Red Miso (non-soybean)
Prep time: 
Fermentation time: 
Yield: 2 quarts/2 liters
  • 2 cups/~500 ml (by volume) or 14 oz/400g (by weight) dried beans (chickpeas, adzuki, anasazi or other legume)
  • 20 ounces /567g (by weight) dried firm granular koji
  • ½ cup/125ml plus 1-2 Tbsp. (by volume) or 5 oz/140g (by weight) plus 1 ounce/30ml fine sea salt
  • filtered water
  • 1 Tablespoon/15 ml mature miso
  • half-gallon or larger glass or ceramic vessel
  • jar or wine bottle which fits inside mouth of vessel
  • paper grocery bag, or tight-woven canvas or cloth bag (in which vessel can fit)
  • Stapler
  • masking or packing tape
  1. Soak beans in 2.5 cups/600 ml of filtered water overnight (up to 24 hours).
  2. Drain beans from soaking liquid.
  3. Bring 8 cups/2L of filtered water to a boil, then add beans and reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, until done. (Nothing against soybeans, but they take much longer to cook than other beans-- several hours in a pressure cooker or 5 hours on stove.)
  5. Drain beans, RESERVING 1½ cups of the cooking liquid.
  6. Add beans to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Mash the beans, leaving it somewhat chunky (not as smooth as refried beans).
  8. Dissolve ½ cup of salt in 1½ cups/375 ml of the cooking liquid you reserved. Let brine mixture cool to 100°F/38°C.
  9. Add mature miso to the brine. Stir until it is incorporated.
  10. In a separate bowl, add brine and then stir in koji.
  11. Add koji-brine mixture into beans. Mix well.
  12. Spritz or otherwise wet the inside of the vessel, then add remaining sea salt (1-2 Tbsp.) to the bottom and sides of the vessel.
  13. Pack the vessel with the mixture, ensuring there are no air bubbles in the mixture (they can breed bad mold!) Tap vessel on a towel or wooden cutting board several times to ensure that any air bubbles in the mixture come to the surface.
  14. Add remaining salt to the top layer of the mixture.
  15. Add a weight such as a glass bottle or plate to the top of the mixture. This will weigh it down and allow the tamari to rise to the surface.
  16. Carefully place the vessel into a paper bag. Staple and then tape it shut so no bugs can enter. Write the date on the bag.
  17. Store it in an unheated space (like the garage) for at least six months (until the next cool season), and over one summer. You can ferment as long as 24 months.
One Year Later
  1. Carefully open the bag and remove the vessel. Drain the tamari (if any liquid is formed on the top) into another bowl and then into a bottle. Cherish this!
  2. Remove the weight. Scoop out any funky mold from the top surface.
  3. Pack into another glass jar. Use a layer of parchment paper in between the metal lid and the lip of the jar (miso corrodes metal).
  4. For longest life, store in the refrigerator. Alternately, you can store in the cupboard.
Recipe by Fermenters Club at