    I think I'll try to get some seeds and give it a go with my brown ale before I drink it all. Maybe make a spicy brown ale mustard.

  3. ch, where do you get your seeds from? I'd like to head over and pick some up this week. My first thought was Penzey's, but the Mustard Museum was another.

    1. Yup, Penzey's is where I get them. The Mustard Museum might have them; I've actually never been there, so I couldn't say for sure. Heading over there is probably the next step in raising my mustard game.

      1. I swung by the museum at lunch because its much closer than Penzey's and cheaper. I got 24 ounces of brown (they have yellow, too) for $5.50, although thats the only amount they sell. I recommend swinging by on a Tuesday, then walking over to the Village Green for sloppy joes.

        1. My barber's out that way, so I might just be able to make that happen on a Tuesday. You did well - a 1 lb. bag at Penzey's runs $4.80. You're going to have enough there for two full batches, plus a little more.

          1. If you go around lunch time, let me know. I'd be happy to head over there since its only about a mile away from me and I haven't been there on a Tuesday in ages.

  4. Excellent stuff, CH. The recipe that calls for mustard is a ways off in the pork series, which should give me time to make the mustard and let it mellow.

      1. I regularly mix mustard into my bbq sauce for pulled pork sandwhiches and bbq chicken and the like. I also mixed some dijon into a home made bbq sauce a while back that turned out really well. I'll have to make another batch using this home made stuff.

          1. I'm not entirely sure what you'd call it. I made this recipe. I added a bit less molasses than it calls for, and it was still had a really strong molasses flavor. But the dijon helped balance that out some.

    1. look for an Indian (subcontinent) grocery/market. Big-@ss bags of spices for cheap. That's where I get mine.

      this looks like a possible in Eagan.

  5. Awesome post. We've been talking about making mustard at our house all summer although I will have to sub out the beer.

    1. Water will work just fine, I think. You could try a little less red wine vinegar in favor of a sherry or balsamic vinegar for a more complex flavor.

  6. Well, I got mine going. Hopefully it'll taste good. ch, we should run a side by side comparison of our to see what the different beers do.

      1. Hmm, good point. Is there a particular length of melding time when the results don't change much? Say, something like the mustard after 2 months taste very similar to the mustard after 3?

  7. mustard seed slurry now chillin' on the kitchen counter. this will probably turn out to be, uh, interesting...

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