Miura Fermented Food’s in Japan takes unique steps to make miso. Making miso since 1849, Miura creates a nesashi miso, a variety produced with only fermented soybeans. The locally grown soybeans are steamed in large wooden tubs (called koshiki), then ground and shaped into oblong cakes (namako). When the cakes have cooled, they’re sliced into rounds and placed on straw mats. At this point, traditional miso would be sprinkled with koji mold. But Mirua’s miso is fermented through koji in the straw mat.
Fifth-generation owner, Seiji Miura, describes it: “We just let our miso ferment through the action of the koji present in the straw matting as well as in the storehouse.” The microbes “thrive on the moisture of the sliced miso cakes,” Japan Times notes, and after 40-60 days, the cakes are hard and black and covered in a hairy, white mold. Water and salt is then stirred in with the cakes, this mixture is packed into cedar tubs and left to age for three years.
Miura describes nesashi miso as “similar in character to blue cheese. Just a tiny dab adds surprising depth to a dish’s flavor, and it has sparked interest among chocolatiers and chefs who specialize in French or Italian cuisine.”
Read more (Japan Times)