Shio Koji (salt koji)


Shio koji can be kept in an air lock sealed jar but we prefer the refrigerator unless we are aging it. When aging shio koji we typically add some alcohol. We will have some quick pickles made with shio koji at Monday’s event.

  • 300 grams of koji (rice, barley, corn, wheat, etc.)
  • 100 grams of coarse salt
  • 400 grams of water

As you can see the golden rule of shio-koji making is a 3:1:4 ratio. You should try to make the salt equal 12.5% of the total weight of your shio-koji. By weight, not by volume.

The salt percentage of any shio-koji should be between 12 and 15%, but never exceed 15% or go below 7%. There are yeasts and microbes that can still live in a 7% salt solution. Over 15% and protease and other enzymes are denatured. You could still use it as a seasoning though.

If you are using 300 grams of koji, you massage that with 100 grams of salt. Just like when making miso you should always massage your koji and salt.


Quick pickles made with shio koji

If you wait an hour you will see a dramatic change. The temperature may even rise. That means your koji has active enzymes.

You can make this in a blender – our preference – but remember that any time you expose koji to mechanical action it will produce heat. Don’t make a lot at once, and chill your Vitamix or blender first.

After grinding or massaging the salt and koji add the water. You add 400 grams of water, cover tightly and place in a dark place for this recipe. Shake every day for 10 to 14 days.

Store in refrigeraor or at room temperature under air lock. Don’t make too much at a time, as it will become infected with wild yeasts and bacteria if you keep opening and closing the container.



When using shio koji to replace salt you should use 2 to 3 tsp to replace a tsp of salt.

A tablespoon of shio koji per pound of fish or meat to marinate for 15 minutes is enough. Usually 10 to 15% of the weight of whatever you are using the shio koji on will suffice.

There is sugar in shio koji so careful when you cook it. Wipe the shio koji off if you like. It’s excellent in baked goods.


2 thoughts on “Shio Koji (salt koji)

  1. Hi, just found the site, super interesting, thanks for providing such a great resource.

    You say in the recipe “The salt percentage of any shio-koji should be between 12 and 15%, but never exceed 15% or go below 7%. There are yeasts and microbes that can still live in a 7% salt solution. Over 15% and protease and other enzymes are denatured.”

    However, in the Koji Alchemy book it mentions to not go above 7% salt as it gets rid of all bacteria even beneficial ones. They suggest 5% of total weight of a 1:1 koji:water solution. I’m a complete newbie so don’t want to particularly risk people getting sick, equally the koji alchemy book seems a bit of a bible for lots of people.

    So my question is, do you think, like the book, less than 7% could be ok? I’m not asking for advice, so please don’t be worried about that, just asking for an opinion. 😊

    Cheers
    Ben

  2. Koji Alchemy is a great book! There is a continuum of things that can be made based on different variables. Salt is a major variable along with water content as to growth of bacteria. Personally, I don’t want bacteria in my shio-koji unless I intend to age it out and a lowered PH helped by halophilic bacteria is desired. We now make our amaasake and our shio-koji the same way. We always use cooked substrate, water and koji. We add 10% sodium to the amasake while inoculating to make our shio koji. It then gets refrigerated. The 10% sodium encourages protease enzymes, and actually discourages amylase enzymes. I’m sure you could follow the directions in Koji Alchemy and make their kind of shio-koji. By beneficial bacteria I believe they mean PH lowering ones which would be welcome in a low sodium environment and in a higher temperature state.

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