Spicy Maple Lacto-Mustard. Say What?

It’s barbecue season in this hemisphere, so prepare yourselves for a few of my favorite barbecue-related condiments.  I preconceive and then understand your skepticism.  Why?  Seriously, why would you need to make your mustard probiotic?  And the answer is, you don’t need to.  But if you are the type to make your own mustard or have been wanting to try it, then this is a simple and easy recipe to start with, and the culturing process is simple and short (at least from a fermenter’s point of view), so why not make it probiotic, really?  I found a beer mustard recipe a few years back and it’s been homemade mustard all around since then.  It’s easy, cheap and a batch that takes 10 minutes or less to make can last you months or more.  If I’m being honest, this stuff doesn’t usually last for months around here.  My husband and I tend to devour this version.  It just tastes too good!

Pretzel and mustard

Perfect Pennsylvania Companions

Most of you seasoned fermenters out there will know Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions.  It’s clear to me that the companies freaking out about their whey disposal from greek yogurt straining have failed to read this book.*  Ms. Fallon uses whey in everything she ferments!  For me, it’s a bit much, but that doesn’t take away from the  fun of the book, or the enormous number of fantastic recipes that are in it.  Of course, you certainly do not need whey to kickstart fermentation, but in some things, it is helpful, and I think this mustard falls into that camp.  I actually did a version with rejuvelac, after my recent, borrowed discovery that it makes a great culturing liquid.  Both turned out great, so I feel like I’ll be using them interchangeably in the future, depending on whether I’m more in cheese-making or grain-sprouting mode.

Mustard on pretzel pieces

I live in Philly.  I’m not going to not use pretzels in a mustard post.


Yield about 1 cup

Adapted from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions

A few notes:  you can adjust the heat here by using different kinds of mustard seeds.  The yellow guys are hot, but black/brown guys are not.  If you don’t like it spicy, just adjust to your preferences.

Also on the mustard, as with other lacto-fermented foods, the sugars (maple syrup, in this case) get consumed during fermentation, so the older the mustard gets, the less sweet and more acidic it will be.  You should still get a little maple flavor, though.

Finally,  you can choose to buy prepared (powdered) mustard or make mustard powder yourself with a spice grinder.  I make my own, so if you’re buying powder, focus on the yield amounts, in the recipe.


  • (optional) Spice grinder or spare coffee grinder (unless you like mustard flavored coffee, don’t use your normal coffee grinder!)
  • Food processor


  • Scant 2/3 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • Scant 1/3 cup brown or black mustard seeds

OR (not both)

  • (optional) Sub the above two ingredients for 3/4 cup store-bought mustard powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup water (or even more for a thinner consistency)
  • 1.5 tablespoons whey or rejuvelac
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder or a teaspoon of fresh
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds



  1. If using whole seeds, grind your mustard powders in your spice grinder until powdered.  If  using powdered mustard, proceed to step two.
  2. Add mustard powder, salt, turmeric, if using, garlic, whey/rejuvelac and lemon juice to a food processor and blend until pretty smooth.
  3. Add water slowly, until mustard reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Remove from food processor, stir in maple syrup and brown mustard seeds by hand
  5. Place in a jar, preferably one that cloesly fits the quantity of mustard (so 1/2 pint) and let sit at room temperature for 2 days, then place in the fridge.
  6. It will become more acidic and less sweet the longer it ferments, and fermentation will continue at a slower rate in the fridge.
  7. Be aware that some separation during fermentation is normal.  Just stir to reincorporate the liquid.

*This seems like a non-issue to me.  Are there no clever waste stream consultants out there who can figure out a way to get whey to other companies that can use it?  Am I crazy for thinking this should be easy to resolve?

Pretzel mustard

Doesn’t that pretzel look happy?


  1. says

    This mustard sounds so good! And I just so happen to have some whey sitting around from my own little batch of strained yogurt. A perfect opportunity! The whey-draining crisis seems awfully drummed up to me too–you’d think with all the pickles popping up everywhere, they’d have small producers actually asking about their whey runoff.

    • Amanda says

      @Eileen, Perfect! Let me know how it turns out! I agree, but I was even thinking about big food! Like wouldn’t Campbell’s or Panera or whoever be down to add some easy protein to their soups or even to breads? Seems like a no-brainer, but what do I know?

      @Casey, Great to see you last night, too! I’ve heard so many tales or waste-stream purchases from one big food company to another, I’m just surprised no one has hopped on that yet!

    • Heike says

      I use Kombucha to soak the mustard seeds and then wet grind them.
      I am currently experimenting with adding the flowers and forming seed capsules from rocket as they jump into flowers readily in the garden. And the garlic greens. All about minimising waste and yes, wouldn’t it be lovely if that happens more mainstream also….
      H ❤

  2. says

    I love making mustard too! Will have to try your version next, great to see you last night. I agree on the whey waste as well, I’ve heard a few npr stories on it and was extremely confused why they weren’t just sharing!

    • Amanda says

      Hi Eileen,

      Thanks so much for making it and reporting back. I’ll definitely be checking out your link.



  3. Shannon says

    Thanks for the recipe! I tried this with whole mustard seeds that I ground, but I think I ended up with much more than 3/4 cups of powder (I didn’t measure after grinding). I just added tons more water to get a good consistency & it turned out OK.

  4. Donna says

    Hi, thanks for the recipe. Your recipe has 2 quantities of water. 1/4 cup and then 2 Tablespoons but the recipe doesn’t mention 2 additions of water. Would you mind clarifying? thanks,

    • Amanda says

      Hi Donna,

      So sorry about that and thanks for bringing it to my attention. It should read 2 tablespoons – 1/4 cup of water. That’s the range of mustard thickness that I think works best.

      I hope you enjoy it!



  5. Marria says

    I worked for dairy companies and most of the whey gets sold for protein powders. There really is no issue it is just a way for them to get funding etc.

  6. says

    OMG! And the soft pretzel! Could make a sourdough soft pretzel and serve it with this mustard. Would be nostalgic, yet so much more delicious.

  7. Kelly says

    Do you think you could replace the whey with pickle or kraut brine? That’s what I have handy and I want to give this a try. I also saw an interesting kombucha mustard recipe at C4H, I wonder if that would work here.

    • Amanda says

      Hi Kelly,

      Yup! Any fermented liquid would work, but if you want it probiotic, I wouldn’t use komubcha. Although some SCOBYs have recently been found to contain lactic acid bacteria, not all do and even those that do won’t have the same proportion as pickle brine. On the plus side, kombucha will give you a more traditional flavor, since it’s loaded with vinegar (acetic) acid.


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