Japanese ingredients for your healthy life

How to make Miso

The process of making miso

Miso is a fantastic Japanese food. It is a food that has become synonymous with Japanese cooking and is symbolic of the style of food that Japanese prepare and love. The method of making miso dates backs centuries and in the time that has followed many different types of miso, each one having its own unique characteristics have been developed in the different regions of Japan but the basic method has always been and remains very similar. We will look at this method in a little more detail today to get an idea of how to make miso paste.


The basic method is relatively simple, itfs just that it take a really long time. Miso is very similar to foods like yogurt and cheese in that it has bacteria added to it. Generally, soybeans are mashed together and have a bacteria added to the paste. This is left to ferment for months resulting in what we call miso. This process of fermentation doesnft just create a unique and delicious flavoured paste, one of the spin offs is the creation of many ggoodh bacterias that help the stomach. Like other fermented products such as Natto (fermented soybeans), miso has bacteria that the stomach needs to improve itself. It is said by some professionals that miso can actually help to prevent womenfs risk of breast cancer and control estrogen in womenfs bodies.


Nowadays, miso is very, very easy to find in shops all around the world. It is commonplace to find miso in regular supermarkets is many countries now, and if it canft be found there then can be found in Asian or Japanese supermarkets. For this reason, many people just buy it from the shops and have a perfectly good product at their disposal. Many people choose to make their own as well. Especially in Japan, it is quite a common thing for families to make their own to taste and homemade miso certainly is great.

Key steps

Letfs go into a little more detail on the method of making miso. To make miso, we need whole soybeans, clean water, salt and dried rice koji. Rice koji is a very important ingredient as this will do all the work for us. Rice koji is rice fermented with special moulds and this will ensure the miso is fermented.


Because the process takes a long time and involves a long period of fermentation, it is very important that all utensils and apparatus is clean so as not to warm and produce the wrong kinds of bacteria. This means that utensils and so on are generally rinsed in boiling water.


To begin, whole soybeans are soaked in water for a few hours, this process turns the hard small soybeans into large soft beans with a lot of moisture. The soybeans are then put into pressure cookers and cooked until the soybeans become completely soft, at this point they are soft enough that if you push down on them they will completely fall apart. The beans are then transferred to colanders and the water they are boiled in retained. Following this the soybeans are then made into a puree. If making a home, one would use a potato masher, and made commercially, the soybeans are put into large special machines to mash them up. The beans are then cooled down to around 40 degrees celsius. The next step is to dissolve salt in the water that the soybeans were soaked in, add this to the mashed soybeans mix and mix in. Koji is then broken up and added in and the total mixture is mixed together until there is an even mixture of all the ingredients.


This mixture is then put into special ceramic containers lined with salt for the fermentation process. The miso is leveled out and has extra salt put on the surface to ensure unwanted bacteria is kept out. This is then covered up well and left to ferment. These containers are kept in temperature controlled rooms that sit around 20 degrees celsius. Fermentation starts immediately and after about six months the end product is ready to be eaten.


In the olden days, miso was generally produced by small independent shops specialized in the art of making miso. Different shops offered their own miso products and different regions in Japan specialized in different methods giving variations of miso. In time gone by, the process was much harder as soybeans had to be cooked in open fires instead of pressure cookers and it was harder to keep the product in the right conditions than it is today.

Fantastic variations

There are six main types of miso in Japan each with special characteristics. A very well known type is shiromiso which means white miso This is made from soybeans, barley and rice. This is known for its delicious sweet taste. This type of miso is fermented over a shorter timeframe than other miso products. Another type of miso is mugi miso which translates to barley miso, this miso is known for it pungent and unique smell. In the eastern part of Japan, they produce a yellowish coloured miso called komemiso (which translates to rice miso) This particular variety is made from soybeans and rice. Another type of miso is mame miso, a name which means soybean miso. This type of miso has a darker, brownish looking colour and is particularly delicious. The taste is less sweet than some other varieties and offers a more savoury taste. It takes a long time to ferment. The miso that is usually aged for the longest time is known as aka miso or red miso in English. The variation gets its red colour from the length of time it ferments, fermenting this long changes it from a whitish colour to red. This type is quite strong tasting and particular salty. Lastly, shougou miso (translated as mixed miso in English) can take on many forms as it is a mixture of the key ingredients from other miso types like, rice, soybeans and barley.


Miso is such an interesting food. The process which makes it creates many health properties and allows for many great variations of miso through shortening or lengthening how long itfs fermented for. If youfre keen to try making miso yourself, give it a go.