Miso Making Tips and Recipes

Jun 15 2016 by Sjon Welters  |  6 comments

This is a blog post we shared a few years ago, and I thought it might be time to share it again. This time, with expert miso making tips at the bottom. Ferment away!

How to Make Short Term Sweet White Miso

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Before you begin, consider how much miso you want to make. Calculate how much miso you currently use and adjust the recipe below accordingly. Make a bit more than you think you need to allow for aging your next batch and you might want to share some of what you make with family and friends.

Tools needed:

Pressure cooker or pot with lid
Strainer
Mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Crock, ceramic vat, or any food grade container with a cover that fits inside the container
Weights (rocks, container with sand, or gallon jug with water)
Cheesecloth

Ingredients for about 6 lbs of miso:

  • 2.5 cups (1 lbs.) of dry organic soybeans
  • 5 ½ Tbsp. (approx. 3 oz) unrefined sea salt
  • 2 lbs. Rhapsody Short Term Miso Koji
  • 3 cups cooking liquid or boiled water

Wash the soybeans well and soak overnight.

Drain the beans. Cook beans submerged in water for 20 minutes without lid and scoop off foam, put cover on and cook further under pressure for one hour. Without pressure, cook 2 hours or until very soft.

Pour off the cooking liquid, but save it because this is also the mixing liquid you will need later. Let the beans cool down to body temperature (98 degrees Fahrenheit) .

Mix the koji with some of the cooled down cooking liquid and let soften. Mix the salt, koji, and half of the cooking liquid, then mix with the cooked beans. Mix and mash with a potato masher or grind through a meat grinder until you get a homogeneous paste. Add more of the liquid until the mixture is smooth, but still thick enough to form a ball.

Transfer this paste to a container that you have rubbed with salt. Press it in tightly to make sure you don’t have any air bubbles. Dust the top with a little salt and cover it with a thick clean cloth. A cheese cloth or a canvas drop cloth from the hardware store that has been washed and rinsed first works very well. Make sure there are no soap residues. Put a plate or wooden lid on it that fits within the container and weigh it down with a heavy rock or other heavy object. The weight should be close to being as heavy as the miso. This prevents souring and yeasting.

Let this mixture sit at ambient temperature for at least a week in hot weather or at least 3 weeks during the winter months.

You can use it after 1-3 weeks or let it age even longer. There is no need to refrigerate it as long as you have the weight on it. If there is mold growth on the cloth or the miso, just scrape it off. The liquid that gathers at the top is soysauce which you can store and use.

How to Make Long Term Mellow Red Miso

Ingredients for about 6 lbs of miso:

  • 4 cups (1.6 lbs.) of dry organic soybeans
  • 16 Tbsp. (approx. 8 oz) unrefined sea salt
  • 1 lbs. Rhapsody Long Term Miso Koji
  • 3 – 3.5 cups cooking liquid or boiled water

Wash the soybeans well and soak overnight.

Drain the beans. Cook beans submerged in water for 20 minutes without lid and scoop off foam, put cover on and cook further under pressure for one hour. Without pressure, cook 4-5 hours or longer so the beans turn a deep dark red or brown.

Pour off the cooking liquid, but save it because this is also the mixing liquid you will need later. Let the beans cool down to body temperature (98 degrees Fahrenheit) .

Mix the koji with some of the cooled down cooking liquid and let soften. Mix the salt, koji, and half of the cooking liquid, then mix with the cooked beans. Mix and mash with a potato masher or grind through a meat grinder until you get a homogeneous paste. Add more of the liquid until the mixture is smooth, but still thick enough to form a ball.

Transfer this paste to a container that you have rubbed with salt. Press it in tightly to make sure you don’t have any air bubbles. Dust the top with a little salt and cover it with a thick clean cloth. A cheese cloth or a canvas drop cloth from the hardware store that has been washed and rinsed first works very well. Make sure there are no soap residues. Put a plate or wooden lid on it that fits within the container and weigh it down with a heavy rock or other heavy object. The weight should be close to being as heavy as the miso. This prevents souring and yeasting.

Let this mixture sit at ambient temperature for at least 6 months. Traditionally miso is made during the winter months when the air has less organisms in it that could spoil the miso. A batch of miso ideally would go through one summer and not be used until Fall. When miso is aged longer it will develop its flavor and get darker.

There is no need to refrigerate it as long as you have the weight on it. If there is mold growth on the cloth or the miso, just scrape it off. The liquid that gathers at the top is soysauce which you can store and use.

Tips when making miso

When making miso with the short term koji the least you want to ferment the mash is for 3 weeks. If you use a lot of pressure yeasts don’t get the overhand and sour the batch. Then you can let the miso ferment for a few months or more. By adding more salt (up to 10-13%) you can let it ferment over a year. But better to use the long term koji then. Either way, you will get a good miso. Grinding the mash up before fermentation will also speed up the process, but make it more susceptible to contamination, so do this carefully.
One thing with using beans other than soy is that all these beans have little oil in them, soy does have a lot of oil, and more carbohydrates making fermentation harder to control and the flavor not as full and rounded.
Whatever you do, every time you make miso you’ll do it with more experience and the chance of getting what you are aiming for gets greater.
Filed under: Koji, Organic Miso, Recipes, Rice, Summer!
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6 comments on ... Miso Making Tips and Recipes

  1. capucine says:

    Hello,

    Does the miso fermentation vessel have to be hermetically sealed?

    Thanks a lot !

    • Traditionally wooden vessels were, and still are used but nowadays stainless steel is replacing that. Both work great and have their advantages and disadvantages. Wood is permeable, and works well for the young miso as moisture evaporation (making the miso denser and stiff) is not significant enough to be a problem over a short period of time. It is also antiseptic by nature and can impart specific flavors to the miso (think cedar barrels). Stainless or ceramic or earthen crocks are sealed and impermeable and only lose moisture through the top. Either vessel will allow for air to reach the miso. To retard contamination salt is sprinkled on top of the miso and a lid that is as tight as possible is put on top together with heavy cloth and weights. You don’t want it to be hermetically sealed as gasses need to be able to escape. So a glass jar for instance with a tight lid on it is not a good idea. In the end, miso is a live food that wants to breathe.

  2. Ishi butcher says:

    I bought the Rhapsody natural foods organic rice koji (amazake milk) but I wanted to make my own miso can I use this koji to make it?

    • Sorry for the late reply; we were in Japan for the first time studying their fermented foods. You can use this koji also for making miso, especially for a sweeter, lighter miso where there is more rice than beans.

  3. Rhianon says:

    Yum! I love miso, but have never made it myself. I’ll have to try this! I recently made these really great Miso Peanut Butter Cookies, and they were so good! Check them out:http://spoiledtoperfection.com/recipe_cookies.php

  4. miriam kairey says:

    thanks for this important info. the recipes on the internet are not that good. I will try doing it this way

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