How to Make Dijon-Style Mustard: Using It as a Blank Canvas for Flavor

Certain types of food are "blank canvas" types of food. What I mean by this is that there are various combinations of flavors you can experiment with. You can use the "recipe" rather as a method instead of a rule. Making your own mustard is one of those foods where infinite possibilities await you if you only start to try. I love a simple dijon-styled mustard for the slight heat and the acidity. But you can totally go your own route. I normally added smoked paprika and thyme in my mustard, as with the first series of photographs, but my current "recipe" is very straightforward. I like to use this plain mustard then as a blank canvas on which I can add extra flavors. One such application is in smash burgers. I always add a healthy amount of mustard with some mayo. I add smoked paprika and some garlic powder. It is the best sauce for a smash burger.

The first couple of photographs simply tells the story of mustard from plant to seed. I like to grow my own mustard because I eat the leaves in salads. But you can buy the seeds in bulk and store them away. The first couple of photographs are also some of my first photographs I published on Hive! So please enjoy this very simple method of making dijon-style mustard.

From Seed to Condiment

As small as the mustard seed is, the punch it delivers in flavor is unmatched. See the photographs of how I documented the stages, from seed to condiment.

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The Simple Process: Recipe/Method

I rely on Chef John's method from YouTube to make my own mustard. As noted above, there are infinitely many ways you can tweak this recipe/method to your liking. I added thyme and smoked paprika to my first batches, but since then I opted for the plane and simple version. In any case, here is the ingredients and the method:

  • Yellow mustard seeds
  • Brown mustard seeds
  • Mustard powder
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Vinegar
  • White wine
  • Flavorings

The method comprises five steps: (1) Mix, (2) wait, (3) blend, (4) cook, and (5) wait. I will show these steps in more detail with some photographs.

(1) Mix

In the first step you want to do two things:

  • (i) make the acidic onion liquid
  • (ii) mix the seeds and powdered spices.

Cut some onions and garlic, boil them very lightly in some white wine, vinegar, and water for 15 minutes. Let this cool down to room temperature.

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Strain the liquid and then mix this with your mustard seeds, powdered spices and salt.

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(2) Wait

Leave this mix for two to three days. All of the liquid will get absorbed by the seeds and powders.

(3) Blend

When the two or three days are over, blend until it is the thickness and smoothness you desire. You can also opt to leave this step out if you prefer whole grain mustard. I like a mix between the two.

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(4) Cook

If you blend or if you do not blend, you then have to cook the mustard. Cook the mustard for about 20 minutes on a very low setting. Constantly stir because it might bubble up and this will hurt you (because it is hot!). I also added a video of how I stir the mustard whilst it was cooking.

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You can also at this stage before bottling, strain the mustard to make a smooth mustard. I did this just to show how it will look. I normally do not strain the mustard.

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(5) Wait

Then you need to wait again. I think after a week or two the mustard will be good, but waiting longer will only improve the taste. My previous batch lasted for longer than a year and the taste was intense but so good.

Using the Mustard as a Blank Canvas

I normally mix the mustard into some mayo for the perfect smash burger sauce.

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But one of the most useful ways to use mustard is as an emulsifier. Making a salad dressing, you can add a vinegar and oil, but these will not stay combined. Using a little bit of mustard, you can emulsify the salad dressing into a homogenized dressing. You can also use this to make hollandaise sauce for some poached eggs. In any case, I really hope you give this a try!

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