Homemade Miso

Once upon a time, miso was commonly made at home. Each household had its own recipe.

Homemade Miso
Photographed by TAISUKE SUZUKI

Recipe by
Kyoko Ogino


Beans & Tofu



Calorie count is for full recipe.
Excludes time spent fermenting the miso.


  • 250 g soy beans (dried)
  • 250 g komekoji (fresh)
  • 125 g coarse salt



Put the soy beans in a bowl and pour in enough boiling water to cover.


Putting the beans in hot water will make them swell somewhat, causing wrinkles in their skins.


Immediately strain the soy beans.


Put the soy beans in a pot, fill the pot with water, and heat over high heat. When it reaches a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 3 hours, adding water as necessary while simmering as the water level drops. Strain the simmered soy beans, reserving 200 ml of the water they were cooked in.


The beans should be cooked until they are soft enough to crush by pinching them between your fingers.


Place a plastic food bag inside of another plastic food bag, to make two layers, then place the beans inside the inner bag while they are still hot. Use a rolling pin to mash the soy beans into a paste (or, if desired, leave some not completely crushed for a "chunkier" end result).


You can also crush the beans by pressing with your fingers through the bags.


Remove the outer plastic food bag and place the fresh koji and coarse salt inside of it. Use your fingers to knead them together through the bag.


Add the mixture of salt and koji to the mashed soy beans, then knead together through the bag to integrate.


Place the plastic food bag filled with the soy bean mixture inside of the other, now-empty plastic food bag to make a two-layered bag, then add the reserved soy bean water a small amount at a time. Continue to knead through the bag after each time you add the bean water in order to integrate it, adding enough to bring the contents of the bag together.


Press the contents of the inner bag toward the bottom of the bag to press out the air inside it, and tie shut. Press out the air from the outer bag and tie it shut as well.


Place the tied-shut bag into a metal tray or other container, and store in a cool, dark place for 5-6 months (or 4-5 months in summer) to ferment. Once or twice each month, open the bags to let air in, and knead the contents through the bag to turn them upside-down inside the bag. When the miso is finished fermenting, transfer it to a storage container and store in the refrigerator.


As the contents of the bag ferment, moisture will seep out of the mixture, which should be kneaded back in through the bag. This moisture is known as "tamari," and is rich in umami. If the tamari is poured off, it can be used as a condiment like soy sauce. Turning the contents of the bag upside-down allows for even fermentation and improved flavor. After you finish massaging the fermenting mixture, tie the bags shut and return it to the cool, dark storage place. If the bag is stored someplace too warm, the fermentation will happen quickly, and the bags may fill with air. If that happens, after turning the contents upside-down, you don't need to tie the bags shut, but instead roll them shut to still keep unwanted materials out.


Miso Ingredient Proportions:
1:1:0.5 soy beans:komekoji (fresh or dry):coarse salt

You can use these proportions to make any amount that you want.

Ready to Eat: After 5-6 months (or 4-5 months in summer).
To Store: Will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 year