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Miso Sweet Magical Miso

I'm gearing up to make TrampledByGeese's homemade chickpea miso. I'm spending way too much time on Google researching various methods, so I am cutting myself off.

Trampled, I may order a gallon jar, but would rather use my 1.5 liter latchlid jar that I already own. That would be a half batch. You wrote on your blog that you didn't suggest that, but your reasons weren't clear.

I can order organic brown koji rice from South River. However, I have to order $30 of products which actually comes to $40 and then another $20 for shipping. I'm so used to amazon prime free shipping that it bugs me. Another option is the koji on Amazon. It's just called koji and not koji rice. The comments mention you can make koji rice with it. Color me confused. I guess the company that sells it is vitually no help. South River has an awesome customer service dept and answer emails quickly.

Last but not least. Latchlid guy uses a couple of TBS of raw miso when he makes his. He mixes it into his koji rice with the brine.

I'm probably way over thinking this which I am prone to do.

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

asked almost 2 years ago
10 answers 1030 views
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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

I had the same trouble when I was getting started. I spent over a year reading and worrying which is the best method. Then I (metaphorically) slapped some sense into me and decided that I would try one method at a time, until I found something that gave the result I liked.

As for batch size. The Book of Miso by Shurtleff and Aoyagi (considered the single best and most in depth English language resource on miso - and thankfully free online because it's a pain to find a copy these days) has a very strong opinion as to minimum batch size: http://books.google.ca... This link talks about the ratio of surface area (with includes the surface of the top of the miso and the miso that touches the vat walls) to total volume. I can't put it any better than they do, and they even have diagrams supporting their point.

Now, I think you know a bit about my style by now, so you won't be surprised to learn I don't fully agree with the experts. It's great knowing what experts say and why, then totally disregarding them. I can see the advantage of having the minimum batch size for mid and long term miso (anything over three months), but for short term sweet miso, I don't feel there is a major difference if you cut the recipe in half or even quarter it. Besides, having strict rules like that may put people off trying it, and I abhor rules that do that.

Reading other people's experiences, there doesn't seem to be any problem with smaller batches for miso fermented for less than 3 months. I haven't tried it myself yet but think it would be useful for test batches.

If you go for the smaller batch, please let me know all about it.

I like one gallon myself because it's the size of my crock, and the ingredients costs exactly the same as buying one jar of commercial made chickpea miso in the store.

Instead of ordering a brand new container, how about checking out your local charity shop for the insert to an old slow cooker? That's my favourite one gallon crock to use. Sometimes they even include the lid.

South River is expensive, but an idea comes to mind to get arround the shipping. Do you have a store locally that sells it? If so, they could probably order in the koji rice for you, if they order in bulk, they usually have cheaper shipping.

Do you have a link to your amazon koji? Canadian amazon is quite different than the US version. The seller may mean koji rice or koji barley, just not saying so, but it sounds like spores. If it's pure koji (as in koji spores for making your own koji grain) then I would go with GEMcultures for that, they have lovely packaging, clear instructions and helpful staff (they also sell pre cultured koji grain to US customers http://www.gemcultures... but I haven't looked at their domestic shipping prices).

I haven't cultured my own koji grain yet, but I do plan to before New Years. Culturing my own koji grain was just too big a step for first time miso making. I worried that with the extra process (which takes several days and quite a lot of attention) of growing mold, too many possibilities to go wrong. In the past I've just used koji rice that the local Asian store gets in from the local sake shop - not 'proper' for miso making but works great with a lovely mild flavour.

Seed Miso! This seems to be a huge area of debate in miso making circles. This involves adding a spoonful (or more) of live miso to the new miso vat to encourage fermenting (spelling it out for future readers, I know you know this already). Live miso is miso that hasn't been heat or chemically treated to stop the ferment. Not all miso for sale in the store are unpasteurized, so when choosing seed miso, best to look out for that.

Some sources like GEM cultures advocate adding seed miso to every kind of miso (short or long term ferments) whereas The Book of Miso linked to above says it's a horrible idea to add it to sweet miso as it will make the final miso sour.

I don't have an opinion on the topic yet, I can see the advantages to both sides. Why I didn't include seed miso in my miso recipe was because I wanted to encourage people to try their own miso making. People with soy allergies and sensitivities may have trouble finding a soy-free seed miso paste to start their chickpea miso with. Since mine turn out delicious without it, I decided not to mention it in the recipe. If you do add some, please let me know how it goes (yes I know, I always say that, but enquiring minds need to know).

I think you are a lot like me, reading, researching, thinking, evaluating, imagining how it will all turn out. Do I have the best beans, do I have the best pot, do I...what if... Eventually I get so frustrated at myself, I think I could have spent all that time experimenting and learning on my own instead of weeks pestering the library to order some obscure reference. For miso making, I grabbed the simplest recipe I had, locked the rest up in an old trunk I save for just such occasions. Then I kicked myself into action. Try one, if it works, great. If not, then try the next recipe.

Today is the day for digging out my new batch of miso - fingers crossed it's as delicious as the last as I'm hoping to make it a Holiday present.

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hellskitchenspice

Dana is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added almost 2 years ago

Hi Susan,
I would go with the organic brown koji rice from South River. A little bit of miso paste goes a long way, so a gallon will take you far. You're throwing off the ratios if you use your 1.5 liter container (by halving the recipe too), so stick to making the gallon. Don't over think it, follow the steps and it'll turn out great!
Best,
Dana

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

Oh no...conflicting answers on the ratios. Halving it keeps the same ratio. Just half of each ingredients. I think it should fit into my 1.5 liter jar with a little leftover. Maybe I am doing the math wrong.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

Okay, going with the half batch. I won't be out much if it doesn't work. I'd really like to use what I have and the last thing my tiny kitchen needs is more big stuff.

Seed miso would be unpasteurized chickpea miso from Miso Master. I'll be buying more while mine percolates anyway, but I will skip it and just follow your tried and true method. Latchlid does 1, 2 and 3 year miso, so that is probably why he uses his own seed miso.

I haven't found South River Miso locally, but I'm sure I could find Koji Rice lically, but it would mean driving or calling around. Easier to point and click. I'm also going to buy a jug of chickpea tamari to get to my $30 minumum. I'm kind of jazzed to try it.

You should have seen me the first time I made Kombucha. Lawdy. I ordered the SCOBY from kombuchakamp who I love and used temp strips and everything. Now I grab a bottle of raw kombucha and make my own SCOBY without even thinking. It was my first experience with firmentation.

I can't link the Amazon koji from my phone, but I'll power up my laptop and link it in a bit. I am curious about it, but I have no desire to add another step to my first miso attempt.

Thank you for all of your advice!!

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

I can't help but smile, I had that kombucha experience too, so much testing and worry, now I just leave a jar full of mothers on the counter and pull one out if I feel like some kombucha, topping up the sweet tea every couple of months or so.

Deep breath and remind yourself, people have been fermenting miso for hundreds of years with no internet, literacy, magic phones, ph test strips, airlocks, pressure cookers, surface area to total volume calculations, digital scales, or other modern toys. There's turned out just fine.

Unfortunately we don't have any of their advantages (no family or local traditions passed on to us by doing). We also didn't have to know as much about the world we live in as they did. Sure, we know loads of other things that they could never dream, but I bet not many of you know off the top of your head how many hours the moon will be bright enough to till by tonight or which manure is the best for composting with rice straw (zero and chicken).

Even with our disadvantages, we can still make miso and all these other traditional foods. We just have to have faith in ourselves and give it a try. What we lack in hands on traditions, we make up for with our modern technology - a marvelous blend of tradition and modern methods to create something which is at the same time both brand new and ancient.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

Look what I realized was right in front of me doing nothing but sitting on my counter doing nothing. The cookie jar from my childhood. It holds exactly one gallon of water. Pulling the trigger on my South River order and I'll make the entire batch at least this first time. :)

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

What a beautiful jar.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

Thanka Trampled. It's the everyday dishware I grew up with that my mom gave me over twenty years ago. She was sick of it and almost gave it to Goodwill, but my smart brother told her I'd probably like it. I use all the dishes, bowls and mugs daily. The cookie jar just sits there looking cute.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

Update..yes, already. I had to google fermenting supplies and found a highly respected local Japanese restaurant website. They had a recipe for their miso, but mentioned a local saki, beer and wine brewing supply store that they get their koji rice, saki and tamari brewing supplies from. I called them and it turns out the owner answered and we talked at length about the miso he's been brewing since February. He's a patient man. They carry the koji rice AND the wide mouth plastic containers to ferment it in.

Life is good.