Making Mustard (again)

Our first foray into making mustard took place in early 2012. We were eating a lot of whole grain mustards; we were spending money on mustard; we were really being foolish by not making our own. So we invested. We went to Penzey's Spices and bought a lot of brown mustard seeds and about the same amount of yellow.  And we bought mustard powder, because why the hell not? You have to have a back up plan.

We did research. This is Kristl's area. She read recipes, both online and in fermentation and homesteading books. She selected a fool-proof sounding recipe. (This is usually our strategy, do it the simplest way first, and then make it more complicated once we have the basics down.) We think it was this one. We have nothing against this recipe. We take full responsibility for all that followed.

We soaked the seeds in water. We followed the recipe. But somehow, within 24 hours the seeds started to ferment in a bad way. We think possibly because we covered the soaking seeds with a kitchen towel instead of saran wrap. We had not created mustard, rather we had created a slimy mess and a really bad smell in our kitchen. Mustard fail.

We shelved our mustard dreams for a while. We used our seeds for pickling and the occasional garam masala. It wasn't homemade mustard, but it was ok.

Fast forward to early 2015, and Kristl was reorganizing the kitchen two apartments later. She held up the two, still sizable, portions of mustard seeds, and decided to give it another go. We've been eating pretty wimpy store-bought mustard recently, so I was naturally in support of her efforts. (Although, being the one in charge of cleaning up smelly, slimy messes, I did have some slight misgivings.)

This time we used a modified form of the America's Test Kitchen recipe (see below). Low and behold, everything turned out perfectly. We now have a half pint of delightfully spicy whole grain homemade mustard. You guys, it's really good.

I'm sure you have questions, like, does it have to be spicy? Well, it's probably going to be a bit spicy because whole mustard grains are awesome and spicy that way, but the longer you let it cure, the milder it becomes. Also we made ours without alcohol, so if you use one of those, they typically mitigate the spice a little bit, and add a nice flavor.

Also, you may be concerned with special equipment you might need to make mustard. The recipe calls for chopping up the seeds in a food processor, but we used an immersion blender. To be perfectly honest, we dumped it in the Blendtec first, and that did pretty much nothing because the seeds pooled under the blades. We would need a different size blender jar to fix this. With the immersion blender, we blended the mustard in the same jar we cured it in. Fewer things to clean. I'm all about that.

Ok, here's the recipe, and if you have questions, be sure to comment!

Soak mustard seeds for 24 hours so they blend smoothly

Whole-Grain Mustard adapted from America's Test Kitchen's Made from Scratch

Makes 1 cup, Make today, enjoy in 1-4 days

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar (we like Bragg's)

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds

1/4 cup brown mustard seeds

3/4 cup salt

1. Combine mustard seeds and water in medium bowl. Wrap bowl in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least eight hours or up to 2 days. Do not add hot water or it will break down the mustard and make it less tasty. Do, however, wait until the seeds have absorbed most of the water. It took us about 24 hours

2. Process mustard seeds with salt until coarsely ground and thickened. This will take one to two minutes, and scrape down the sides of the container as needed. The original recipe suggested using a blender for smoother mustard (or a food processor for a more chunky mustard) We tried using our Blendtec and it was a major fail (full disclosure: we don't have a Twister jar and the amount we made was probably too small for our Blendtec Wildside jar). We ended up moving the soaked seeds to a pint-and-a-half Ball jar and going at it with the immersion blender. We chose the immersion blender over the food processor purely because of laziness. You do you, people.

3. Cover the jar the mustard is in with a tight fitting lid (or transfer it to one if you were using the fo-pro method) and let stand at room temperature until it achieves desired spiciness.  This will also take one to two days. (Just blended mustard is very spicy and a little bitter and it needs to cure.) Once you have a mustard flavor you approve of, move it to the fridge and use it as quickly as possible or at least within three months.

Mustard curing so it's not too spicy

We'll be enjoying this mustard for a while, and since it's not season-specific, it's a good project for a cold winter day. So get in the kitchen and start on some mustard. But if you tend to forget things that are just sitting in bowls, set an alarm on your phone. Don't be the next one to clean up a slimy mustard project.

Happy mustard making! Let us know how your mustard turns out or if you've got a good recipe, share it below!