Archives for posts with tag: Tane koji

Dried and packaged for later use.

And now the second batch is up drying, and the third batch is inoculated and in the incubator. It’s kind of like a conveyor belt operation, but with little hands on work. If the conditions are right the aspergillus mold grows very well on it’s own.

The first batch of koji was done last evening. The harvest was good and of good quality.

Now it’s spread out drying above the warm water pipes and the next batch is already in the incubator growing.

It’s growing very well.

It looks good – a nice powdery white color. It smells good – a sweet grapefruity, slightly sour aroma fills the room (and house). It tastes good – sweet like amazake. It has a good consistancy – it cakes together in one big clump, but breaks apart easily. The humidity factor is good – slighty dry especially on the surface and does not have any gooeyness.

Now to mix in air, and the dryer surface rice with the moister rice from the bottom and put it back in the heat cabinet (30 degrees C) for the last 12 hours.

In the meantime I’ll get ready for the next batch.

Last evening I took the soaked rice and steamed it.

After cooling, I inoculated it with spores of aspergillus oryzae from Higuchi Shoten in Japan.

Then put it into the incubator.

This morning I took the containers out to check, break up clumps and mix in air.

This procedure happens every morning and evening for 2 days (48 hours) until done, and I have the next batch ready to go. The harvested koji will then be dried for later use.

The last batch of koji for this year is put out to dry.

I’ve gone through about 15 kilos barley, 10 kilos rye, and 16 kilos of rice turning it into koji. Some has already been made into miso, some has been sold, a little more will be made into miso and the rest will be saved to sell or make into miso in the fall.

The koji making season is over for this year. Now it is time to start planting seeds.

This morning I started the fourth batch of rice koji.

Growth is good with the new package of starter (tane koji) from Higuchi.

Now I have a half kilo ready to send off to a costomer.

At about this time last year I got the idea of trying rye for koji making. I had my grain farmer run the rye grains through the husking machine he uses for barley. It worked fine, so I made 3 batches of rye miso. The first one, a 6 month miso, was good and now long eaten up. The second, a 1 year miso is now open and it is great. It has a flavor of it’s own.

There is a 2 year miso too, to open next year.

In the mean time I must get busy and make more rye koji and rye miso.

It grew very well

I’ll make some with the other barley tane koji too – and a couple batches of 2 year rye miso.

I opened one of those old tane koji packages I found recently. It’s about 30 years old but maybe still viable.

It grew slowly, if at all.

After the normal 48 hours:

So I let it grow another 12 hours

It turned out quite good, however slow and weak.

The problem is, I was not very scientific. Everything else was the same, including the uncleaned trays, which could very well have inoculated the barley from spores left from earlier batches. I’ll try again later with well cleaned trays. In the meantime I’ll stick to new bought tane koji.

The first batch of barley koji made with the Gem Cultures starter.

Compare this with the barley koji made with Higuchi starter.

Not much difference, but here’s a close up of the first

And the latter

The Gem Culture starter produces a greener koji, and it has a stronger sporulation, which can produce quite a cloud when harvesting and using.

Be careful!

The koji looks pretty good after 2 days of growing.

This year I’m using tane koji starter from Higuchi. It’s the one they call ‘barley yellow koji’. This one sporulates yellow while the one I used last year from Gem Cultures sporulates green and more profusely. That will probably make this years barley miso a lighter color and perhaps a slightly different flavor. It will be interesting to watch it develop over the next two years. But first I have to dry the koji for later use.