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Mustard

Making mustard isn’t baking, but I’ve just learned how to do it, and it can be used on baked goods, like bread or pork pie. Now I just have to learn to make pork pie.

There are two basic recipes. One uses mustard seeds and mustard powder, and the other just uses mustard powder. The common mustard powder is Colman’s, which is an English product that’s available in many grocery stores in North America.

Colman's mustard powder in the 4-oz tin

Colman's mustard powder in the 4-oz tin

You can put together a small batch of mustard and store it in the refrigerator for a few weeks. If you want it to keep longer than that, or if you want to be able to give it as a handmade gift, you have to can it, which involves having canning jars with proper lids, sterilizing the jars and lids, and heating the mustard to 135℉ before you put it in the sterilized jars. I might actually do this for holiday gifts; we’ll see.

I got my tin of Colman’s at the Harvest Co-op in Central Square, Cambridge, and my mustard seeds (some yellow and some brown) from the bulk jars there. The Colman’s was $7 for 4 ounces, and the mustard seeds were $5.39 a pound or $6.49 a pound, depending on the variety, and I got about half a pound of each, which brings my investment in mustard-only ingredients to about $13. This will make plenty of mustard, but obviously you don’t make your own mustard unless you really love mustard and want to be creative with it.

Mustard seeds and mustard powder

Mustard seeds and mustard powder

I’m pretty much following the recipe from Maggie Oster’s Herbal Vinegar. Here’s her list of ingredients for 2 cups of mustard:

½ cup light or dark mustard seeds
¼ cup dry English mustard
¾ cup herb or other flavored vinegar
⅔ cup water, wine, beer, or fruit juice
¼ cup fresh herbs, minced; or 2 Tablespoons herb seeds, ground
2 Tablespoons honey or 3 Tablespoons white or packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Here’s my list of ingredients, which, except for the mustard ingredients, I already had in my pantry:

1½ oz (¼ cup) yellow mustard seeds
1½ oz (scant ¼ cup) brown mustard seeds (these are smaller than the yellow ones, so they pack tighter)
¾ oz (¼ cup) Colman’s mustard powder
6 oz (¾ cup) white wine vinegar
4¾ oz (⅔ cup) Noilly Prat dry vermouth
2 tsp dried tarragon (the one that keeps coming up in mustard recipes)
1 oz (2 Tbl) clover honey
2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt

Mustard ingredients

Mustard ingredients

Combine the mustard seeds, mustard powder, vinegar, and vermouth in a measuring pitcher or other nonreactive container.

Counterclockwise from top left: mustard powder, brown mustard seeds, yellow mustard seeds

Counterclockwise from top left: mustard powder, brown mustard seeds, yellow mustard seeds

Let the mixture sit for 4 hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally. You can let it sit as little as 2 hours or as long as overnight, if that’s more convenient.

Mustards, vinegar, and vermouth

Mustards, vinegar, and vermouth

Maggie wants you to add the remaining ingredients and process the mixture until it’s the consistency you like. Unfortunately, the seeds just whir around in the liquid and don’t get ground at all. You need to strain off the liquid first. Just pouring off the liquid wasn’t enough:

Most of the liquid poured off

Most of the liquid poured off


I had to pour the mixture through a strainer and then return the seed glop to the workbowl. It took awhile to get the seeds ground into anything resembling paste, but that’s because my food processor’s blade is dull. If you have a good sharp blade, this should take a minute or two. If you want to get a good look at the progress, stop the machine and take off the lid. I made the mistake of lifting the pusher out of the feed tube and looking in through there, and the fumes nearly blinded me.
Mustard seeds ground to a grainy paste

Mustard seeds ground to a grainy paste


When the consistency looks like what you want, add the herbs and salt:
Tarragon and salt added to the mustard paste

Tarragon and salt added to the mustard paste


I stirred the honey into the liquid ingredients and poured that into the workbowl and let ‘er rip. After a few more minutes (less if your blade is sharp), I thought I had mustard.
Decanting the mustard into a glass container

Decanting the mustard into a glass container


This is a little runny. For stiffer mustard, you can use sugar instead of honey, and you can grind the seeds more.

Taste the mustard to see how hot it is; it will be hot. If you like it that hot, put it in a container and store it in the fridge. If you’d like it to mellow a bit, leave the container at room temperature. When the mustard mellows to your preferred level of heat, store it in the fridge. According to a helpful FAQ, once the mustard is chilled, the level of heat is set. Dr. Science is skeptical. I have some mustard that I made in a class and stored in the fridge as soon as I got it home. He proposes to experiment by keeping some in the fridge and some on the counter and tasting them both (at room temperature) at intervals to see if the one on the counter retains its heat or mellows.

This is obviously grainy mustard. If you want smooth mustard, Maggie’s ingredients are:

1 cup dry English mustard
1 cup herb or other flavored vinegar
3 Tbl water, wine, beer, or fruit juice
1/4 cup fresh herbs, minced
2 Tbl honey or 3 Tbl white or packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt

You’ll need a bigger tin of mustard powder, or you’ll have to make a smaller batch. The procedure is the same, except you skip the part about grinding the seeds, obviously.

Reference
Maggie Oster: Herbal Vinegar. Pownal, Vermont: Storey Publishing, 1994, p 113.

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Seeded Multigrain Sourdough

Just for fun, I thought I’d try this Seeded Multigrain Sourdough recipe from Wild Yeast. Well, not entirely for fun, because we tore through that whole wheat loaf and now we need bread. Anyway, I fed the starter this morning, and this afternoon it was ready to go, so I put the dough together around lunchtime, which means I’ve been babysitting this bread for about 9 hours. For the 100 g of seeds I rummaged through my add-ins and pulled out amaranth, flax, poppy, quinoa, and sesame

Normally I would’ve just made one big round loaf. Susan says this should come out to 1 kg of dough (I got 1012 g, close enough) and she wants you to make two loaves, so I figured, why not? Obviously each loaf weighs 506 g (before baking), which means they’re on the small side.

A kilo of seeded multigrain sourdough ready for the oven

A kilo of seeded multigrain sourdough ready for the oven


I’m also not entirely sure they’re done. I didn’t use steam, and I took their temperature (and got 205℉, which is right), but they’re not very brown. Yes, I remembered to add the salt. We’ll see how they taste in the morning.

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Lime Tart with Meringue

My piping skills are rudimentary, but they’ll stay rudimentary if I don’t practice. I’ve seen tarts with meringue done this way, so here’s my stab at it.

Lime tart with meringue

Lime tart with meringue


The crust is Julia’s pâte sablée, as usual, and the curd is the one I usually do except this one uses lime juice instead of lemon. Strangely enough, three egg whites is about twice as much as you need for meringue done this way.

One day I’ll have a proper piping bag and proper piping tips and decent piping skills, and the meringue will look better. And one day I’ll have a blowtorch to cook the meringue with, and the meringue will look even cooler, like this.

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Nellie’s Bread Pudding

While we were waiting for the roly poly to bake, my aunt went through her dessert recipes and pulled out some that she thought I’d like to make. One is this bread pudding that her mother’s cousin Nellie used to make. Nellie was short and slim, but she was no shrinking violet. She never married, but a family friend got her a job in the Department of the Navy, where she worked during World War I. Apparently she was also quite the baker; I’ve been making her white fruitcake every year for several years, and it’s wonderful.

This is another of those recipes that aren’t very detailed because you’re supposed to know what you’re doing. I feel like I have a pretty good grip on most of what I have to do here, but I’m guessing at some of it.

Nellie's Bread Pudding

Nellie's Bread Pudding

Nellie’s Bread Pudding
¾ c bread crumbs
2 C. scalded milk
3 squares choc
2 eggs
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
¼ c cold milk
¾ c sugar

Soak bread crumbs in scalded milk. Add melted choc., beaten eggs, vanilla, milk & sugar. Mix well. Pour in buttered baking dish. Set in pan of hot water. Bake in moderate oven about one hour or until done like custards.

Traditionally, bread pudding is a way of using up stale bread by mixing it with staples in your fridge and pantry. These days, you see recipes that call for cream or half-and-half and all sorts of exotic ingredients. There’s nothing exotic in Nellie’s bread pudding, though, and that’s one of its charms for me.

Nellie didn’t have a food processor, obviously, and mine doesn’t chop worth a hoot (I should get a new blade), so for all intents and purposes, I don’t have one either. I’m not sure how you get bread crumbs without processing stale bread in a food processor. Isn’t that sad? Anyway, I have that Italian bread from the test batch sitting in the freezer, and this is a good way to use up some of that. I trimmed off the crusts and broke it up into the smallest pieces I could, which I hope is good enough.

I’m pretty sure “three squares of chocolate” means three 1-ounce squares of unsweetened baking chocolate.

The bread is soaking in the hot milk; these are the rest of the ingredients.

The bread is soaking in the hot milk; these are the rest of the ingredients.

I’m guessing about the baking dish, but I count about 4 cups of ingredients, so I’m using a ramekin that holds that much. Everything else looks pretty straightforward.

I preheated the oven to 350℉, which is moderate. The terms slow, moderate, and fast refer to how long you can hold our hand in the hot oven; for example, if you have to pull your hand away fast, that’s a fast oven. You can google “moderate oven” (or whatever term you need defined), and there are lots of sites with charts that convert the terms to temperatures.

I brought the milk to the scald (bubbles form around the edge of the saucepan and steam rises from the milk) and dumped in the bread. While that was soaking, I chopped the chocolate and melted it in the microwave. While that was going on, I beat together the other ingredients in a bowl. Then I stirred the melted chocolate into the milk and bread and added the rest of the ingredients and stirred it all until the mixture looked pretty homogeneous. I sprayed the ramekin with baking spray and turned the pudding mixture into the ramekin.

Bread pudding ready to go in the oven

Bread pudding ready to go in the oven

Nellie wants this cooked in a bain marie. I used a roasting pan. I put the filled ramekin in the roasting pan, then I poured in hot water. Possibly I should’ve brought the water to the boil first; I’ll have to check on that. I used 1 quart of water, which I hope is right.

Bread pudding in a bain marie in a moderate oven

Bread pudding in a bain marie in a moderate oven

After an hour, the pudding was done. It looks like hot water in the bain marie was good enough.

Nellie's Bread Pudding

Nellie's Bread Pudding

I wondered if I should unmold it, and possibly I should’ve because it was a little soggy on the bottom.

Small servings of chocolate bread pudding

Small servings of chocolate bread pudding

It’s delicious, though!

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Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough Loaf

Yesterday I made Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread, but I shaped it in a boule instead of baking it in a loaf pan as the recipe instructs. Well, as of 8 am, this is what was left of that loaf:

What's left of yesterday's loaf after 12 hours

What's left of yesterday's loaf after 12 hours

And that’s about the amount of bread I had to eat from that loaf, too, so I guess somebody liked it. That means I need to bake a loaf of sandwich bread, so why not do Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough again but with a seed blend and in a loaf pan? Once again, I’m letting the machine do the work. Here are the seeds:

Seed assortment

Seed assortment

That’s a tablespoon each of poppy, sesame, flax, quinoa, and amaranth, clockwise from the center. One problem with these machines is that the pans tend to leak. We do everything right, too. Anyway, instead of putting in the liquid ingredients first and then the dry ingredients, I have to put in the dry first and then the wet.

Bread pan full of ingredients

Bread pan full of ingredients

That doesn’t affect how the dough turns out, obviously:

Dough at the end of the dough cycle

Dough at the end of the dough cycle

This dough was pretty tacky; the recipe gives a range for the flour (5¼ to 6½ oz), and I used 6 oz, but maybe 6½ oz would be better, and I’ll try that next time. I popped this right in a loaf pan sprayed with olive oil spray (because the fat in this recipe is olive oil):

Dough in the loaf pan

Dough in the loaf pan

And in half an hour, it was pretty clear I needed to get the oven preheated:

Time to preheat the oven

Time to preheat the oven

By the time the oven was preheated (20 minutes later), the dough had really risen:

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

After baking for 25 minutes, the internal temperature was 200℉. I think it should’ve risen more, but the dough was pretty wet. I definitely need to use more flour next time.

Sandwich loaf

Sandwich loaf

The crumb view

The crumb view

Hmmm, smoked turkey and havarti with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise . . .

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Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread

This sourdough bread is sort of cheating because it has commercial (instant) yeast in addition to the sourdough starter. However, it took less than 3 hours start to finish, unlike the 6 to 8 hours it typically takes to produce a loaf of bread just with the starter.

Dad suggested spaghetti, bread, and salad for dinner. By the time I realized I needed to make bread, it was lunchtime, so off I went to my favorite recipe source, King Arthur. Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread looked easy to do, and I especially liked being able to toss everything in the bread machine and let the machine mix, knead, and proof the dough for me. You’re supposed to bake it in a regular loaf pan, but that didn’t seem like a shape that goes with dinner, somehow, so I just made a boule and proofed and baked it in a 24-cm springform pan.

Clay's multi-grain sourdough bread

Clay's multi-grain sourdough bread

The recipe calls for a seed mixture, and I had plenty of seeds but not the patience to pick some out and make up a mixture, so I just tossed in sunflower seeds. I got the dough in the springform pan for the final rise and asked Dad, “If I made bread with sunflower seeds in it, would you eat it?” “Only if there was nothing else,” he said. Oops. When he found out that’s what I was making, he said he’d eat it and pick the seeds out if he had to. As it turns out, 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds isn’t much, and he liked the bread.

Clay's multi-grain sourdough: the crumb view

Clay's multi-grain sourdough: the crumb view

Actually, we all liked the bread, and it looks like I’ll have to make another loaf tomorrow.

This really would make very nice sandwich bread. The crumb is very light and soft. It’s delicious. For the next loaf, I’ll try a mixture of seeds and I’ll bake it in a loaf pan.

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Sourdough Chocolate Cake

I was thinking of making this sourdough chocolate cake for Dad’s birthday, but my cousin has developed an allergy to dairy, and this is full of dairy. However, we’re out of pie, so here’s my opportunity. “Fed” sourdough starter means you feed the starter 8 hours or so before you get started on the cake, and you start the cake about 3 hours before you’re ready to bake, so this requires some planning. The recipe calls for 8½ ounces of sourdough starter, so you need to feed it plenty; I fed mine 4 ounces each of flour and water.

I couldn’t find the camera when I was starting to work on the cake, but the Baking Banter blog entry for this has great photos (and much better than mine would be).

Sourdough chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

Sourdough chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

I didn’t use the mocha frosting, I used cream cheese frosting, which was quick and easy and tasty. Actually, the whole thing is tasty. The cake is very rich and moist but not heavy.

Most of a slice

Most of a slice

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