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BadRabbit

Koji and Garums - NOMA guide to fermentation

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I've been reading the Noma Guide to Fermentation and I'm a little confused as some things don't seem well explained. 

 

Most of the recipes use pearl barley koji (recipe included) and I assume you are meant to use the still somewhat wet version that you have at the end of that recipe. It also tells you how to dry that koji but there are no instructions on how to then use that dried version in the recipes like garum and shoyu. 

 

1) If using the dried version should I pre-rehydrate with a certain percentage of water? Or should I just add water to the recipe and mix? 

2) They say you can use any of the kojis other than barley as substitutes but could you use the dried rice koji that you purchase (pictured below and assuming adjusting for water like in #1) in the garum recipes without the koji fermentation step or would you still need to use the dried koji below to inoculate new rice and ferment?

s-l640.jpg

 

 


Edited by BadRabbit Removing duplicate picture (log)

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5 hours ago, jmolinari said:

The item you show is the exact version i've used to make shio koji and my own fish sauces. It worked well Just crumble it up and add it to your materials.

The item you show is rice with koji mold spore already on it and ready to use.

 

 

Sorry. I realize I may have tried to ask too many questions in my post. 

 

The book recipes for garum, miso and other things uses a koji from a recipe at the beginning of the book (it's a pearl barley that they inoculate with spores from a product like that pictured). That recipe seems to leave a somewhat wet product when done.

 

The subsequent recipes then reference a certain number of grams of that pearl barley koji. Since the wet product would have more mass (and water content) than the equivalent dried version (whether pearl barley dried or the product pictured), how do I convert the recipe (I. e. How much dry product and how much water) vs using the wet product? 

 

Does that make sense? 

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Yes makes perfect sense and honestly I don’t know the answer to that. I haven’t read the koji/garum chapter yet.

 

Personally id do a direct substitution weight for weight. Your koji would be lighter so you’d end up with more enzymes per batch, in theory, but I can’t imagine it would make a huge difference. Maybe it’d be a little faster?

 

this wouldn’t affect the safety aspect, so no issue there. Go for it, take notes, and keep records for next time. 

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Thanks. My concern that it might not work as well because the water activity might be too low for a hospitable environment if I didn't also add a little water. 

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5 hours ago, jmolinari said:

Got it. What are you looking to make?

 

 Most things you’ll apply the koji to are generally pretty moist so it might be a non issue. 

I was starting with the Beef Garum which is just lean beef, pearl barley Koji, water and salt. I feel like I may need to up the water a bit to make sure I still have a wet starting product vs a paste. 

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2 hours ago, jmolinari said:

I’m not sure I’d worry much about it. There is plenty of water in the beef, and the result will just be a richer sauce and how. 

OK. Thanks for your help. Takes 75 days so didn't want to have a mistake ruin the batch.

 

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3 hours ago, jmolinari said:

I’m not sure I’d worry much about it. There is plenty of water in the beef, and the result will just be a richer sauce and how. 

One more thing...

 

Do you know of an inexpensive temperature\humidity logger? Since I'll be keeping this at 140 degrees for 2.5 months, I want a thermometer that will log every hour or so to make sure I don't have any time in the danger zone. Power outages are rare at my home (and generally short lived) but they do happen. 

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18 hours ago, BadRabbit said:

One more thing...

 

Do you know of an inexpensive temperature\humidity logger? Since I'll be keeping this at 140 degrees for 2.5 months, I want a thermometer that will log every hour or so to make sure I don't have any time in the danger zone. Power outages are rare at my home (and generally short lived) but they do happen. 

 

I don't know how you define "inexpensive", but I'd take a look at Thermoworks for a start. Their stuff is good and reliable, and sometimes they have promo codes for sales if you sign up for their emails. Here's a link to their Temp/Humidity Data Loggers page.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

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19 hours ago, BadRabbit said:

One more thing...

 

Do you know of an inexpensive temperature\humidity logger? Since I'll be keeping this at 140 degrees for 2.5 months, I want a thermometer that will log every hour or so to make sure I don't have any time in the danger zone. Power outages are rare at my home (and generally short lived) but they do happen. 

Depending on how geeky you want to get, and what you want to do with the data, you might look at what Vernier has to offer. You'd need to connect it to a computer, tablet, or other hardware interface that has the software to work with it, but if you need to gather data for extended periods of time, they may be the way to go.


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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21 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

I don't know how you define "inexpensive", but I'd take a look at Thermoworks for a start. Their stuff is good and reliable, and sometimes they have promo codes for sales if you sign up for their emails. Here's a link to their Temp/Humidity Data Loggers page.

I should have mentioned that I already looked at Thermoworks (I have quite a few of their products) but ~$200 was more than I wanted to spend (was thinking sub-100) on something where I need pretty basic functionality. I really just want to be sure that my product doesn't drop below 130F over the 10 week period. Aim is to keep at 140F but I'm using a crockpot for the first batch so it won't be really stable like a PID controlled environement. Later I may upgrade to something more robust if I decide that these projects are something I want to continue. 

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Thermoworks Dot "2 x AAA, 5000 hours (1 year typical depending on alarm use)" and some simple time-lapse software preferably run via a laptop so you have  a built in camera and battery backup in case of a power outage.


~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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11 hours ago, BadRabbit said:

I should have mentioned that I already looked at Thermoworks (I have quite a few of their products) but ~$200 was more than I wanted to spend (was thinking sub-100) on something where I need pretty basic functionality. I really just want to be sure that my product doesn't drop below 130F over the 10 week period. Aim is to keep at 140F but I'm using a crockpot for the first batch so it won't be really stable like a PID controlled environement. Later I may upgrade to something more robust if I decide that these projects are something I want to continue. 

 

I think you're asking the wrong question.  While I can speak highly of the ThermoWorks ThermaQ WiFi, do you really want to know 8 weeks in that your batch is ruined?  Get a KitchenAid Precise Heat Mixing Bowl and a UPS.  Granted, with the PHMB you will have to reset it every 10 hours.  I have not found a way around this.

 

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Keep us posted! I'm fascinated by alternative garums/koji ferments, so would love to hear how the beef turns out.

 

From what I've read about koji, you lose somewhere in the ball park of 50% of enzyme activity as soon as the manufacturer dries the koji and throws the product in the fridge. Accounting for weight loss through drying, I imagine if you go 1:1 for beef to koji ratio, there shouldn't be too much of an issue. I went a little higher compared to other recipes in my ferment just in case; I think your only issue would be that the final product might be a little sweeter from extra rice, but hopefully that gets fermented off by the salt-tolerant yeasts. I'd say you can add fresh miso to let them grab a foothold, otherwise it might take longer for them to inoculate from the air.

 

Disclaimer: I'm not a food safety expert.

 

How much salt are you using? If you're above 18% total weight, I don't think you need to worry about hitting the danger zones because the salt content would keep everything safe. For what it's worth, I think most garums and sauces are made just a bit north of room temperature - going 140 F might trash the koji enzymes (and any fermenting microbes) if you're going for several months, vs. if you were doing sous vide and only needing the enzymes for +3 days. I wish I had a copy of the Noma Guide to look through and see what they have to say about garum, I only have their posted articles to work off of.

 

There's a Japanese paper (literally, most of it is in Japanese :( sorry about that, couldn't find a translation I found an English translation!) that says in the abstract that their pork meat sauce (shishibishio) was fermented at 30 C (86 F) for 6 months. So I think you should be fine from a food safety standpoint if you wanted to keep things closer to room temperature without needing temperature and humidity controls. You could raise to 37 - 40 C to give the enzyme and bacteria a speed boost, but that's about it. The only thing I can think of is to keep exposing the ferment to oxygen when you mix to prevent C. botulinum from forming, but your salt should mostly take care of that.

 

I hope that helps!

 

shishibishio-meat-sauce-paper-ENGLISH.pdf


Edited by BryanQuocLe (log)

Bryan Quoc Le

Graduate Student | Food Science | Madison, WI

Editor & Writer | Science Meets Food | Personal Website

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I've got the book last month and this weekend I made my first batch pearl barley Koji with A. luchuensis.

I had it in the fermentation box that is described in the book (except the humidifier) for 33h at 30°C which is a little too high according to NOMA but it still worked.

It had a good citric acid taste and a hint of maybe green apples after it was finished.

in-box.thumb.jpg.b43812974057f9348d1c477e1133ac37.jpg

finished.thumb.jpg.137dfce6f9dfc202d8e25d77999e7106.jpg

 

I've bought my spores from fermentationculture they ship only to people in Europe from Austria which is quite convenient for me.

In the past I bought them also directly from Japan from Kawashima.

spores.thumb.jpg.2aa34a4f15ca7d7ada9782993b7301ea.jpg

 

I don't know what to do with this first batch yet. I fried up some pieces with a little bit of sugar to balance the sourness and it was quite tasty.

Maybe I'll ferment it witch some champagne yeast. Other ideas?

 

 

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Hello all, first official post here.  Hopefully we can all help keep this topic going, as I feel that "The Noma Guide to Fermentation" is quite groundbreaking and I'd love to learn more about fermentation from you guys.

 

I have the same issue as @BadRabbit in trying to use dried product instead of fresh in the recipes.  I purchased dried barley koji from gemcultures.com, which is a product imported from Japan, and wanted to use it specifically for 3 recipes: hazelnut miso, coffee shoyu, and roasted chicken wing garum.  Some of the ingredients I had to purchase were quite expensive (especially the hazelnut meal) so I'm really hoping to do this right the first time.

 

Interestingly enough, I sent a DM to David Zilber himself asking for advice in substituting dried barley koji for his recipes, and he actually got back to me, and replied,

 

"Hey, use half its weight, and then adjust water (or brine accordingly)"

 

So there you go, but I still don't understand what he means by adjusting the water or brine accordingly.  Any thoughts on this?  I tried asking him again for clarification but he hasn't responded since, and frankly he's a busy guy so I'm not going to keep pestering him.

 

Does using half the weight in dried barley koji make sense?  And what do you think he means by adjusting the water or brine?  Thanks all!

 

 

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Half the weight makes sense to me, as a good part of the weight of the fresh is likely to be in moisture. Adjusting the brine, I'd say, would be being prepared to add more, as I'd expect the dried koji to soak up some.

 


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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The salt if the misos are added by % of weight correct? (i dont have the book in front of me). I assume he means your new salt or brine quantity based on you using half the weight of koji.

 

So if you previously did :

1000g hazelnut meal

200g "wet" koji

48g salt (4% of 1200)

 

now you'd use:

1000g hazelnut

100g dry koji

44g salt (4% of 1100)

 

and adjust the moisture with a 4% brine.

 

That's how i'd interpret his answer. and it's a useful one to know!

 

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Thanks for the replies @kayb and @jmolinari.

 

jmolinari, I think you're right here, thanks for the clarification.  So this is what I have for the recipes I'm attempting.

 

1. Hazelnut Miso

original - 1.8kg toasted hazelnut meal, 1.2kg fresh barley koji, 120g salt, 4 percent salt brine

modified - 1.8kg toasted hazelnut meal, 600g dried barley koji, 96g salt, 4 percent salt brine

 

2. Coffee Shoyu

original - 800g fresh barley koji, 200g leftover coffee grounds, 1kg water, 80g salt

modified - 400g dried barley koji, 200g leftover coffee grounds, 1kg water, 64g salt

 

3. Roasted Chicken Wing Garum

original - 1.6kg chicken stock, 2kg roasted chicken wings, 450g fresh barley koji, 480g salt

modified - 1.6kg chicken stock, 2kg roasted chicken wings, 225g dried barley koji, 459g salt

 

Does this sound right?  I'll be preparing the ferments tomorrow.

 

I also have one more question.  The Roasted Chicken Wing Garum recipe references the Beef Garum recipe as a template.  The Beef Garum recipe states that the garum can be fermented directly in the bowl of a rice cooker, assuming it has a capacity that's close to the total volume of the garum mixture.  How important is this?  The Roasted Chicken Wing Garum recipe only mentions fermenting in a container, which is to be placed inside the rice cooker.  I was actually planning to scale down the recipe by one-third, because a 1 litre jar is the best I can fit inside my 8 quart electric pressure cooker (that has a keep warm setting for rice).  The full recipe states to place everything inside a 3 litre vessel; will I be fine doing a full recipe and placing everything in an 8 quart bowl of my pressure cooker instead?

 

Thanks again!

 

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