Mustard powder and prepared mustard are two of the most common and versatile forms of the mustard spice. Mustard powder consists of finely ground mustard seed, and prepared mustard consists mainly of fully or partially ground mustard seed combined with a liquid. Because they share the same main ingredient, it might be tempting to think that they are perfectly interchangeable when they are often not. The SPICEography Showdown below covers how they compare to each other.
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How does mustard powder differ from prepared mustard?
Mustard powder and prepared mustard differ in terms of their composition — they are made of different things. Mustard powder consists entirely of mustard seed that has been ground to a fine powder. Prepared mustard (like yellow mustard) consists of mustard seed mixed with liquids and sometimes other flavorings. The mustard seed in prepared mustard might be in powder form or only partially ground, as it is for stone ground and whole-grain mustards.
Mustard powder and prepared mustard have different tastes. Mustard powder is not particularly flavorful until you combine it with a liquid. Only after it has been combined with a liquid are mustard powder’s essential oils released, along with its sharp and pungent flavors.
Prepared mustard consists of partially or fully ground mustard seed combined with a liquid. Along with the flavor of the mustard itself, it will have the flavor of the liquid. Popular liquids used to make prepared mustard include vinegar and verjus, which is the juice of unripe grapes.
Can you substitute one for the other?
Mustard powder is an excellent substitute for prepared mustard, since you can use it to make homemade prepared mustard. Make a paste by mixing the mustard powder with an acidic liquid like vinegar or white wine. You can use your prepared mustard in the same ways as the premade stuff. Homemade prepared mustard will likely be more flavorful and pungent than premade commercial mustard.
Prepared mustard can work as a substitute for dry mustard in some applications if the fact that it is a paste instead of a powder is not a problem. Areas where prepared mustard will be an issue include dry rubs where the moisture component would change the rub’s character; however, prepared mustard would be fine in a marinade. Along with the difference in consistency, there will also be extra acidity from the liquid used in the prepared mustard. Make sure that the dish can handle the tartness before using it.
How should you use mustard powder? And how should you use prepared mustard?
Mustard powder makes a great addition to vinaigrettes and dry rubs for meat that you plan to grill, smoke or roast. You can also use mustard powder as the core ingredient of your homemade prepared mustard. The liquids you use to bring out its heat can range from beer to plain water.
How you use prepared mustard will differ depending on its type. For example, spicy brown mustard is a coarser and sharper kind of prepared mustard that is popular on pastrami sandwiches. Dijon mustard is a strong and tangy prepared mustard made from mustard powder and white wine; dijon mustard is used both for cooking French dishes and as a general condiment.
America’s favorite bright yellow mustard is made from white mustard seeds combined with vinegar and colored with turmeric; yellow mustard is a traditional hotdog condiment.