We have completed the fermentation of our DIY Japanese Miso Paste from raw soy beans. The Miso making was a great success.
Many readers could be forgiven for reacting with an “Eeuuuwwwww!” upon seeing some of the photos of this process, but believe us, the final miso paste product is extremely tasty. And healthy too!
It has been almost a full year since we started making our paste. The fermentation started in cold Winter months early in the year, soon after when we first discussed home DIY miso making. We later provided a full DIY how-to of miso making guide” when we started the mix, where we showed the ingredients required in the preparation and the techniques used.
Time has flown by. We provided a half year report on the progress of our fermentation project when the soy bean paste received a good mixing just prior to the arrival of Summer’s full heat. At the time, being exposed to only cool temperatures, little had changed in our premature miso paste and there wasn’t even a thread of flavor altering mold to be seen.
Given five extra months of development and an a blast of Japanese Summer heat in between, and that all changed!
With almost a full year of development, we revisited our modest looking Japanese miso paste fermentation bucket. It had lived under the house in a dark, but non-air conditioned area away from insects and pests, since last Winter.
We carefully removed the lightly sealed covering on the preparation.
It was obvious that fermentation had indeed taken place since our last mix of ingredients. The odour of the newly fermented miso paste was initially pungent and strong, but not necessarily off putting. With a little aeration of the bucket, it smelt very much like normal (strong, but) mature miso was meant to smell.
The additional fermentation time had allowed development of a very different odour compared to when we checked and re-mixed the ingredients six months ago. The time and warmth of the Summer really had allowed the mix to develop nicely.
Did the miso preparation have copious amounts of flavor altering mold growing on it? Yes!
Was it initially a handsome sight to see and photograph? No, not at all!
(If you are following this guide, then brace yourself for this initial opening surprise and what you will see. The fungus buildup, although normal, is not the sort of thing you usually want to see growing on your food!)
Although unsightly, the main bulk of the fungus was only growing on the surface of the miso paste.
We quickly scooped most of the fungus away and discarded it. Although unsightly, the fungus is extremely important in developing the rich, unique flavors that make miso what it is. Not unlike the process involved in making Blue Vein Cheese. All that ugly looking fungal goodness adds to the health and flavor. Admittedly, it may not be for everyone.
Once the main portion of fungus and mold had been removed from the surface (leave more if you want a stronger taste in your mix), we mixed the remaining soft paste well within the bucket.
The texture of the miso paste found below the surface of fungus had also changed significantly since the ingredient mix six months prior. The crushed bean paste was deeper in color and the ingredients appeared more ‘blended’ and pasty in texture than before.
Once we had mixed the miso well and then transferred portions into a more appealing food bowl away from the initial sights of fungus, the taste test was a far more palatable concept.
Like the odour, we found the taste was deep, rich and well developed. The saltiness of the ingredients had somewhat dissipated to blend with the strong nuttiness taste of the soy beans. The DIY custom designed miso taste was definitely unique and tasty!
Our DIY Japanese miso paste fermentation process was a complete success. We produced approximately two Gallons (7.5 litres) (ie: a lot!!!) of extremely tasty miso paste for use in healthy cooking and many Japanese meals ahead.