All About Senf Oder Mostrich, the German Mustard

Bowl of mustard on wooden table

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Known as senf or mostrich in German, prepared mustard is used as a condiment and as a recipe ingredient.

Prepared German mustard is made with different varieties of ground mustard seeds (mostly Sinapis hirta and Brassica nigra) mixed with vinegar, oil, herbs and/or sweeteners. It ranges from smooth to coarse-ground, and from pale yellow to brown in color. 

Whole Mustard Seeds

In addition to prepared mustard, German recipes also call for whole mustard seeds, which are mild and even nutty tasting. They are often toasted and used in marinades.

White mustard seeds are the mildest and used in this mustard pickles (senfgurken) recipe and in some sausage making.

How American Yellow "Ballpark" Mustard Differs

American yellow mustard is a mixture of the mildest mustard seeds combined with vinegar, sugar, and turmeric, which gives it that bright yellow color.

Styles of German Mustard

Bavarian Sweet Mustard - Süßer Senf, Bayerischer or Weißwurstsenf

  • Bavarian mustard is made from coarsely ground and roasted mustard seeds mixed with vinegar and honey, sugar or applesauce as a sweetener.
  • The manufacturer Händlmaier leads the pack for sweet mustard. The jars have a distinctive red lid and can be found in U.S. supermarkets.

Medium-Spicy Mustard - Mittlescharfer or Delikatesssenf

  • This is made with a combination of yellow and brown mustard seeds and is the most popular style in Germany.
  • Sometimes it is mixed with horseradish in the Eastern German states and Austria, and called meerrettichsenf.

Sharp or Spicy Mustard - Scharfer Senf or Extra Scharf

  • This mustard style is the same as medium-spicy mustard, but with a higher percentage of brown mustard seeds, which are hotter.
  • Düsseldorfer Löwensenf is a very well-known manufacturer of German mustards, which also makes an extra-spicy mustard called extra scharfer senf.

Recipes and More Using German Mustard

If the legendary history of mustard has taught us anything, it is that mustard varieties can be used in a ton of creative recipes: to make authentic German homemade salad dressings, greens, and pork chops. Or, go one step further and make your own mustard from scratch.