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Mash

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Figure 12-4. Miso flow chart.

succinic acids. The longer the miso ferments, the lower the sugar concentration. However, the total acid concentrations in the finished miso generally are less than 1% and the pH is usually not less than 5.0. About 0.1% to 1% ethanol and 1% to 2% glycerol may be formed during the yeast fermentation.

Miso fermentations are conducted in tanks at 25°C to 30°C.Temperature control and mechanical stirring are common features in many factories. Fermentation can be as short as one month or less to more than two years.Transfer-ring the miso from one tank to another is often done to promote a homogenous fermentation. When the fermentation and aging period is complete, the miso is re-mashed and packaged into small plastic tubs or bags (about 400 g to 500 g capacity). The miso can then either be left in its raw state or subjected to a short-time heat treatment. While pasteurization does enhance shelf-life by preventing package swelling (due to gas formation), this is strictly an optional practice.To many consumers, raw miso is much preferred, based on the putative health properties conferred by the live microorganisms. In this respect, miso is viewed much like yogurt, in that any heat step that inactivates microorganisms is tantamount to blasphemy.

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