I guess you could say I’ve been a fan of mustard for a long time. I have always loved all the different styles and variations, and often times the refrigerator had two or three (or more) jars of it at any given time. But a couple of years ago I discovered the joys of homemade mustard. Since then I’ve been making it myself, and now I rarely buy mustard anymore. It’s so simple to do, and economical, that today I want to share how to make your very own whole-grain mustard.
By definition, a whole-grain mustard is one where the seeds are visible, with some perhaps left whole. In other words, if it were a peanut butter, it would be the chunky style! A basic mustard needs only two ingredients: mustard seeds and a liquid. The mustard seeds can be yellow, brown or both, and can be whole or ground.
Yellow seeds (Brassica hirta or B. alba, aka White Mustard) are the mildest tasting ones and used in many American-style prepared mustards. Brown seeds (B. juncea) are more pungent and are popular in European-style mustards. There is also a black mustard seed (B. nigra) that is even more potent than the brown seed, and is usually used whole in Indian cooking. You can often find whole mustard seeds in ethnic grocery stores, or in spice shops. Penzeys Spices has them, and if you aren’t lucky enough to have one of their stores in your area you can also order from them online.
The liquid used can be anything from water or vinegar to beer or wine. Water tends to make a hotter finished product, while acidic liquids like vinegar and wine tend to mellow the heat as well as add some flavor. Aging the mustard also help to mellow the flavor. Beyond the basic ingredients, sugar, honey and numerous spices can be also be added to make it your very own one-of-a-kind mustard. And that’s part of the fun of making it yourself – trying out all those variations!
I’ve made several different batches of this Whole-Grain Mustard. Today I’ll share two slightly different variations, and hopefully that will give you the basics for coming up with your own version. The first step in both is to soak the seeds in liquid overnight or at least for 8 hours. That softens up the seeds and makes them easier to process.
After soaking, you can use either a food processor or blender to grind up the seeds. I find that the food processor makes for a grainier product, while the blender grinds the seeds to a finer consistency. It all depend on your own preference. You might make one batch each way and decide which way your prefer. I like it both ways! A stick blender also works well for this recipe, and I think it makes for easy cleanup.
The final thing you need to do is age the mustard. Right after processing, it will still be rather harsh and bitter tasting, but aging will mellow it considerably and allow the flavors to meld together. Mustards that are made with whole seeds instead of powder are milder to start with, so age this whole-grain mustard for a few days at room temperature or slightly cooler. If you like your mustard hot, it may be ready in a matter of hours. Taste occasionally, and refrigerate when it has reached the desired level of pungency. Homemade mustard also makes a great gift, so have some fun and experiment with your own mustard creations.
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