After some traveling from A to B then B to Z and X then back…. finally i am in the same ‘time and space’ with my beautiful fermentation chamber, my pretty tiny rice cooker (new member of the test kitchen) and the *Oryzae spores of course with a handful of rice to cook and play with. So i started my next challenge. KOJICHEESE. Well… kojeese how i love to call it. And there are several different players leading different roles in this play.
- i am trying to make a ‘miso cheese’ – which is a koji fermented fresh cheese. I use fresh hungarian cottage cheese and normal spores grown on black rice (amazing purple color).
2. i am making shio koji liquid cheese with awa-koji rice.
3. i am macerating/ fermenting dairy cheese and chicpea ‘tofu’ with awa&palinka koji marinade.
4. (its not cheese but i made an awesome awa amazake rice pudding dessert for a friends private party)
Following the rules to grow my own koji rice – set up the fermentation chamber under the stairs in our old family house. Bit of issue from day by day as i have to share a socket with the boiler and my sister doesnt really understand the idea of ‘continuesly being in the same temperature and moist’. . But i just have to keep my eye on it while she is boiling water to feed my 3 months old very tiny very cool niece.
Was very excited to try my awamori koji spores – because of its citric acid production has got a great potential in cheese’ aging, curing. Was not difficult to grow at all – covered beautifully my normal white jasmine rice.
When it was done – i divided the batch into 3 and launched some sweet amazake (for a private dinner party’s pre-dessert), prepared some shio koji for curiosity and turned the left into a boozy mash*.
Meanwhile i found a ‘cheesemaker’ friend living in Okinawa who shared some amazing tips about not only aging and curing but curdling cheese with koji. One of this experiment im working on – is to age cheese (bits) in a marinade* of black rice koji and palinka (any spirit can possibly work with 30-40% alc contant) for short term (1-2 months). My imagination is dancing all around the globe im so excited about this.
I started 3 different types:
- normal semi hard cheese
- normal lacto free cheese
- homemade ‘chickpea tofu’ (i wanted to try with hard tofu but its difficult to find proper tofu or soybeans in Hungary (in my little hometown in the middle of nowhere at least) so i decided to make my own chickpea tofu instead.
I checked the small containers after the first 3 days. The chickpea tofu already decided to give up the fight – it was just too soft for the hardcore enzimes’s playground. (I think there is a possibility to make it work if i semi-dehydrate the pieces before). The rest of the cheeses developed a harder outside layer but looked and felt totally fine.
I leave it in a dark place (my fermenting ‘cave’) maintaining a not too hot temperature (around 20 degrees) for at least a month time – i will run out of time at some point as i will fly back to UK soon but see what can i taste after 30 days ‘aging.
I made the shio koji with 5% salt. Keep mixing every day for a week before try – the blended black rice-mass keeps separating more and more each day – after 5 days the solids floating on the top of the jar. Looking cool for now…
My amazake pudding turned out very well (for my biggest surprise LOL). I was worried a bit only because of the acidity of the koji. I made amazake before with normal white stuff (and it was sweet like heaven) so i didnt know what to expect. The flavour was so so so different. More like…like a moldy kindof flavour. I tried lots of flavour combinations and the final version was pretty f#cking awesome.
The final version of the pudding happened’ by mixing smooth amazake with soft cooked normal basmati rice, seasoned with honey, pine cone syrup and seasalt. Served with a sour cherry jel, fresh redcurrants and a touch of sweet candied pinecones (in rice basket). I ended up having lots of happy friends at the end of the dinner party (especially that its was only the pre-dessert LOL).
Lets see what else…. keep continued.