Mustard requires no cooking (in fact, heating the ingredients ruins the flavor) and barely any mixing; very little technique is needed to make pretty good mustard. At most, mustard-making requires a bit of creativity. As long as you stick to a general formula, you can go crazy with mustard flavorings. You can add whatever kind of spices, herbs, and liquid flavorings your mind can conceive of (that you think would be tasty, of course!).
I have two kinds of spice drawers at home. I have an “American” spice drawer and an “Other” spice drawer. The “Other” is the funnest to play around with because it has random ingredients that I randomly bought at an ethnic grocery store because I thought they’d be neat to try out. The dried guajillo chile is one of these ingredients. It’s earthy and has a chocolate-y musk. It’s also not super spicy, especially after it’s been tempered by vinegar and mustard seeds (but always, always wash your hands after handling any dried chiles—and even after you wash, avoid touching your eyes for a while—trust me, I learned this the hard way.)
Beer also seemed like a natural fit for the mustard and gives it a yeasty aroma. German. Beer. Mustard. Guajillo chile! Mexico. (Haha, yay for fusion!)
A general rule of thumb is to have a 1 to 1 ratio of mustard seeds to liquid, by volume. Depending on how acidic you want your mustard, the vinegar component can run from 1/4 to 3/4 the volume of mustard. For those of you who are die-hard recipe-followers, I highly recommend putting on your creativity hat and trying your hand at some food improvisation with mustard. It’s low-cost and low-risk. Even if you mess up, your “mistake” will be totally edible, if not totally fixable with post-processing adjustments.
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup beer (I used a pumpkin ale)
- 1 dried guajillo chile
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- Mix together vinegar, beer, salt, and sugar.
- Tear up the guajillo chile with your fingers and add it, seeds and all, to the liquid along with the mustard seeds. (Wash your hands thoroughly after you handle the chile!)
- Let the mixture sit at room temperature, covered, until the seeds expand and absorb most of the liquid (4-8 hours).
- Add the concoction, liquid and all, to the food processor and processor until it reaches your desired consistency (5-7 short pulses will create a chunky mustard).
- Let the mustard ferment at room temperature for up to three days. It will become spicier the longer you leave it out. Refrigerate after that. The mustard will last in the fridge for up to a month.
this is the mustard concoction before it really got to soak up the liquids.
This is a guajillo chile. Here’s a little more information about it on Wikipedia.
Here’s the mustard after it’s absorbed the liquid! Cool, huh? Science-y! After this, it’s a quick whiz in the food processor, and it’s done.
I probably don’t need to tell you what to use mustard for. You can put it on your burgers and dogs. You can put it on your turkey sandwiches. My favorite way to eat it is very simple. I just like to slice up a brats or a kielbasa, smear a lot of mustard over the pieces, and eat them with any kind of pickle.