Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

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Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

Postby megmaine on Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:34 pm

I was wondering,,, do we really have to use Koji each time?
I want to make miso, and wondered why we can't use some live miso to get the legume paste inoculated with the aspergillus oryzae mold since it still contains it, instead of starting with koji each time.

Sourdough can be inoculated with a little of the last batch instead of a fresh wild starter each time; is there some reason this doesn't work for miso?

Thanks... I pretty much have to start making miso if I want it as a family staple, because my son is allergic to soy, and chickpea miso is retailing for $10 per tiny tub! We simply can't afford to eat it all the time, if we have to buy it. Buying Koji is all fine and well, but I also keep thinking, "Isn't there some way this can become self-sustaining, rather than a situation where we have to keep buying something?"
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Re: Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

Postby Reece on Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:56 pm

Try it and let me know! I looked for information everywhere on this topic, and could not find any instance of anyone saying this would work. It would be great if it did, though.
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Re: Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

Postby Tim Hall on Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:46 pm

Miso is at least a two-fermentation fermentation. In other words the koji is one fermentation on it's own (for the most part involving only a single strain of inoculum), while the miso (koji, legumes and salt combined) is a mix of wild yeast and bacteria.

The koji culture does NOT survive the salting. In other words you will not be able start new koji from your miso. You certainly can use prepared miso to inoculate new miso with the wild yeasts and bacteria, and you MIGHT be able to use miso to break down other legumes. But the magic to miso is all the powerful enzymes created by the koji which breaks the legumes down into more usable forms of fermentable nutrients.

Also some recipes for miso (especially quick misos) may call for up to 40% or so of the total mass to be koji. So leaving the koji out isn't really making miso.
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Re: Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

Postby megmaine on Tue May 12, 2009 7:13 pm

Reece wrote:Try it and let me know! I looked for information everywhere on this topic, and could not find any instance of anyone saying this would work. It would be great if it did, though.


I tried mixing some of my rather unsustainably expensive storebought chickpea miso, with some freshly made chickpea puree from chickpeas I soaked and boiled, then pureed. Two or three weeks later, it tastes very unusually sweet, but good, and very much like the chickpea miso, but without quite the complexity. Still, it seems the live aspergillus in the miso has been going to town on the fresh chickpea puree in my refrigerator, and it has sweetened the taste of it considerably.

This may not be miso per se, but at least it seems, so far, to be a way of stretching those chickpea miso dollars to the maximum to get that live fermented goodness.
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Re: Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

Postby Tim Hall on Wed May 13, 2009 7:47 pm

Megmaine,
You don't actually have live aspergillus in your mix. What you have are the enzymes produced by the aspergillus...the aspergillus that expired upon salting of the miso. Those enzymes are working to break down the chickpeas you added, but at some point you'll have stretched your enzymes too far. Hence the need for fresh koji to make real miso.

That's not to say that using miso, which is often super packed with enzymes, is an illegitimate way of making foods more digestible. You can also bury veggies in your miso to give them a salty, fermented flavor and help break down some of the harder-to-digest components.
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Re: Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

Postby anahatabalance on Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:28 pm

Yes, you need the koji to make the miso. However, you can buy the koji spores and make the koji yourself. Just nned sushi rice, the koji spores , and someway to control the temp. A dehydrator works well if it has a temp control. With one packaged you can make many quarts of miso and other living foods, too. You can get the koji starter spores (around $6) or fresh made koji from this site the sells culture starters. http://store.anahatabalance.com

Hope this helps,

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Re: Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

Postby ralpharnold2 on Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:22 pm

Hey, the sweetness you mentions seems like a variation on Amazake?
I love to make amazake...inoculate a rice (I use brown sweet rice)
porriage with koji and place in a 140dF environment (my oven at a specific spot below warm on the dial registers 130dF) and in 12 hours or so, is very sweet.

Conceivably, you could use a huge amount of rice in ratio to the
koji and it would only take longer to colonize the rice.
You then mix the rice with your pea/salt mixture/paste and I would
guess it would "miso" out.

I have read that sweet potato paste and sweet potato/rice
both make great amazake. I will try soon, Lord Willing.

My experiments have been with Cold Mountain Koji via buying
locally from a Japanese market. Cold Mountain makes a very
high quality koji, IMO.

Locally, I can buy the koji for about $7.50.US
If you tried making 2 gallons of rice slurry
(8 cups of rice to 24 cups of water simmered for 1 hour or so)
and cooled it down to 140dF and inoculated with the Koji,
it might take a lot longer than 12 hours but would colonize.

I've done similar, but only 1 gallon at a time and it still coloized
in 12 hours or so. Love that amazake!

My thought is that, at this point, one could add extra water with
salt added (proportion?) and let it ferment at room temp
(in darkness) to make Salt Koji...a sauce I'm just now "playing" with
(varying amounts of salt)...

Let's talk more...

Ralph in Gladstone, OR
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Re: Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

Postby fermented-foods-live on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:25 am

Hi, My first two batches of Miso that I wanted to make are all soybean, no rice or grains at all, but oops your son was allergic to soy, ...well I would think that any bean would suffice, tho not as nutrient complete as soybeans. The all soy or bean miso is just directly cultured with the koji starter from Gem on the soybeans! You save the whole 2nd step process by making the beans into the koji and just fermenting those. Tho it says for a year or two. But they took the white mold just fine and turned to yellow a bit, so then I added the salt and seed miso and mashed them and I have high hopes to try them when they are done!! I just made small batches. I love trying new recipes and miso is a complete meal with all the amino acids in it!
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Re: Can't I use leftover live miso to inoculate new?

Postby asharpknife on Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:03 pm

That's really interesting fermentedfoodslive, I hope you'll let us know what the result is like. I'm really keen to try making miso soon, but I don't fancy the fuss of making koji myself, I'd much rather just buy it, but even that's proving very difficult here in the UK. So if your method works fine I'll be going for that.
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