Temperamental Disposition - Homemade Honey Mustard

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

-Sarcasm: The primary building block of society. Mustard: possibly a distant second?-

“What are you –“

“Doing?” I cut Fiancé off before he could finish his sentence. “Mortar and pestling mustard seeds in my molcajete that actually has more uses than that of a decorative book end.”

“I was going to say ‘stupid,’ but okay, that explains things too. So why aren’t you using the food processor to grind them up?”

“Shut up. I tried that and the blades sit too high to pulverize the seeds and for some godforsaken reason that I cannot fathom I actually don’t own a spice slash coffee grinder to do this. So,” pause to slam in a few more pounds with the pestle against the crack of the tiny black balls, “molcajete.”


It was one of those projects I was for some reason suddenly obsessed with. You know how it is. Some random little idea for a recipe, activity, or whathaveyou finagles its way into your brain and without warning you're buried deep in every book about the subject and performing strange experiments in your kitchen.

Out of nowhere last week I was overcome with the urge to make homemade mustard. Not that mustard is my favorite ingredient and slather it on everything I eat. I mean, I like it and I go through a fair share of Dijon. At least, as much as any other average person. Yet here I was in my newly tiled kitchen with polished gas range and any number of fancy bits of equipment beating mustard seeds with a rock like some kind of culinary savage.

-The inhumanity of it all!-

Why I let these urges take control of me I will never know.

Oh wait. I do. Because it’s fun.

Mostly. Fiance just sort of sighed as I threw my head in the sink after a cracked mustard seed in a fit of suicidal vengeance leaped out of the bowl and into my eye.

Eye damage set aside as well as a rather course sermon of swearing at whatever gods for making me their gustatory-inclined piñata for their amusement (or something like that) I went back to work. As Fiancé retired to the other room to meld with the Playstation I began to do my measurements. A bit of cold white wine, some cider vinegar, an egregious amount of Israeli honey sent to me by a friend, and some salt all got stirred together in a bowl with the now properly pulverized mustard seeds and a robust cup full of dry yellow mustard powder.

A quick stir and there you have it. Mustard. Spreadable. Textural. Engaging and surely some of the best ever made.

I took a fingerful and popped it in my mouth.

Lord, have you ever winced so hard you actually feel a blood vessel in your eye pop? Not fun. This stuff was foul. I mean, horribly foul. Like concentrated horseradish that was marinated in the undying hate of Hitler, Karl Marx, massacred ghostly orphans, and whoever gave the go for the second Knight Rider series.

-Especially that last guy.-

So I went and gave some to Fiancé because I decided watching his reaction would be hilarious since he was being a butthead earlier.

I told him to try it and he, of course, did because most of what I make is awesome so why would he ever think that I would trick him when it came to food? The result? Well, I assume this would be the same sort of face one would make if one was having their soul ripped out of their anus with an industrial winch.

“Did you make it right?” he asked, perturbed. He stared at the jar of course mustard like it might pull a knife on him.

“I did. I’m looking it up now on Hank’s site. Yes. See. Mustard seeds, six tablespoons. Blah blah honey. Yes. Yeah. I made it all right. Correct amount of vinegar. This is perfectly – oh wait. Yep. I goofed. It says let it marinate a day or two to let the bitterness die down a bit. My bad,” I shrugged.

Lesson learned. When it comes to mustard and other condiments read all the directions. Twice. Just to make sure.

Given the prescribed day or two mustard remains exceptionally pungent, but calm enough to be enjoyably so. It’s piquant and sharp, with plenty of honey to sweeten it’s rather temperamental disposition.

If you haven't hopped on the homemade mustard bandwagon I suggest you do so. It's quaint, charming, and can be rather hilarious on the maker's part.

Homemade Honey Mustard
Recipe adapted from the brilliant Hank Shaw

6 tablespoons black or brown mustard seeds
1/2 cup mustard powder
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup cold white wine
1/4 cup cold water
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 tablespoons honey

Crush the mustard seeds with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Don't blitz them to powder, just break them up. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl (for a less spicy mustard use warm water). Place in an airtight jar in the fridge and allow the mustard to sit for a day or two to mellow out a bit. Keeps for a year in the fridge.


  1. Safety glasses. Wear them....

    (Because suicidal mustard seeds in your eye is no fun at all....)

  2. I love homemade mustard! If you want to tame the bite a bit, you can cook it gently a while (stirring attentively, maybe adding a tad of water to maintain consistency). Taste frequently to make sure you catch it at the right point. Don't overdo it, or it will lose its pizazz. You can also jar it and boiling-water-bath it and it'll keep just about forever, but it does lose a little something after so much heat exposure.

  3. I always make my own English mustard, like it says on the box of mustard powder.. with water, and I add a dash of vinegar and garlic powder. Yet, frustratingly, it never tastes quite as good - and nose-tinglingly kickingly pungent (if you've ever eaten a large amount of pure english mustard, you'll know the feeling I mean..) ..as shop bought. Now, home-made MUST be better than store-bought! After all, it's made with love! I may need to try this recipe.. It looks as though it could take my mass-produced Colmanns in a fight!

  4. That looks delicious. If your molcahete gets to be too tedious, I have a coffee grinder I bought specifically to grind herbs and spices. It works like a dream. Of course, you don't want to then grind coffee in it. *gag*

  5. Embersmom: No kidding.

    Joanna: I may actually try heating the cider a bit to test mellowing a bit. I like spicy but not everyone does.

    Hannah; Any day.

    Sporkgasm: I assume it might just be smart to have two grinders for that exact reason.

  6. Garrett, you channeled me. This was already on my todo list....

  7. Despite what kitchen appliances you have or do not have, it is sometimes quite a jolly adventure to make a recipe without your modern conveniences. Just because you can. Now, I've gotten in trouble for doing things "Just because I can" but in the kitchen, even if it leads to your incredibly described winces, i find it is usually worth it, for the excitement and the charm. Great post as usual and the mustard looks splendid.

  8. I made this recipe (with extra honey) for New Year's Eve, and even after more than a week's worth of fridge fermentation it was STILL too spicy for most of the party guests. What is wrong with them??

    Also, glad you're getting some use out of that molcajete!

  9. I am particularly fond of beer-thyme mustard. I mean, beer and mustard? Two great things that taste great together. I avoid any potential blinding hazard by soaking the mustard seeds in the liquid ingredients for a day, then dump the lot in a food processor. When the mustard seeds have been soaked, they no longer behave like little ball bearings when you're trying to process them. You may need to add a little more liquid to thin the final product down, but this works like a charm.

  10. If you want it to be less zingy, use warm, or even slightly hot water. But I like it hot, so I use cold water.

  11. Do you think it could possibly be the mustard powder that is spicing things up? I made mustard with my kids this summer and we used solely seeds to make our batches, no powder. Who knows. I LOVE LOVE the idea of using white wine or beer to soak the seeds.

  12. I constantly have urges to cook things that I cannot control. These urges are only fulfilled when the last spoonful of obsession is ladled into containers or shovelled into mouths. I truly had to laugh a gut wrenching laugh at the thought of a suicidal seeds ripping your eye out, and your poor boy tasting that nasty mustard paste.


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