What miso is made from
When you go to a traditional Japanese restaurant and order a set meal, you may get a bowl of soup. Japanese people have had miso soup for centuries, and Japanese people cannot live without this particular soup. Miso is fermented food like cheese and yogurt and has ample nutrition. But do you know what miso is made from? Miso, which has had a long history with the country, is a fermented food unique to Japan. It’s made by fermenting and aging soybeans as the main ingredient and an excellent seasoning necessary for Japanese meals. Japan’s warm and humid climate condition is suitable for developing microorganisms such as mold, yeast, and bacteria, and various fermented foods have been produced. The representative is miso; also, natto is famous because of its flavor and texture. Miso making is a science, and it’s considered that miso is a piece of artwork produced by microorganisms.
Miso is made from very familiar ingredients to Japanese people, such as soybeans, rice, and salt. And of course, those materials should be accessible to make a large amount of production. In addition to the fact that the materials are familiar to everybody, it is easy to make your own miso. In the old days, it was common to make miso at home instead of buying it outside. Many Japanese people make miso soup every day, so it’s better to make at home and customize with their own preferences. Of course, careful selection of raw materials is indispensable for preparing decent miso.
There are roughly four kinds of miso: rice miso, wheat miso, bean miso, and blended miso. Rice miso and wheat miso are the names given to a koji mold spore ingredients, which are indispensable for making miso. In other words, rice miso refers to be made by mixing soybeans and salt using rice koji mold spore, which is made from rice and is not merely made from rice or rice and salt. Wheat miso also means miso made from soybeans, salt, and wheat koji mold spore. On the other hand, bean miso is made from soybeans, which is the main ingredient, mixed with salt and aged, and does not use rice or barley. In any case, soybeans and salt are always used as raw materials for miso. The rice used for rice miso is paddy rice, and wheat miso is made from raw wheat or barley, and the miso used wheat is not called wheat miso.
There are three main types of miso colors. The first one is a light cream-colored miso called white miso, and the second is light yellow-ish miso represented by Shinshu miso. The last is reddish-brown miso called red miso, which includes Sendai miso, Edo sweet miso, and bean miso. The flavors are different since the production site and ingredients are other. It must be quite interesting to try on various miso to make soup.
It can be said that the taste of miso depends on the miso made in the land where it was born and raised. Miso in Japan is so different in each region. Mainly in the northern Kanto region, Tohoku region, and Hokkaido regions, reddish-brown dry rice miso is produced and is preferred. On the other hand, Shinshu, Hokuriku, and Chugoku regions prefer dry miso with light-colored rice miso. Bean miso is selected in the Tokai area. White sweet miso is picked in the Kinki region centered on Kyoto and the coastal area of the Seto Inland Sea. Wheat miso and blended miso of rice and wheat are preferred in Kyushu and Shikoku areas.