Making Miso

mixing the koji with the beans

I’ve been a busy beaver today. Me and my gal pals got together to make miso.
It wasn’t difficult, but I confess I did at some point get sick of mashing and smushing.
Mrs A. ordered all the stuff we needed from a local natural foods co-op,. The koji spore came ready to go and the soy beans were cooked they just needed to be softened up in some hot water and then mashed.

koji and salt

So while the beans were softening in hot water, we mixed the koji spore with salt.


When that was done we mashed the softened beans. To make 5kgs of miso each we needed 2.5kgs of beans.
For mashing we used a couple of different methods. Mrs F brought a hand held electric smusher, it may have been a marital aid I am not sure, it was okay but still quite a laborious process.
I started out trying to use my ancient blender, and if anyone is trying this at home, this is crucial, please listen!
After you put the beans in, but BEFORE you switch in on, PUT THE LID ON, it will save you a lot of time if you don’t have to peel beans off the windows.
Mrs T, opted for a state of the art FORK, and had some success. In the end though we discovered mashing them with our hands and pummelling them with our hammy fists was the most successful method.
( Again, DITOH and her fancy food processor- NOT WELCOME 😉

have to make dinner now, more to follow……..

I’m back and I just made a rocking soba-sushi for dinner that brought joy to my chicks, but that is a whole other post…….

Okay so we have smushed all the beans, now we mix the bean smush with the koji/salt mix.
This took quite a while and a lot of elbow grease. You have to work it all in really hard and keep turning it over and over to make sure all the koji has been mixed in well.


So, in the above picture, we had to work the paste into ‘riceballs’ and throw them into the bucket. This allows the air to escape, and was a lot of fun, we played a little game of pretending we were aiming at things that were pissing us off. Yakkuin came up a lot. Sometimes the odd person’s name was mentioned too!!
I wanted to do a Nora and Holly thing and start throwing at each other, but that plan was nixed, probably wisely, who would be Nora? Who would be Holly? It would be a tough call, to be the fabulous warm, loving, wise matriach or the hot sexy mistress. I would have a hard time choosing.

Anyway, balls done and tossed, all we had left to do was to press it all down hard again. More work with the fists, and I could hear more air escaping so I gather this might have been quite an important step.

Firmly patted down we covered the entire surface with salt, then a double layer of cling film, this is to stop mold.
Then a sort of inner lid, I used the inside of a cake tin, cos it’s not like I need it, and then a weight on top.
Some of the more affluent among us bought weighted devices especially for the project. I got a brick out the garden and washed it.
Then lids on buckets and we were done.
We have to open it up when the rainy season starts ( July-ish) and take off any mold, re-salt and turn the paste upside down and re-set the weight.
Ready to use in September.

Useful to know.
We chose the ‘ready in September’ option of methods, we could have done things differently to have it ready in 2 years.
We chose the strong salty taste method. we could have opted for a sweeter paste using less koji.

Finally all we had to do was watch Mrs Morning Rice Paddy clean up.

Mrs Morning Rice Paddy cleans up.

I also learned a little superstition here.
The reason Mrs A is cleaning up alone here, is Mrs J and I were doing it. I was sweeping and Mrs J. had the dustpan, but Mrs A , had a nervous breakdown and leapt across the room and said, only one person should do it, if the broom and the dustpan are separated it’ll lead to a fight between the two. ” aishou ga warukunaru”.
THAT explains why my kids are always fighting.!!

7 thoughts on “Making Miso

  1. i love the down-on-your-knees shots!

    are the yellow buckets uniquely for miso making? i’ve seen them in the workshop i went to long ago. did you have to go buy those?

    the shot of the hands is really pretty.

    i made miso-udon today for lunch but our miso was store-bought.

    how much miso will you have at the end? in septemberish?

    how do you know it is ready?

    sorry for all the questions.


  2. The home centres sell the buckets, the yellow is usually for Tsukemono I think.
    We ordered miso making sets from Pollan Hiroba and the buckets came with it.

    We’ll have 5 kgs each.

    To know it’s ready, I think it’ll go a bit darker, but probably tasting it will be the best way to know. I think September is the earliest, but it’ll be better the longer it’s left.

    Ume boshi next. Wont you join me, I seem to recall you once boshi’d with me didn’t you?

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