Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Years Day, No-Soy Miso Club

The inaugural meeting of The Victoria New Years Day Miso Club didn't go exactly as expected, but it was a great deal of fun.

Two types of Soy Free Miso were made:

One gallon batch of One Year Chickpea Mugi Miso

  • 1 kilo dry chickpeas cooked with kombu
  • 500g Mugi (barley) koji cultured with spores from GEM cultures
  • 200g Salt
  • 1 Tbs South River Chickpea Miso
Stored in a cool place, my garage, protected from temperature extremes.  To be opened Jan 1st 2016.

Mashing chickpeas

About 1.5 ltrs, 2 month Lentil Mugi Miso
Stored in my pantry at room temperature.  To be opened last week of February.

For both misos, I used the instructions in The Art of Fermentation by Katz.

I'm a bit nervous about these, not just because it's my first time making a year long miso.  But because the koji grew on the barley with surprisingly enthusiasm.  Instead of stopping when the barley was white, I let it grow olive in colour, which means the koji mold was getting ready to produce spores.  Some people seem to think it should be great when used, others seem to believe it will impart an unpleasant flavour to the miso.  We shall see.

The other thing I did differently was to line the miso vat with a huge, food safe plastic bag.  Now I strongly dislike using plastic with my food, but this time I decided to try it because I was curious to learn if it actually makes the miso better.  We put the miso in the plastic lined vat as per usual, then press it down well to remove any extra air, then tie the bag tightly before weighing it down.  Like they do in this video.

The other reason I did this is because I don't know if there is any lead in the glaze of the crock I'm using, and I didn't feel comfortable having the food touch it for a whole year.

On re-watching the video, I realized I also made my miso a wetter than they did.  Hmm,  I'll make dryer miso next time.

Affordable (a very rough estimate):

Chickpea Mugi Miso
$7 for the chickpeas
$3 for the barley koji
$1 for salt, kombu, &c.
Total $11 for one gallon

Lentil Mugi Miso
$1.25 for the lentils 
$1 for the barley koji
$0.75 for the salt, &c.
Total: $4 for about one quarter gallon

Of course, it doesn't need to be this expensive, there are more affordable sources of beans and barley.  Mine was this much because I bought many of my ingredients locally, or when imported, from small, family run grocery stores.  

Traditional and Transitional, these two go hand in hand.  Both rely on locally sourced materials and skills you can practice in your own home.

As for allergies, these recipes are flexible.  You can use any bean you like, almost any grain you like, and there is even miso made without beans, and miso made without rice.  Most of the recipes are in The Book of Miso.

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