The Prepared Mustards of Commerce

The mustard, i. e., the flower or powdered seed, used in preparing the different condiments, is derived from three varieties of Brassica (CrvciferŠ)—Brassica alba L., Brassica nigra, and Brassica juncea. The first yields the "white" seed of commerce, which produces a mild mustard; the second the "black" seed, yielding the more pungent powder; and the latter a very pungent and oily mustard, much employed by Russians. The pungency of the condiment is also affected by the method of preparing the paste, excessive heat destroying the sharpness completely. The pungency is further controlled and tempered, in the cold processes, by the addition of wheat or rye flour, which also has the advantage of serving as a binder of the mustard. The mustard flour is prepared by first decorticating the seed, then grinding to a fine powder, the expression of the fixed oil from which completes the process. This oil, unlike the volatile, is of a mild, pleasant taste, and of a greenish color, which, it is said, makes it valuable in the sophistication and imitation of "olive" oils, refined, cottonseed, or peanut oil being thus converted into huile vierge de Lucca, Florence or some other noted brand of olive oil. It is also extensively used for illuminating purposes, especially in southern Russia.

The flavors, other than that of the mustard itself, of the various preparations are imparted by the judicious use of spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pimento, etc. aromatic herbs, such as thyme, sage, chervil, parsley, mint, marjoram, tarragon, etc., and finally chives, onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, etc.

In preparing the mustards on a large scale, the mustard flower and wheat or rye flour are mixed and ground to a smooth paste with vinegar, must (unfermented grape juice), wine, or what-. ever is used in the preparation, a mill similar to a drug or paint mill being used for the purpose. This dough immediately becomes spongy, and in this condition, technically called "cake," is used as the basis of the various mustards of commerce.

Mustard Cakes

In the mixture, the amount of flour used depends on the pungency of the mustard flower, and the flavor desired to be imparted to the finished product. The cakes are broadly divided into the yellow and the brown. A general formula for the yellow cake is:

Yellow mustard, from 20 to 30 per cent; salt, from 1 to 3 per cent; spices, from 1/2 to 3/4 of 1 per cent; wheat flour, from 8 to 12 per cent.

Vinegar, must, or wine, complete the mixture.

The brown cake is made with black mustard, and contains about the following proportions:

Black mustard, from 20 to 30 per cent; salt, from 1 to 3 per cent; spices, from 0.25 to 0.5 of 1 per cent; wheat or rye flour, from 10 to 15 per cent.

The variations are so wide, however, that it is impossible to give exact proportions. In the manufacture of table mustards, in fact, as in every other kind of manufacture, excellence is attained only by practice and the exercise of sound judgment and taste by the manufacturer.