I’m a huge fan of smoked flavors in food. The flavors of smoke, that primal aroma, when we used to cook over fire. As most cooking is cooked in a modern kitchen, we lose that aroma and flavor of smoke in our food. In the world of beer, a Rauchbier is a German dark larger brewed with smoked malts. This beer style is a dream to drink, pair with and use in the beer kitchen. So this was where I got to thinking about cooking with beer and using a Smoked German Lager as an ingredient to add it’s nostalgic smoky flavor to food, without having to light a fire. This homemade beer mustard recipe incorporates the flavors of sweet caramelized onions, the smokiness along with a wonderful complex malt profile found in a Rauchbier combined with the astringency found in mustard. As you can’t buy a Rauchbier Onion Mustard, I wanted to share this delicious recipe with you.
When thinking about German Beer Cuisine, there are pantry staples one should have on hand. Malt vinegar, caraway seed, flour and eggs (for Spätzle | Spaetzle), mustard, a selection of different salt sizes, just to name a few items. Mustard is such a multipurpose ingredient. Mustard, made with beer or not, can be used as a dip, think pretzels, served alongside a sausage or braised meat, as a condiment on a sandwich | hot dog, used to make a salad dressing or a sauce for an entrée.
Texture: Making Beer Mustard
Making homemade beer mustard is easy and will leave you pondering why you didn’t make your own earlier! A few key ingredients that a mustard chef should have are a good mustard powder (mustard seeds ground into a powder) and mustard seeds. Depending on the style and type of mustard you want to make, here are a few things to think about when buying your mustard making ingredients. Mustard seeds come in a few different colors. There are yellow mustard seeds and brown mustard seeds. Using whole mustard seeds, will make your mustard more grainy and add that pop in texture, as many commercially made mustards have, requires you to soak the seeds in a liquid. That liquid can be water | beer | wine | spirits | vinegar. It re-hydrates the mustard seed, makes them plump and able to chew. They can be mixed in at the end of the mustard making process to keep their whole texture or added to the beginning of a recipe. As the seeds are soft, they will grind into a paste, adding more texture and girth to the final condiment. The mustard seed can be ground fine, without soaking, into a fine powder, making it very easy to add a liquid and some seasoning, to make a quick mustard from scratch. This approach makes a very smooth mustard. Mustard powder and seeds are used together int this recipe, to get the flavor, texture and desired elements into a final beer mustard.
Mustard has a unique enzyme called myrosinase. This is what causes mustard to be ‘hot’ ‘pungent’ and have that heat. Sinigrin is one of the compounds found in mustard seed. When the seeds are crushed, sinigrin is releases and when mixed with a cold liquid, myrosinase is activated. This is important to understand the food science of mustard making, as this enzyme peaks around 15 minutes after a cold liquid is mixed into it. If you are making a batch of mustard and want it hot and assertive, than eat it right away. If you like your mustard more tame, then make it ahead, as the longer it sits (preferably refrigerated), the more mellow it will become. Another option is to cook the mustard, heating up the liquid, that will de-nature the myrosinase enzyme, dropping the intensity of the finished mustard.
Another trick I’ve learned is what type of mustard seed | powder you are using and what end result you are looking for in your beer mustard. Savory Spice Co. makes a Mild Mustard Powder, that has less heat than a standard or regular Yellow Mustard Powder. Where the mustard seeds are grown, the climate, soil and type of seeds the mustard is grown are all factors in how hot or tame your mustard will be. As mentioned above, if the mustard is cooked, will also help reduce the heat.
Makes: 18 ounces of Rauchbier Onion Mustard
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