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Miso Process

Miso Paste is a traditional Japanese seasoning. It is made from Fermented Soybeans, Salt and Kōji. Sometimes, it can have additional ingredients such as buckwheat, millet, rye, rice, barley, seaweed or many other ingredients. It is a Japanese culinary staple with a taste described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity and savoury. Miso is used for sauces, spreads, pickling and mixing with soup stocks to serve as Miso Soup. Fermentation time of Miso paste ranges from approximately five days up to several years, as time goes by, the flavour and intensity will develop, much like you would find with the aging process of Meats, Wines, Whisky, Cheese. Miso is high in protein, rich in a multitude of vitamins and minerals.

What is Kōji? Kōji is the fungus Aspergillus Oryzae, I would suggest researching about Kōji as it is also a very interesting product that makes various Japanese products, such as the Amazake drink, Sake (Rice Wine), Mirin, Soy Sauce.

Miso that is made with Kōji, like our recipe, is either Shinshu miso, Shiro miso, Kome miso. The variations of Miso are different for each region of Japan and by seasons.

This is just a basic explanation of Miso and a light touch into Rice Kōji.

I would like to highlight that Miso is not exclusive to any particular cuisine, I have seen it used in Ice Cream, Roasted Vegetables, Meat, Fish and Sauce just to name a few. It is a very versatile product and fun to work with.

Below is the process we take to make our 3-month Miso, this particular batch made today will be used in February 2023 but can be ready in 10 days since being made.

The first process is to take our soybeans (which arrive to us dried, however fresh soybeans are preferred), we then soak these in cold water for 24 hours in refrigeration. As you can see on the third picture, they expand back to original shape and are then drained off of water and placed into a pan, covered with fresh water and brought to boil until fully cooked.

Once fully cooked, these are then drained and as you can see on the first picture, we have some beans that need to be thrown away, we filter through and discard any bad ones. This is then mashed by hand into a paste, we add salt and continue mashing. After that we will add the Rice Kōji, when the temperature has lowered (which we speed up by using our blast chiller equipment).

Once cooled, we add our Rice Kōji, and continue mashing, resulting in a drier looking paste. We then place this into our Miso storage containers, and at this point, we start patting it down to remove any air bubbles, finally we sprinkle a thin layer of salt over the surface of the Miso Paste, weigh down the Miso Paste and then seal the container up, we then place this in an ambient, dark area for 3 months to allow it to mature. After we open this in 3 months' time, we will then transfer to containers and place into the fridge and use in our food.

Blue Oak Bistro.

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