A couple of weeks back we announced that we had received a DIY Miso making pack in preparation for our trek back into Japanese tradition and the ancient techniques of preparing this unique Japanese food. (The earlier story is here).
The DIY Miso kit was purchased from a special Miso manufacturing company called “Komego“, located in Fukui, Japan. (At this stage, the company only supplies the kits to customers within Japan and website and all kit instructions are only written in Japanese.)
A complete step-by-step guide to how we made our Miso paste is provided here. We will update this guide as we continue fermentation and eventually re-mix and finally eat the Miso later in the year.
Japanese are usually very particular about the differing types and tastes of foods as produced by specialist regions of Japan. Miso products are no different. Various types of Miso can be produced with the taste depending on the origin of specific ingredients and the specific regional preparation techniques employed to make the paste.
The origin of techniques for making Miso in Japan are not fully known, but it is believed they were introduced from China around the same time as Buddhism in the 6th century AD. Chinese techniques for making foods resembling Miso are believed to stretch back to the 3rd century, or even earlier. The techniques for perfecting tastes and preparations have varied and developed over the centuries.
Our “Miso making kit” did not contain anything particularly complicated in general. However, the taste and quality of any Miso does vary widely depending on the specific ingredient origins and the methods employed along the entire timeline of the fermentation process. Different Miso preparations can be produced using different fermentation cultures, different types of beans or grains, short or long fermentation times, different preparation temperatures, etc. Similar to wine making, even different types of Miso fermentation containers help entice various flavors into the paste.
If you do not have access to traditional DIY Miso kits from specific areas of Japan however, fear not. Generic ingredients can still be used to get suitable outcomes. These ingredients can usually be obtained from most good Asian food shops in many parts of the world.
In preparation for our particular type of Miso, we unpacked the soy beans we received earlier and made a start on the first process for preparation.
Generally speaking, Miso paste does not require all that much effort to make. It can however, take a long time to mature (in this case approximately 10 months, as we are looking for a very deep and richly fermented taste. Preparations can however, be achieved in as little as five days time).
In starting this particular project towards the end of Winter (considered ideal timing for this particular kit), we expect to get our first taste of matured DIY Miso at the start of next Winter.
The next main ingredient therefore is time! “Be patient”!
Yes kōhai, good things always take time….
***** Update – Half Year Miso Re-Mix *****
(Update — 2015, June 28 – Half Year Re-mix)
See our half year Miso paste project update notes as we re-mix the ingredients after the initial cool period of Winter fermentation.
***** Update – Mission Complete! *****
(Update — 2015, December 2 – Mission Complete! )
Mission complete! See the end result of our home DIY Miso paste fermentation project. It was a complete success and we made extremely tasty Japanese miso.