I posted a year and a half ago about making lasagna--both my recipe and pictures of a lasagna class I did. I mentioned to some of the ladies at that church that I am interested in pickles of all sorts, which resulted in an invitation to join them in their annual miso-making event. Awesome!
|Mrs. Minamie, grinding the soybeans|
However, big disclaimer: If you are squeamish about mold, don't bother.
How to make miso
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) soy beans
- 1.2 kg (2.6 lb) kome-koji (rice mixed with a fungus that ferments the beans)
- 400 g (14 oz) salt (天塩--amajio if you can get it; it has some minerals which improve the taste, I'm told.)
Soak soy beans overnight. Transfer the beans to a large cooking pot with plenty of water; bring to a boil. (Watch out, they get very frothy.) Skim off the foam about 2 times, then cook at a gentle simmer for about an hour. (Cooking time depends on how old your beans are, so test them periodically.) Let stand for another 15 minutes if necessary--you want the beans fully cooked but not falling apart. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid in case the miso is too dry.
In a large bowl, break up clumps in the kome-koji between the palms of your hands. Mix in the salt.
|This is kome-koji.|
Combine koji mixture and crushed beans together with your hands. After things are pretty well blended, press and squeeze the mixture, forming fist size balls. Press these firmly into a clean pickling crock or bucket one at a time; make sure no air can get in below the surface.
Wipe around the edge of the crock with a liquor-soaked paper towel. (We use White Liquor, which is 35%. Basically, it's to kill the germs while still being safe if it gets into the miso.)
Press a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface of the miso and sprinkle with salt.
Store in a cool place… for a long time. About a year. You need at least one summer to mature the miso. (We made our miso in February 2014, and it was ready to eat at Christmas time.)
|I can't wait... but I'll be waiting a long time!|
|Looks pretty freaky, but it's only on the surface.|
|See? It looks pretty good... and tastes even better!|