Haccho miso (八丁味噌)

    Miso, a popular ingredient in Japanese cooking, comes in many different types, each with its own unique flavors and characteristics. Today, we’re going to learn about one specific type called Hatchō Miso. It has a special story and way of making it that sets it apart from other miso varieties. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of Hatchō Miso, explore its traditional production methods, and uncover the secrets behind its distinctive flavor.

    What is Haccho Miso?

    Hatchō Miso is a type of traditional Japanese miso that originates from the Hatchō region of Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. It is renowned for its distinctive characteristics and requires a long fermentation period.

    Hatchō Miso is made primarily from soybeans and salt, with no additional ingredients. Skilled artisans cook and mash the soybeans, mix them with salt, and ferment the mixture for a minimum of two years, often longer. This extended fermentation process imparts Hatchō Miso with a unique flavor profile, characterized by rich and intense umami notes, deep earthy flavors, and a slightly tangy and robust aroma. It serves as a versatile ingredient used in various Japanese dishes and condiments.

    History

    Miso Oden

    The history of Hatchō Miso dates back to the early Edo period of Japan. Kyuemon Hayakawa, the founder of Hatchō Miso, originally served as a samurai under Imagawa Yoshimoto. However, following the defeat of the Imagawa clan in the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, Kyuemon sought refuge in a temple located in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, and decided to leave his samurai life behind. He adopted the name Kyuemon and learned the art of miso-making during his time at the temple.

    Generations later, Kyuemon’s descendants relocated to a village situated approximately 870 meters west of Okazaki Castle, which eventually became known as Hatchō Village. In the year 1645, during the Shoho era, they established their miso-making business there. The miso they produced, named after the village, gradually gained recognition and came to be known as “Hatchō Miso.”

    Hatchō Miso distinguishes itself with a unique production process and stringent quality standards. It is exclusively from soybeans and salt, without the addition of rice. The fermentation and aging period for Hatchō Miso is notably long, lasting a minimum of two years and sometimes extending up to three years. This extended fermentation contributes to the development of deep, rich flavors and distinctive characteristics that are characteristic of Hatchō Miso.

    Understanding the Varieties of Miso in Japanese Cuisine

    Miso is one of the Japanese food products that retain the most regional and local characteristics. Among them, “Akamiso (red miso), Akadashi (red soup), Mamemiso (bean miso), and Hatchōmiso” are terms used to refer to miso with darker (red or black) colors, but it can be somewhat confusing to understand the differences. So, let us explain briefly.

    Akamiso (Red Miso)

    Red miso

    As the name implies, it encompasses miso that exhibits a reddish (dark) color in appearance. The determination is not based on the ingredients or manufacturing method but solely on the reddish (dark) color. While the judgment is predominantly color-oriented nationwide, Aichi Prefecture also associates Akamiso with Mamemiso.

    Akadashi (Red Soup)

    miso to soup

    Generally, it refers to a concentrated blend of Mamemiso (bean miso) with rice miso and seasoning (dashi) that has a darker color. Some may include ingredients like corn syrup or caramel coloring. In general, people understand miso to contain seasoning (such as dashi), although some types may not include it.

    Mamemiso (Bean Miso)

    mame miso

    Mamemiso production involves exclusively soybeans, salt, and water, with no utilization of rice. The process involves inoculating soybeans with koji mold, called “mamekoji,” and allowing them to ferment for an extended period. This particular type of miso ages for 1 to 3 years and is primarily enjoyed in the Tokai region, which includes Aichi, Gifu, and Mie Prefectures. It is important to note that Mamemiso, in this context, specifically refers to Akamiso.

    Hacchomiso

    Initially, Hatchōmiso denoted the miso made in Hatchō Village, which is around 800 meters from Okazaki Castle in Aichi Prefecture’s Okazaki City. Hatchōmiso is the designated name for miso that fulfills the specific criteria established by the government concerning production techniques, ingredients, and aging. Mamemiso undergoes a natural fermentation process lasting more than 18 months in wooden barrels, employing traditional methods of miso ball production.

    To summarize, here are the key points:

    • Misos with darker (red) colors made in Japan are Akamiso.
    • Mamemiso, also known as Akamiso, is a type of miso aged for a long period and made solely from soybeans and salt, without rice.
    • Hatchōmiso is the name of miso produced in Aichi Prefecture that meets specific standards set by the government.
    • Akadashi, or Akadashi Miso, refers to miso that combines Mamemiso (bean miso) with rice miso and seasoning.

    Organic Haccho Miso

    出典: Hikari Miso 公式サイト

    Hikari Miso Co., Ltd. is a renowned miso producer that has been crafting high-quality miso for generations. One of their notable offerings is Hikari Haccho, a premium variety of Hatchō Miso. Hikari Haccho Miso is popular for its exceptional flavor and traditional production methods.

    Made from carefully selected soybeans and salt, Hikari Haccho Miso follows the time-honored recipe of Hatchō Miso. It undergoes a meticulous fermentation and aging process, lasting two to three years, resulting in a miso with deep umami notes and a hint of bitterness and sourness.

    In addition to their Haccho line, Hikari Miso also produces an organic version called “Organic Miso Haccho.” This organic miso is solely from organic soybeans cultured with koji mold. It offers the same authentic taste and characteristics of Hikari Haccho, while catering to those seeking organic and sustainable food choices.

    Whether used in traditional miso soup, udon noodle soup, or as an ingredient in various dishes, Hikari Haccho and their organic product exemplify the commitment to quality and the rich culinary heritage of Hatchō Miso.

    Haccho Miso FAQ

    Can Hatchō Miso be used in dishes other than miso soup?

    Absolutely! Hatchō Miso is versatile and can be used in various dishes. It adds depth and umami to stews, marinades, glazes, and dressings. It can enhance the flavor of noodle soups, stir-fries, and even be incorporated into sauces like Katsu sauce for a unique twist.

    Does the flavor of Hatchō Miso change with the duration of fermentation?

    The flavor of Hatchō Miso deepens and becomes more complex with longer fermentation, resulting in a darker, richer miso. This extended fermentation process contributes to its unique taste profile, featuring deep umami, subtle bitterness, and sourness.

    The procedure to make Haccho Miso

    STEP
    Soybean Preparation
    STEP

    Select high-quality soybeans and remove any impurities.

    STEP

    Wash the soybeans thoroughly. Optionally, polish the soybean skins to achieve the desired color of the miso.

    STEP
    Soybean Steaming
    STEP

    Soak the washed soybeans in water to allow them to absorb moisture.

    STEP

    Steam-cook the soaked soybeans in a rotating pressure cooker to soften the texture and facilitate the koji mold’s enzymatic action.

    STEP
    Rice Preparation
    STEP

    Ensure the rice is free from bran, dust, and foreign matter.

    STEP

    Polish the rice to remove any remaining impurities.

    STEP

    Steam the polished rice in a rice steamer to gelatinize the starch and denature the proteins.

    STEP
    Koji Production
    STEP

    Inoculate the cooled steamed rice with the spores of yellow koji mold through seed inoculation.

    STEP

    Transfer the rice to an automatic disc koji-making machine, maintaining suitable temperature and humidity for microbial activity.

    STEP

    Allow the koji mold to propagate for approximately 40 hours.

    STEP


    Remove the finished koji and store it in a koji stocker to prevent further growth and maintain quality until use.

    STEP
    Miso Mixing
    STEP

    Minced soybeans, koji, and salt are accurately measured and mixed using an automatic weighing and mixing machine.

    STEP

    Thoroughly blend the mixture to ensure even distribution of ingredients.

    STEP
    Fermentation and Aging
    STEP

    Transfer the prepared miso to large stainless steel tanks.

    STEP

    Allow the miso to undergo fermentation and aging, typically for several months to develop its unique flavors.

    STEP
    Quality Control
    STEP

    Implement stringent quality control measures throughout the process to ensure the final product meets the desired standards.

    STEP

    Monitor and regulate temperature, humidity, and other factors to maintain optimal fermentation conditions.

    出典: https://www.hikarimiso.co.jp/enjoy-miso/soy/ 

    Recommended Restaurants

    Ichibanya (壱番屋)

    View inside of Ichibanya
    出典: Ichibanya 公式サイト

    You can find “Tonkatsu Ichibanya” at Otori Riverside Terrace. They serve Miso Katsu made with Hachinohe miso. Their specialty is Tahara pork, which is carefully chosen. It has a low melting point of around 35 degrees, making it less likely to build up in your body. It offers a refreshing taste. The crispy breaded tonkatsu goes perfectly with the sweet and savory Haccho miso sauce!

    Address (Headquarters): 2 Chome-14番1 Kamimyodaijicho, Okazaki, Aichi
    Phone number: +81564220270
    Business hours: Close on Tuesdays
    11:00〜15:00 (LO: 14:30)
    17:30〜21:30 (Reservation only)
    Website: http://tonkatsu-ichibanya.com/

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