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    Thread: anyone do home fermentation? "natto"-making fail :-(

    1. 10-21-2014 04:59 AM #1

      So I do a lot of cooking as in meal-preparation etc, but I've never tried making my own foods - eg never done breadmaking, jam-making, etc. I have got hooked on store-bought "natto" recently, which is a Japanese food made from fermenting soy beans. But its expensive so I tried making some "natto" this week myself. And I failed hard! Looking for some advice where I went wrong, and if anyone else has any experience making natto and could give me some advice.

      The ingredients I used were:
      - 1 pack Nattomotto starter culture (powder)
      - Water
      - 500g of frozen edamame beans (out of pods) - frozen from fresh as-picked

      I rinsed the edamame beans, and boiled them for about 10 minutes until they were defrosted and slightly soft. I then did as per the instructional videos I'd found on youtube and sterilised a dish and some spoons. I drained the soy beans, added natto culture to warm water, poured the culture mixture over the beans. Mixed the beans round, put a lod on the pot, put it in my oven at pilot light temp (it hovered about 43deg-46 C) and left it 24 hours.

      What *should* have happened is I should have got a sticky, stringy, stinky fermented bean mix that had a lot of the properties of a fermented/blue cheese, ie looked like commercially bought natto.

      What *actually* happened is I just got some slightly cooked soy beans that showed no sign of fermentation at all, had no stringiness and didnt really smell.

      Can anyone suggest what I might have done wrong here? Anyone got any experience with home fermentation? Thanks!

    2. Member
      Join Date
      Feb 25th, 2004
      E30 Cab & 1.8T Golf
      10-21-2014 08:13 AM #2
      Haven't heard of natto but think I have eaten it before.

      I checked some recipes and it sounds like maybe you are not soaking the beans long enough or boiling them enough.

      Extra water in the beans would make them more prone to rot, which is desired.

      Instructions for Making Natto:

      Wash the soybeans and soak for 9 to 12 hours (longer soaking time recommended during colder months). Be sure to use approximately 3 parts water and 1 part soybeans to allow for expansion. You will end up with 8 to 12 cups of beans.

      Drain the beans from the soaking water. Place beans in a large pot, fill with water and boil for 9 hours.

      Drain the cooked beans and place in a sterilized pot. Dissolve one special spoonful of natto spores into 2 teaspoons of sterilized water.

      Immediately pour the natto spore solution over the beans while the beans are still warm. Stir the beans and water mixture together carefully using a sterilized spoon.

      Place a thin layer of beans in each of the 3 to 4 containers. If at any point during the process some beans are spilled on the counter, etc., discard the spilled beans as they can contaminate the other beans if added back in to the batch.

      Place the sterilized cheese cloth over the top of the containers and place the tight-fitting lid over the cheese cloth. Preheat the oven, dehydrator, or KOTATSU Japanese Warmer to 100°F.

      Place the covered containers in the oven, dehydrator, or warmer and allow the natto to ferment for 22 to 24 hours being sure to keep the temperature steady at 100°F.

      At the conclusion of the fermentation period, let the natto cool for a couple of hours, then remove the lid and the cloth, replace the lid, and store the containers in the refrigerator at least overnight. The Natto can be consumed as early as the next morning and are often served as a Japanese-style breakfast. Natto can also be aged in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

      Smaller portions of finished natto can be stored in the freezer and thawed for later use.

    3. 10-21-2014 08:17 AM #3
      Thanks for the reply

      Quote Originally Posted by smittyATL View Post
      I checked some recipes and it sounds like maybe you are not soaking the beans long enough or boiling them enough.
      I think in some of those recipes though the beans are being prepared from dry bean packets, where you do need to soak them overnight etc and boil them longer, to rehydrate them. These are edamame (young) fresh soy beans, picked when moist and then flash frozen, so there is no need to soak them - I've used the same beans before in various "normal"/unfermented cooking ways, and 10 minutes is sufficient (and is what is advised on the packet) to cook them. Any longer and they just turn to mush.

      Quote Originally Posted by smittyATL View Post
      Extra water in the beans would make them more prone to rot, which is desired.
      OK, that's interesting. I certainly kept the beans moist since they had condensation on the pan surfaces and "looked" moist but perhaps I didn't keep them quite moist enough?

      I'll have another bash with more water added this time, if no-one else has any other clues what I might have done wrong here?

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