Barley Miso

Barley miso is traditionally known as “rural miso”, and miso soup made with authentic barley miso has a characteristically hearty and warming flavor. Barley miso is also distinguished by its barley aroma, which derives from the Koji, which has been inoculated on organic barley. Barley miso is the ideal choice for soups, stews, sauces, and more.

Mitoku is offering a range of Organic Barley Miso and each one has a unique color and taste. The differences are resulted from their Master Miso Brewers, each of whom are committed to a manufacturing process or recipe unique to the area or themselves, based on experience built up through generations. The entire range is organic and GMO free.


  • Organic Marukura Barley Miso

    • Organic
    • Kosher

    One of the organic barley miso offered by Mitoku is crafted by Marukura, located in a warm-hearted rural village in southwest of Japan, over 600 km from Tokyo. They are …

  • Organic Barley Miso

    • Organic
    • Kosher

    Available in cup or bulk

  • Organic Hayakawa Barley Miso

    • Organic
    • Kosher

    Available in bag or bulk

What is Koji?

Ask any miso maker and the answer will be the same: great miso cannot be made without great Koji. That’s how essential Koji is to the production of miso. But just what is Koji?

Salt and Miso

Salt is a vital part of the fermentation process; its addition to the miso mixture halts the propagation of the Aspergillus oryzae, while simultaneously creating an environment that allows healthy, probiotic bacteria to thrive and kick-starting the decomposition process, while keeping harmful bacteria at bay.

The Colour of Miso

When miso is stored, it will gradually darken in color over time, but this does not affect the quality or safety of the miso. 

Storing Miso

Before opening please store in a cool, dark, dry place. Once opened, packets should be resealed after use to avoid direct air contact and stored as per the instructions.

While its extraordinary qualities have long been known in Japan, in recent years miso has come to be widely renowned internationally as a food that can be beneficial to well-being, thanks to its rich balance of enzymes, nutrients, and beneficial microorganisms.

Many claims have been made about miso’s healing powers, from aiding weak digestion to staving off radiation sickness and cancer, alleviating tobacco poisoning, improving over-acidity in the body, boosting libido, and helping to sooth intestinal infections. Today, modern medical science has begun to evaluate this nutritional powerhouse and its many healthful properties.

The reports and research listed below give an idea about miso beneficial aspects.

Miso is made by mixing Koji, mashed soybeans, salt, and water, and leaving the mixture to ferment and mature. Different miso can be produced according to the type of Koji added to mixture. Brown rice Koji is used to make brown rice miso; barley Koji and soybean Koji used to make barley miso and soybean miso respectively. The climate can also have an impact on the flavour of miso, as can the water used in the production process, and the length of the fermentation and maturation periods. The area of production, its climate, environment, and traditions, and the approach and ingredient selection of the individual producer, will also have an impact. Here we introduce the basic approach to miso production.

Preparation and Koji-making: As with sake and shoyu, the most critical element in making miso is the starter, known as Koji, which will kick-start the all-important fermentation process. Moreover, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the quality of the starter will determine the quality of the finished miso. That’s why it’s not enough to simply sprinkle the ingredients with the starter. Instead, the Koji needs to be provided with a medium to grow on. The preparation stage—in which the medium (soybeans, in the case of miso) is carefully made ready for the Koji—comprises washing, soaking, and steaming. The aim is to create optimal conditions in which the Koji can thrive. But in fact there’s more to it than just Koji and soybeans. The miso makers need to be acutely aware a number of factors, including environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, and the ratio of ingredients. These factors have a complex interrelationship, which can change with each batch.

Specifically, the preparatory stage will involve washing the soybeans, soaking them, steaming or boiling them, and finally mashing them ready for mixing. When making lighter miso, the soybeans are cooked and then skinned before being mashed.

Fermentation and maturation: The mashed soybeans are mixed with salt and with the rice or barley Koji (steamed rice or barley which has been inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae) and added to large cedar fermentation vats. The vats provide the perfect environment for microorganisms to propagate and for the enzymes in the Koji to get to work on breaking down the cooked soybeans. The mixture is then left to ferment and mature. It is churned around 20-30 days after first being added to the vats. This is to give a boost to the good bacteria in the mixture, which work to supplement the action of the enzymes, and to ensure that fermentation takes place evenly throughout the mixture.

The maturation period can be anywhere between three months to three years, depending on the miso variety.

Dark, saltier miso combine nicely with beans, gravies, baked dishes, and vegetable stews and soups. For a simple and delicious fall or winter vegetable dish, try adding sweet chunky vegetables such as winter squash, carrots, or parsnips to sautéed onions, steaming them in 1/4 inch of water until just tender, then seasoning with dark, long-aged rice or barley miso thinned in a little water or stock just before the end of cooking. Try dark miso in thick soups using root vegetables such as burdock, carrots, and daikon. A lentil casserole seasoned with dark miso warms the body and supplies plenty of high quality protein. Although dark miso are not as versatile as light varieties, traditionally made, unpasteurized dark miso makes nutritious, flavorful, and satisfying miso soups that you can enjoy every day in fall, winter, and spring without ever becoming tired of them. Once the weather becomes warm, Mitoku suggests combining a dark and a light miso when making miso soup.

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