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Rinse soybeans and place in plenty of cold water in the refrigerator overnight. Strain presoaked beans and place into a large pot. Cover with fresh cold water and place on stove. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 3 hours, or until the beans are just soft enough to squish between your fingers. Take care not to overcook the beans; you will want them to be al dente (have a bit of tooth). Also, as the beans cook periodically skim to remove scum and skins.
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While the beans are cooking, take the koji out of the freezer. When the beans have almost finished cooking, sanitize the grinder parts (or masher), buckets, and utensils that are going to be in contact with the miso.
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Set up the grinder. Strain the bean cooking liquid into a bucket and reserve the beans.
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Keeping as sterile as possible, grind the beans into the large mixing bowl.
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Measure the salt.
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Mix in the salt and allow the temperature of the ground beans to drop to 100 degrees F (check with a thermometer). If the ground beans are too hot, they will kill the bacteria in the koji!
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Mix in the koji.
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Mixing in the koji.
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Mix in the reserved bean cooking liquid, a little bit at a time, until you can form a loose ball that holds its shape with the mixture.
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Pack miso tightly into the crock or bucket to eliminate air spaces.
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Cover the surface of the miso with plastic wrap.
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Fill a small trash bag with enough water to comfortably press down on the whole surface of the miso. Tie it closed and place in another bag. Tie the second one closed. Place them in your fermentation container. The goal here is to create a weight on top of the miso to keep air out.
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Wrap the whole business up in plastic wrap and place in a warm place. (Ideal conditions are 90-100 degrees F for the first month. Room to cellar temperature thereafter.) Check once a week for progress and possible contamination. Taste at 1 and 2 month intervals (you’re tasting for any off flavors). Ferment for 2 months (at minimum!), more is okay! Enjoy!
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