In search of more sweetness and heat leads quest to make the perfect homemade mustards

  • Mauer Mustard is great on a classic hot dog.

    Mauer Mustard is great on a classic hot dog. Courtesy of Don Mauer

  • Mauer's Sweet Heat Mustard

    Mauer's Sweet Heat Mustard Courtesy of Don Mauer

Updated 8/14/2019 6:27 AM

Why would anyone make mustard at home with the gazillion mustards available on supermarket shelves?

If you love mustard's flavors as much as I do, you'd at least consider the possibility of making a unique and personal mustard in your kitchen. I mean, how would anyone ever make a top-notch vinaigrette or a quality hot dog without mustard?


Over thirty years ago, my first homemade mustard began with a recipe from a close friend for sweet and hot Asian mustard. Her issue, as was mine at the time was no supermarket mustards matched the heat and the sweetness of that mustard. Mainly, that mustard was make-it-from-scratch, or forget it.

Over the decades, the size of supermarkets' mustard sections has grown with individual mustards, including ones that are certified organic. No doubt, there are many good mustards available.

For me, with local ingredients, I can create a Mauer mustard that has a unique flavor profile. For example, my Asian mustard uses egg yolks for thickening, and today, I can easily find organic eggs. Also, I get ingredients from Penzeys's or The Spice House; both are excellent.

I never make mustard with tap water; only bottled spring water delivers a good, neutral, no-chlorine flavor.

My sweet heat mustard isn't the same one with which I started. Today, I'll frequently substitute organic stevia for the sugar. The most significant change I made with that mustard, though, is using dried, ground horseradish.

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Years ago, when strolling through an herb and spice catalog, I spotted Horseradish Powder. Horseradish is one of my favorite flavors. Yes, horseradish's heat is a sinus clearer; but, it's worth it.

I added Horseradish Powder to my sweet heat mustard and, "Wow" what a positive difference it made. I could taste it, and it made my mustard's flavor profile more complex.

My mustard starts out tasting the sweet first, then the heat ramps up, and the horseradish kicks in. Then, quickly, all the heat goes away, sort of like a thrill-ride. There are no commercial mustards available that come close to mine, that's why I must make it from scratch.

Just like you, I've been buying my yellow (or prepared, or ballpark) mustard from my supermarket forever. That is until I found a recipe that seemed like it would be a good homemade version. The recipe originated with Arizona Chef Erin Coopey and appeared in Leite's Culinaria (


I made several substitutions, like spring water for just water and bumped-up some of the seasonings. The first time I made it, I whisked all the ingredients together, including the vinegar and proceeded to low-simmer it for nearly 45 minutes. Then I realized that everything BUT the vinegar was supposed to be simmered-down and the vinegar added at the end.

What difference could that make? It turns out to make a BIG difference. For my next run at it, I used freshly-purchased ground mustard (I'd run out after making the first batch) and followed the correct recipe path to the end. It turned out great with a touch more heat than commercial yellow mustard. It's sensational on hot dogs.

Try them both and see what you think.

• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at don@

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