Red Miso

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I absolutely love miso and I am looking forward to trying it again as it continues to age. I will periodically update this log at the end of the program and again after it has fermented for 6 months to post how the ferment is coming along and how it taste as it ferments. Since I made red miso, I will be fermenting it for 6+ months, so it will be ready in March 2018.


1 cup pinto beans

1 cup barley koji

60 grams Himalayan pink salt

1 cup warm liquid from cooking beans

1 tablespoon adzuki bean seed miso

Date Prepared: September 16, 2017

Date Harvested: Planned harvest – March 2018

Length of Ferment: 6 months


I soaked the beans in salt water and cooked them until soft. I strained the beans, reserving the cooked water to use as the brine. The beans were mashed and mixed with barley koji. The cooked water was mixed with some of the salt to create a brine solution to moisten the bean and koji mixture into a paste. The remaining salt was used to line to jar and to cover the top layer and weight. I use a piece of parchment paper and glass pebble weight with a pickle pipe airlock.


I ended up discarding my first batch. I added a little too much brine and the consistency was so thin that when I added the parchment paper and pebble weight it just sunk in the jar and allowed the bean mixture to slosh up. The thin consistency also seemed to absorb and displace the salt coating around the jar and since I live along the Pacific North coast, in a temperate, cool and damp climate with excess moisture and mold, I was concerned about the stability. Retrospectively, it would have likely been fine, but I was playing it safe at the time.

10-Week Update:

At 10 weeks, I opened the jar for the first time to check and taste it. There was a very fine layer of mold just starting to grow on the layer that rose above the parchment paper and weight. There were also some little black specks of mold just starting to grow under the parchment paper. I scraped off the top ½-1-inch layer and wiped the residue from the sides. I then dug a little deeper to try a bite. It smelled salty and good like miso usually does, and the beans and koji looked moist and soft like it was fermenting nicely. It tastes pretty good, but I could tell I went a little heavy on the salt. The flavor resembles miso but it isn’t very strong yet and does not have that complex flavor of aged miso; however, it is well on its way and I am looking forward to trying it again in another 2-3 months to see how it evolves.

What Would I Do/Try Differently Next Time

I look forward to trying other beans and white miso. The next time I buy koji I will also switch to the rice koji to change it up.

Red miso with pinto beans and barley koji. 
I use a piece of parchment paper and glass pebble weight with a pickle pipe airlock.

10 Week Update:

Left:  Some of the bean and koji mixture rose above the parchment paper and weight.
Middle:  Light layer of mixture covering glass weight.
Right:  Tiny black spots of mold and a little fuzz forming.

Left:  Scraped off top layer and cleaned the jar.
Middle:  Topped with another layer of salt.
Right:  Covered with fresh parchment paper and ready to ferment some more. I decided to not use the glass weight this time to see if that helps to keep the miso under the parchment paper.

More pics and info coming when I harvest the miso…

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