Miso (みそ or 味噌) is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae), sometimes added with rice, barley, seaweed or other ingredients. The result is a thick paste-like substance.
It's an essential ingredient for many Japanese food dishes, and people usually mix miso with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called misoshiru (味噌汁), a Japanese culinary staple.
Miso contains high protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. Also, back then, miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan.
Nowadays, miso is still widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking, and has been gaining worldwide interest.
Miso is brownish and slightly reddish in color. Typically, miso is salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process.
Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory.
The Health Benefits of Miso
※ Miso is a source of copper, manganese, vitamin K, protein, and zinc.
※ By consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria (known as probiotics) and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system.
※ Miso contains nutrients that may help your immune system function optimally. The probiotics in miso may help strengthen your gut flora, in turn boosting immunity and reducing the growth of harmful bacteria. Moreover, a probiotic-rich diet may help reduce your risk of being sick and help you recover faster from infections, such as the common cold. Regularly consuming probiotic-rich foods like miso may reduce the need for infection-fighting antibiotics by up to 33%.
※ Probiotic-rich foods such as miso may benefit brain health by helping improve memory and reducing symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Handmade Miso Set
The Handmade Miso Set is a set of ingredients and preparation containers, which you can easily use them to make miso at home.
This set contains Hokkaido Organic Soybeans "Toyomasari", Okayama Organic Rice Koji, Wheat Koji, Tokunoshima Sun-dried Salt, and a preparation container bag with fastener.
We also include an instruction of "How to Make Handmade Natto" in the package so you can enjoy making your own miso at home!
Finished amount: approximately 2,5kg. Using both wheat koji and rice koji, you can make the balanced taste of "Mixed Miso."
Handmade Miso Set's Contents
Organic Beans "Toyomasari" 500g Since more than 30 years ago, Mr. Yuu Hirawake has been raising this kind of "Toyomasari" soybeans organically. These soybeans will make your miso delicious with rich tastes and flavors.
Wheat Koji & Organic Rice Koji 1 kg (500g each) Wheat koji made from 100% of Shiga Perfecture's wheat, and handmade dried rice koji (made from white rice) made by local Okayama Perfecture farmers held Japanese Agricultural Organic Standard (JAS) Certificate. These kojis will make your delicious miso has balanced taste of sweetness.
"Toku no Shio" Salt 300g Drawn from the Kuroshio Current (Japan's Black Tide) of Tokunoshima Island, with high concentrate of solar heat and natural energy of sea breeze, it is a mild-taste salt made by Japanese traditional recipe which boiled down slowly over a flat kettle over time.
Preparation Bag with Fastener Preparation containers with fastener/zipper which has both function for preparation and after-completion storage in miso making. Thick, protection from molds, and light weight.
Recipe of How to Make Miso We include an instruction of how to make miso that is very easy to understand even for those who make if for the first time.
What is Hokkaido Organic Beans "Toyomasari"
Hokkaido Organic Beans "Toyomasari" is one kind of soybeans that among other soybeans it has good flavor and good taste of sweetness, which made this Toyomasari soybean is called "The Grand Champion of Soybeans." Its flavor fits perfectly for boiled soybeans. It gives nice and clean result to miso and tofu.
Because the content of sucrose in this soybeans is higher than that of other soybeans, you can taste the rich flavor of soybeans with various dishes.
This is the organic soybeans raised carefully by Mr. Yuu Hirawake. He has been raising and cultivating these soybeans organically in Makubetsu-cho, Hokkaido for over 30 years.
Being harvested when they are completely ripe, these soybeans are rich in nutrients and have fine quality of taste and flavor.
Hirawake Farm・Mr. Yuu Hirawake 「I have raised the bean carefully with love like my own child」
I have been making organic, pesticide-free beans for more than 30 years in Makubetsu-cho, Hokkaido. Harvested beans were dried in sunlight without relying on machines, the condensation can bring the sweetness to the beans. Please try it once.
These soybeans are organic, pesticide-free, non-chemical fertilizer cultivation, and carefully raised with natural drying.
If you boil the bean, you can fully taste the sweetness of plump beans.
If you use it to make miso, it will be delicious miso soup with rich flavor.
You can also use this soybean for making homemade tofu, soy milk, and natto.
What is Okayama Organic Dried Rice Koji
This is handmade dried rice koji made by the farmers of Okayama Perfecture who held Japanese Agricultural Organic Standard (JAS) Certificate, and is made by using only white rice.
Not only JAS, it also passed the FDA (American Food and Drug Administration) accreditation test, which is said to be the most strict in the world.
The feature of this rice koji is that it's thoroughly and carefully dried with warm air so as not to break the koji fungus (Aspergillus oryzae).
Strong and good quality of koji will give you the best and rich flavor in your miso.
Rice koji traditionally handmade from 100% organic rice, without any food additives
What is Shiga Wheat Koji
It is handmade dried wheat koji made by the farmers in Shiga Perfecture, using high quality round wheat.
By using it together with rice koji, you can make a delicious miso with good balance of spice and sweetness; the perfect balanced taste of mixed miso.
Drawn from the Kuroshio Current (Japan's Black Tide) of a long-life coral island, Tokunoshima Island, with high concentrate of solar heat and natural energy of sea breeze, it is a salt made by Japanese traditional recipe which boiled down slowly over a flat kettle over time.
With its mild taste, it makes a great deal for the delicious taste of miso.
Salt drawn from 100% clean water of Tokunosima Island's sea, with mild taste great for flavoring
What is Compact Preparation Bag
It is a plastic bag with a fastener (zipper) which is very convenient for making miso. This plastic bag which made with thick and durable material, can stock about 2.5 kg of miso.
With this plastic bag, you don't have to do the trouble of mixing and changing the container again after the preparation of miso is finished. It's also harder for mold to grow in miso with this container.
After the miso is ripened, this bag can also be used as storage container. Just keep the miso in this bag, and put it in the refrigerator all along!
Size: (when closed) width 21.9 cm x 34 cm, can be used for 2.5 kg of miso. There's 5 cm space at the upper part.
There's a sticker on the bag where you can write the date of preparation, so you can remember when the miso is ripened and ready to eat!
Making Miso with Safe Ingredients
I bought this set because I want to try making miso with safe ingedients.
Everything in this set are organics, although I have to pay a little more, I think that it is a very good product. I'm really satisfied.
I Have Strong Feeling that I Can Make Delicious Miso with This
As soon as I open the package, I can feel that these ingredients have very good quality. Especially, the soybeans are wonderful. I thought that it's amazing that such beautiful grains like these are cultivated organically. When I boiled it, it smelled so good that I just want to eat it as it is. It's so convenient because the koji can be stored in the freezer for long term.I have strong feeling that I can make delicious miso with this. Thank you so much!
I'm Excited to See How the Miso will be Finished!
I thought of making miso by myself, so I search for the ingredients and found this product. This shop's response is quick and polite, a very nice shop. It's really convenient that the instruction of how to make miso is included in the package. While looking at the instruction, I made miso by myself for the first time. Now the miso is in the fermentation process, I'm waiting for it to be ripened. I'm excited to see how the miso will be finished!
It's Easier to be Made than I Thought
I challenge myself to make miso for the first time. It was very helpful to have an easy-to-follow instruction attached in the package. Since it's a set, I didn't have to worry about the quantity. I just used all the ingedients as it is. It was easier that I thought I'm waiting for the miso to be finished now
How to Make Miso
・ Soybeans： 500ｇ
・ Rice Koji： 1 kg (In case of combined miso, use 500 gr of malted rice/rice koji and 500 gr of wheat malt/wheat koji.)
・ Salt： 300 g
・Pressure cooker (or stock pot)
・Preparation container（container/vessel that has zipper/fastener）
In order to avoid the breeding of germs, wash the tools clean and properly.
The Amount of Miso That Can Be Made and the Amount of Ingredients Used
This is the portion for miso with salt concentration 12.5% (sweet flavor).
There are eight steps in the miso making process.
1. Wash the soybeans.
2. Soak the soybeans in the water.
3. Boil the soybeans.
4. Crush the soybeans.
5. Mix the malt/koji and salt.
6. Add crushed soybean in the mixed koji and salt.
7. Roll the mixed soybean from step 7 into the round/ball form, then put in the container.
8. Let it ferment for about 10 months-1 year.
Step 1, Wash the Soybeans
Soil and dirt on the soybeans will give bad effects in miso making.
Wash and rub the soybeans together in the water to clean off the dirt.
Step 2, Soak the soybeans in the water
Put the washed soybeans in a bowl, and soak them in water for about 18 hours.
The soybeans will get about two times bigger after they are soaked in the water.
So, please prepare a bowl that big enough.
If the core is still remaining in the soybeans, heat will not pass through to the inside, and unevenness will occur when you boil the soybeans。
Please take time for soaking the soybeans.
Step 3, Boil the Soybeans
Please boil the soybeans with pressure cooker or in a stock pot.
If you use pressure cooker, boil them for about 20 minutes.
If you use stock pot, boil them for about 3 hours.
Boil the soybeans till them can be easily squashed by nipping it with thumb and index finger.
Step 4, Crush the Soybeans
When the soybean is still haven't cooled down yet (still warm), put them in a plastic bag and use your hands or feet to crush them.
It's alright if you don't crush them until it completely become paste-form (the shape of the beans still somewhat remains).
Step 5, Mix the malt/koji and salt.
Add salt to koji, and mixed it properly until they completely mixed.
In this step, for the koji/malt, if you use the half portion of malted rice/rice koji and half portion of wheat malt/wheat koji, you can make what is called "mixed miso" which has a good balance of sweetness.
※You can also use raw malt or dried malt.
Step 6, Add crushed soybean in the mixed koji and salt.
If the soybeans, koji, and salt is not mixed well, it's possible for molds to grow there.
Because of that, please mix it thoroughly and carefully.
Mix all of those ingredients until it has the same softness as earlobe (about the same hardness of an earlobe).
Step 7, Roll the mixed soybean and ingredients from step 7 into the round/ball form, then put in the container.
In order to pack the mixed ingredients in the preparation container, it's easier if you roll it into the round-form to remove air from the container.
After you put one rounded mixed ingredients in the container, push it with your fist/knuckles, so the gap is fully filled.
Because molds can grow within the air gap in the container, please fill it firmly so that there's no air gap.
At Kawashimaya, we have preparation containers with fastener/zipper which has both function for preparation and after-completion storage in miso making.
If you use enamelled metal ware or wooden container, after you put in the miso ingredients, please cover it with plastic wrap so it won't touch the open-air.
Step 8, Let it ferment/ripen for about 10 months-1 year.
Keep the prepared miso in a place that has low temperature and has low rate of temperature change.
During summer, the fermentation process will also continue, so do not put it in the refrigerator.
When the fermentation process is finished and delicious miso is ready, please keep it refrigerated along with the container.
You can keep the finished miso for more than 1 year.
Period for Ripening and Tasting Method
If you start preparing miso in summer, the standard period for miso to be ripened is 2-3 months. Meanwhile, if you start it in winter, it usually takes 5-12 months to ripened.
In that ripening/fermentation period, please try tasting the miso.
Since the surface of the miso is in direct contact with air, there are many cases where the moisture is low and the smell is not good. So let's taste it by digging the center part with a spoon.
Left picture: young ripened age (when miso is just ripened); Right picture: After 8 months
It is ok let the ripening process continue until its taste matches to your liking, but we recommend the maximum period to ripen it is one year, considering the aspect of color and flavor.
When it's ripened and taste like your preference, it will maintain its ripened state when it is stored in a refrigerator (the fermentation process won't continue if you put it in refrigerator).
If you make handmade miso for the first time, please enjoy exploring the ripened state that suitable to your tongue.
We recommend to eat it while it's just ripened (young ripened age), and then as the miso continue to ripen/fermentate, you can continue to eat it too until you find the taste that suitable for you.
That way, you can find the point of ripened state of miso that you like.
Handmade Miso Q&A
When preparing the miso, is it alright if I don't add water?
It's ok if you don't add water. We think that it't not necessary to ad water, but when the miso is parched or dried out, hard, and difficult to be prepared, it's better to add water (like the remaining water that you used to boil the soybeans) and adjust it until the soybeans is as soft as an earlobe.
Freshly prepared miso may become hard by osmotic pressure of salt.
Several days after the miso is prepared, it may become stiff due to the natural phenomenon of salt. During summer the fermentation process will also continue, so even if the miso is hardened, you don't have to worry because it will ripen properly.
One of the concerns in making handmade miso is the miso become hard, but, whether it's soft miso, or hardened miso, each has it's own virtue, Please try to make miso and enjoy the variety of its taste!
To boil the soybeans, is it ok to use the water that was used for soaking the soybeans?
We suggest you to use new fresh water to boil the soybeans.
Even though the soybeans looked clean, there are a lot of dust and microorganisms on them more than it looked. Therefore, when boiling the beans, we recommend you to use new fresh water
What kind of place that is good for the soybeans to be ripened?
Please keep the storage place of miso in a cool dark place away from direct sunlight. During summer, the fermentation process will also continue, so do not put it in the refrigerator.
Since it is difficult for ripening/fermentation to proceed under 15 ℃, it's alright to place the miso in a place where people live, like living room. Plus, please avoid the place that has extremely high temperature where the temperature always exceeds 35 ℃.
When is the right time to eat the handmade miso?
The best time to eat this handmade miso is 10 months from when it's being prepared.
Depending on the temperature and the storage location, the result isn't always the same, but, if you let the miso to be ripened past one summer until 10 months, the richness and original flavor of miso will come out niclely, and it will become miso with balanced taste of sweetness. Miso that had been prepared for more than 2 years (had been through 2 season of summers), will have coloring phenomenon, so the color will be dark brown or black. The smell of miso will also be strong, the sweetness of rice will be reduced, and acidity by lactic acid fermentation will come out. Although it depends on your preference, but miso is the most delicious when you eat at the 10th month to 12th month since being prepared.
When is the good time to prepare miso?
The best time to prepare the miso is from late January to February, when the weather is cold.
When you prepare it at that time, you can start eating it on October or November.
The reason why it's good to prepare miso in winter is because the ripening/fermentation process is progressing from winter to spring, the summer. Then when it reached autumn and the temperature go down again, the miso is ready.
However, it doean't mean you can't prepare miso at other time/season. It's alright if you prepare miso in the summer, as long as you pay attention to these two points:
1. Do not leave the soybeans as it is after you boiled it. During the hot season, Bacillus natto, a natural enemy of Aspergillus oryzae (koji), become very easy to propagate on the soybeans after being boiled. So do not leave the boiled soybeans for a long time. Just let it cool down for a while, and start preparing it immediately.
2. Do not place koji at room temperature. Since koji is a very sensitive microorganism to temperature, leaving it at room temperature for a long time in summer hot weather may cause in failure of making miso.
The miso prepared in summer tends to easily fermentate, so the color of miso may be dark.
During the ripening/fermentation process, the container swells. Is that ok?
Please vent the air out of the container.
If you use the "compact preparation bag", when the fermentation starts, the container bag may swell. Please open the mouth of the bag (the fastener) a little, and vent the air out carefully. Furthermore, even though it's not mandatory, changing the way to place the miso once in a while and let the liquid produced from the fermentation process to go though all the soybeans's surface thoroughly can prevent the growth of molds and moisture uneveness, so the ripening prcess will accelerate. Especially, it can reduce the dried and parched surface of the miso caused by insufficient volume of liquid and the contact with the air.
Wakame and Tofu Miso Soup
The most traditional and loved miso soup recipe all time. The soup with an authentic taste of both miso and dashi umami in one dish. You can improvise with adding many vegetables in the soup to get even more vitamins. Miso soup is very good for your health and dieting.
・Green onion (chopped)
・Silk tofu, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
Add Dashi to water and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium and add Silk Tofu, Green Onion and Wakame.
Allow to heat for 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to simmer and stir in miso paste. Allow to heat for 2 minutes.
Miso soup is ready to serve.
Miso Soup with Fresh Scallop
A perfect miso soup for seafood fans. Fresh scallop is a suitable partner for miso soup dishes. Do noto cook on high heat once you add the shells in the water. And please do mind so skim the scum from the pot.
・Green onion (chopped)
Put the scallops into a large bowl and rinse them well. The surfaces of the shells are surprisingly dirty, so keep rinsing until the water no longer becomes cloudy.
When they are really dirty, please use a brush to scrub the shells when washing. Be careful not to cut your hands on the shells.
Put the scallops and the water into a pot and slowly heat on medium-low so that the flavor from the scallops seems out.
Once the pot is boiling, if any scum rises to the surface, skim it off. Cook until the shells open up and then turn off the heat.
Dissolve in the dashi stock granules and the miso. Serve in bowls and optionally garnish with minced leek. The miso soup is ready to serve.