New Year’s Miso

On New Year’s Day, January 1, 2016, I made miso to ferment throughout the year. For my first attempt, I followed instructions from Preserving the Japanese Way by Nancy Haschu Singleton to the letter during the miso preparation. As it has aged, I’ve also read up on Sandor Katz’s instructions and guidance on making Miso in The Art of Fermentation as he offers a different and helpful supplemental perspective. Miso as Singleton writes about it is a seasonal ferment, begun in the winter, aged through summer, and enjoyed in fall, while Katz offers a bit more information for trouble shooting in different temperatures and environments.

So far I’ve been really pleased with the results, and have started eating the miso while leaving an additional quantity to mature further. Next I’d like to try chickpea miso, barley miso, and maybe even a black bean miso!

An ongoing notation of my first miso ferment is below!

  • 1/1/16: Followed instructions in Preserving the Japanese Way by Nancy Haschu Singleton for miso (will update with instructions). Cut volume in half. Packed into a 2 gallon bucket, probably filled half way. Weighted with overturned plate and jars (about 80 oz) filled with water. Covered with layered cheesecloth, in basement for storage in the dark at a winter temperature range of 60-50° F, low air circulation.
  • 2/1/16: Pressed down on weights. Faint fermentation aroma, smelled nice!
  • 2/14/16: Checked underneath the plate to evaluate moisture. The miso is still a good damp stiff paste. Art of Fermentation cautions against fermenting miso in a Western house, as heated homes are drier and warmer than traditional miso fermentation conditions. However I think my basement is a colder temperature than most! Closer to true winter conditions. Check again late March.
  • 4/16: Stirred miso.
  • 6/16: Stirred miso. Beginning to taste sweet, ambient temperatures higher.
  • 8/15/16: Stirred miso, transferred to another container. Tastes delicious! Salty, earthy, sweet and moist. Color has begun to darken additionally from the Spring. Removed some to eat over the next few months (stored in fridge) and moved remainder to new container repacked with a water weight.

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