How to Make Natto: The Natural Way

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If you want to learn how to make Natto the natural way, this is exactly the site you are looking for. I have seen some other sites on the topic, but the kind of beans they use or the way they get Natto germs aren’t completely natural, and if you want to gain Natto’s health benefits fully, stick around.

自転車でダーナへ

My name is Sachiaki Takamiya and I am the author of IKIGAI DIET: The Secret of Japanese Diet to Health and Longevity. I wrote this book based on the diet and the lifestyle of young naturally conscious Japanese people because I think they are the healthiest people in the country with the longest life expectancy: They are the latest successors of Japanese natural medicine and philosophies, where many of the health related practices such as the macrobiotic diet, Shiatsu, and Aikodo are all based on.

 

I also live in Satoyama which means the Japanese countryside where fermentation is practiced regularly.

 

I make Natto twice a week now and I have 100% success rate of making it.

 

Today, I will share with you the basic way of making Natto using rice straw.

 

Things You Need to Make Natto

1, Rice straw from an organic farmer in you region. You want to get local rice straw because that contains local Natto germs.

2, Organic soybeans from a local farmer.

3, A pressure cooker

4, A yogurt maker

5, Two lids to put in the pressure cooker

6, Cotton gauze fabric

7, Cling film

8, Three small cups to put in the pressure cooker

 

How to Soak Soybeans

The first step is to soak soybeans. This step is vital and how long you soak them determines the degree of fermentation.

soaking beans

The idea is you soak the beans until you have a lot of this white foam on the surface. I usually soak the beans for 24 hours, but it varies depending on the temperature, so wait until you see a lot of foam on the surface. Make sure you pour a lot of water: 3 times as much as the beans.

 

How to Steam the Soybeans

When the beans are soaked, the next step is to steam them. You need a pressure cooker for it.

茶碗を鍋へ

First, you put some small cups in the pressure cooker. Use the cups that you can pour hot water on them.

茶碗の上に蓋

Next, you put a lid on the cups.

布を置く

After that, you put a cotton gauze cloth on the lid.

布の上に大豆

Then you put the beans on it.

布をくるむ

You wrap the beans with the cloth.

布に水をかける

And you pour water over it.  Make sure to wet all over the cloth and beans. You want to put enough water to cover the cups at the bottom.

布に水をかけた後

Like that.

布に蓋をする

Then you put another lid on the cloth.

圧力鍋の蓋をする

Next, you close the lid of the pressure cooker.

圧を高圧に設定

Set the pressure to high.

強火

You turn the gas on. You cook it with high flame until the pressure comes on.

圧がかかったら

When the pressure comes on,

弱火

you turn down the gas to low flame.

弱火20分

You set the timer to 20 minutes. Another word, you pressure steam the beans with low flame for 20 minutes.

火を消して15分

20 minutes later, you turn the gas off and leave it for another 15 minutes.

 

How to Prepare the Straw to Make Natto

Meantime, you want to prepare rice straw. You can do it while you are steaming the beans or beforehand.

藁の束 (2)

These are some rice straws. You want to wash them well.

藁納豆1

Then you put them in boiling water for about 1 minute. With 100 degree centigrade water, most germs on the straws die except the Natto germ. This is an important step to separate Natto germ from other germs that you don’t need.

稲わらスティック

After cleansing the straws, you cut them into a few short sticks.

 

How to Mix the Steamed Beans with the Straw Sticks

蓋を開ける

You open the lid of the pressure cooker.

豆の柔らかさをチェック

You pick a bean to check whether beans are ready to be fermented or not. If you can squash it easily with your thumb and index finger, it is done. You want to make sure the beans are soft enough. If they are not soft enough, you need to steam them a little longer.

稲わらスティックを大豆に刺す

Next, you put the steamed soybeans into the container for the yogurt maker, and stick some straw sticks into the beans.

ラップをかける

You apply a cling film over them to keep the moisture inside. You press it over the straw sticks, which will automatically create some holes. You will need those holes to let some oxygen come in.

容器の蓋を閉める

Then you close the lid.

 

How to Ferment the Soybeans in the Yogurt maker

ヨーグルトメーカーに入れる

Next, you put the container into the yogurt maker.

キッチンペイパーをかぶせる

You cover the yogurt maker with a paper towel.

キッチンペイパーの上から蓋をする

And put the lid on. You don’t want to close the lid completely to let some air come in.

45度

You set the temperature to 45 degrees centigrade(113 degrees fahrenheit),

24時間

and set the timer to 24 hours. Then you turn the switch on.

できあがり

24 hours later, you open the yogurt maker and this is how it looks inside.

ラップを取る

You take off the cling film and you can see the white color on the beans. It means they are fermented.

藁も取ってかきまぜる

You take out the straw sticks and mix the beans, they get sticky and now you can tell that the beans turned Natto.

 

Usually people say you need to put the container with the Natto in the refrigerator for another 24 hours to complete the process, but that is not necessary. You can eat Natto at this point. You can keep the Natto in the refridgrator to eat it a little by little though. If you keep it outside the fridge, it is too warm so that the fermentation process will continue which you want to avoid. When you want to keep Natto in the fridge, have the cling film on to keep the moisture.

 

Anyway, that is it. This is how to make Natto the natural way. There are more primitive ways to ferment the beans, and I have tried them, too, but I like the method of using a yogurt maker the best because you can keep the same temperature throughout the fermentation process and you have much higher success rate of making Natto. If you want to make Natto regularly, you want this level of success rate.

 

Now, you can use this Natto to make dishes that I have introduced the recipes for and fully gain Natto’s health benefits.

 

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