Wondering about how to make miso? It’s actually easier than you expect! Homemade miso is so tasty that you will want to eat it straight from the jar!
A few notes on the recipe
To be honest, miso is not as quick and simple as other fermented foods. However, it is not difficult to make. And it is really reliable.
So if you’re new to fermenting, why not try making miso!
Here are a few things to consider:
- The most difficult part is waiting for it to finish fermenting. It is ready between 6 and 12 months. Though I’m often impatient and open a jar after just 3 months. Young miso is sweeter and not as richly flavored.
- The flavor and colour of miso are influenced by the ingredients, fermentation time, and culture. Check out this post on the types of miso to find out more.
- The recipe below can be made with white koji rice, brown koji rice, or koji barley. It’s fine to use soybeans, chickpeas, or black beans. It is a very robust, so feel free to experiment! The only thing I don’t recommend is reducing the salt or changing the proportion of grain to beans. That would require a different recipe.
Fermentation Container Options
Miso can be made in pretty much any type of container, including wooden barrels or ceramic crocks. Here are some options for the home fermenter:
- Crocks: It is traditional to use large crocks with a weight. Cover the crock with a tea towel to keep insects out. Since this is such a long ferment, I recommend avoiding crocks with uncertain origins. Some glazes contain heavy metals, which may leach during 12 months of use.
- Fido Jars: Miso is primarily an anaerobic ferment, so it’s fine to use a fermentation-specific container like fido jars.
- Regular Mason Jars: I usually make miso in regular mason jars, because they’re the right size for everyday use (after fermenting). I divide the batch between two quart-sized jars so that I still have a batch to continue fermenting after I impatiently dive into the miso!
- Weights: Commercial glass weights are available. However, I have also used rocks set inside small jam jars. If you want to use rocks, just boil them for 5 minutes to completely remove any risk of contamination.
How to Enjoy Your Miso
Homemade miso is a tasty all-purpose seasoning. Honestly, it’s so delicious you may even want to use it as a dip, straight from the jar!
If you aren’t quite sure what to do with miso paste (beyond making traditional soup) then here are a few ideas:
- Soups: Add it to chicken soup or a Japanese noodle bowl.
- Vegan Foods: Miso is a great way to add a bit of umami to vegan foods. Use it to add flavor to gravy or a creamy pasta sauce.
- Salads: It adds depth and flavor to a simple salad. Try a quick 3-ingredient salad dressing or a carrot miso salad.
- Culturing other fermented foods: One of my favorite ways to use miso is as a culture for beans and nuts. For example, you can use it to ferment hummus, cashew spread, or white bean dip.
How to Make Miso
Homemade miso is so delicious that you will want to eat it straight from the jar with a spoon! While it takes a long time to ferment, the process itself is actually very simple. See the section above for details on the different types of miso and how to use this recipe.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 1 quart jar 1x
- Category: Condiment
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Diet: Vegan
- Soak the beans overnight.
- Drain the water then cook the beans until they are soft. Soybeans will take about 2 hours, and other beans are closer to 45 minutes.
- Drain the beans, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water.
- When the beans have cooled to room temperature, place them in a large mixing bowl with the koji rice, 1/2 cup of salt, and reserved cooking water.
- Mash everything together by hand or with a potato masher. You want the rough texture of hand mashing, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Then pack the mashed beans and rice into fermentation container. Make sure you have at least 1 inch of the headroom because the liquid will bubble up during the fermentation. See the section above for different fermentation container options.
- Sprinkle another teaspoon of salt on the top of the packed in beans and rice.
- Use a weight to keep everything weighed down during fermentation. It will slowly produce a layer of dark brown liquid called tamari, which can be drained off after fermenting to be used like soy sauce. (Yum!)
- Place the fermentation container in a cool, dark location to ferment for 6-24 months. A basement or closet is perfect.
- Store the miso in the fridge once you start using it. It should last for several years.
- The secret to ensuring that everything ferments nicely is to sanitize the fermentation container(s) prior to use. I usually just fill them with boiling water which is enough to kill any surface bacteria and mold.
- Miso is a mold, yeast, and bacterial ferment. Adding a bit of mature miso provides the necessary yeast and bacterial culture. When making your first batch, it’s fine to use store-bought miso. Look for brands that are refrigerated as they will be unpasteurized and alive.
- Want to get deep into the world for fermenting? Try making your own koji rice.
Keywords: homemade, diy, vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, traditional, savory, nut free