Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Learning Something New

"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose.  There are no mistakes and no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from."
-Elisabeth Kubler Ross

Experimenting with fermentation has become a regular pastime around here, both for the beneficial bacteria and for the sake of knowing how to preserve our own food.  Recently my neighbor came over and taught me how to make miso from scratch.  It was very simple and fun.  Here's how we did it. 
We followed the recipe for red miso from Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz.

Red Miso
-ceramic crock or food grade plastic bucket, at least 1 gallon
-lid that fits snugly inside crock (plate or hardwood disc)
-heavy weight
-cloth or plastic

4 cups dried beans (we used organic soy)
1 cup sea salt and more for the crock
2 tbls. unpasteurized mature miso
5 cups koji

1.  Soak beans overnight and cook until soft. 
Take care not to burn the beans, soybeans take a long time.  

2.  Drain beans and save cooking liquid

soybean broth
3.  Dissolve 1 cup of sea salt in 2 cups of cooking liquid to make a strong brine, stir until salt is completely dissolved.

4.  Mash beans to desired smoothness, we blended them in the blender with a little liquid. 

Mashing the beans

5.  Once the brine is room temperature take one cup of it and mash in the mature miso.

Mature red miso

Then return the miso mash to the brine and add the koji. 

Koji is grain, most often rice, inoculated with spores of Aspergillus oryzae, a mold that starts the miso fermentation.
 If you can't find it at your local health food store, try G.E.M cultures or South River Miso Company online.

Finally add this mixture to the mashed beans and mix until the texture is uniform.  If it seems thicker than miso you've had, add some more liquid to desired consistency. 

5.  Salt the bottom and sides of your fermenting vessel with wet fingers dipped in sea salt. 

6.  Pack the miso tightly into the crock avoiding air pockets. 

7.  Smooth the top and add a generous layer of salt over it. 

8. Cover with a lid.  A hardwood lid cut to fit exactly over the top is ideal.  Rest a heavy weight on the lid.  Lastly place an outer cover over the whole thing, like a plastic sack.  Tie or tape the cover over the crock.

9.  Tuck your miso away for about 6 months and try a little then.  You can take layers of the miso out, re-salt the top and let it ferment for years this way, taking a little as you need it.  The miso will get more mellow over time.


  1. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks! Also I forgot to post that the liquid that rises to the top of the miso overtime is tamari. Looking forward to your gathering soon!

  3. AA we've been looking for Miso soup recipe and fermenting it, thank you for sharing, awesome!