Time was when mustard was relegated for use on hotdogs only and the condiment was sold only in yellow plastic squeeze bottles. To borrow an old phrase, mustard has come a long way, baby. Today, mustard is sold in a variety of containers types and textures, and the yellow condiment can hold it’s own on everything from a sandwich to a gourmet recipe.
The most well-known variety, American yellow mustard is made from white mustard seeds ground to a smooth and creamy consistency. The yellow coloring comes from the addition of turmeric.
Dijon used to be the mustard for the upper crust of society (remember the commercial: Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon mustard?) and American yellow mustard was used by the working class. Dijon is just a general term for French-style mustard and it’s flavor can be enjoyed by all economic classes. Dijon is made with ground brown mustard seeds, white wine, seasonings and an unfermented grape juice called ‘must’.
French-style Dijon is slightly darker than American yellow mustard, and has a smooth texture with a sharp taste.
Most spicy brown mustards are made German-style, meaning the spicy browns contain both white and brown mustard seeds, which have been ground smooth. Browns also contain the German touch of added sugar for a spicy and sweet flavor. The spicy flavor can range from mild to extremely hot, depending on the spices used during processing.
Grainy and Mild
Grainy mustard is made from a blend of crushed and whole mustard seeds. The coarse textured condiment usually has a mild, somewhat sweet flavor. Grainy mustard is typically used to coat meats when cooking, but some people like the added texture on a cold cut sandwich.
Powdered mustard is simple finely ground mustard seeds with no additives. The powder can be added to a variety of cooked recipes to give a little heat to the dish, or use the powder to mix up your own mustard flavor. Use two-parts powdered mustard and one-part vinegar, water or wine to make a paste, then add desired seasonings.
Use Right Type
Mustard can vary greatly in flavor and degree of heat, substituting one type for another can cause a cooked recipe or vinaigrette to turn out with an undesirable flavor. Stick with the type of mustard the recipe calls for and use the condiment sparingly because of its strong flavor. More can be added at the table if desired.
The New York Times