Updated: Oct 18, 2019
It was Jean Naigeon, a Dijon’s craftsman, who in the year 1752, substituted verjus for vinegar in his mustard recipe (verjus is the juice of unripe wine grapes). This recipe made the fame of Dijon mustard.
Dijon mustard is basically made with brown mustard seeds ( Brassica juncea ) and verjus (salt, pepper).
Besides these basic ingredients, every brand add's his own secret spice blend
Certain additions like water, wine, vinegar, oil, spices and other ingredients are allowed as defined in the Decree n° 2000-658 relative to A.O.C (Dijon) mustards.
Mustard seeds immersed in verjus (vinegar, white wine for other mustards) ferment over time. The mustard seed contains sinigrinase which, hydrolysed in contact with the liquid by an enzyme (myrosynase), produces the essential oils which gives the mustard the strong spicy taste. This is synaptic fermentation
French mustard manufacturers don’t use the real verjus any-more and use automated synthetic millstones (little elevation of temperature) to produce mustard; as the essential oils are very volatile and sensible to heat
Enough talking, let's get the job done!
200gr brown mustard seeds(Brassica juncea), 250gr of Verjus, 1 garlic clove, a few sprigs of thyme, 1 bay leave, ½ a nutmeg, 3 cloves, 3 to 4 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1 tsp green peppercorns (optional)
Note: I used black mustard seeds (brassica nigra) in this recipe, it has a more intense flavour.
Take a large bowl; add a crushed garlic clove, one or two bay leaves and a few sprigs of thyme.
Add 200gr muster seeds to the bowl and pour the 250gr of verjus. If you don’t have verjus you can replace this with 125gr cider vinegar and 125gr white wine.
Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. You can also leave it for a longer period from 48 hours to 2 weeks for more authentic mustard.
Discard the garlic, bay leaves and thyme from the marinated mustard seeds and add the spices, 1 tsp of salt and the 4 tbsp olive oil. You can add ½ a tbsp of turmeric if you want a more yellow colour.
The best way to produce the mustard is to use your mortar and pestle; the mustard stays on a cool temperature and becomes creamy. If you decide to go the easy way using a blender, you probably need to add a small amount of flour or starch which avoids the mustard becoming to liquid and you have to avoid elevation of temperature!
Work with small amounts in the mortar and do this over again until you find a nice creamy consistency. The more you ground the better it gets!
If you don’t like the ancient style mustard, use a fine strain to filter the paste from the seed residues.
You can preserve the mustard in your refrigerator for months; it becomes even tastier in time!