Koji Alchemy: Rediscovering the Magic of Mold-Based Fermentation


Koji Alchemy: Rediscovering the Magic of Mold-Based Fermentation

by Rich Shih and Jeremy Umansky, 352 pages, 7x9, hardcover. Spores galore, the warm moist filamentous fungus of your dreams! Aspergillus oryzae can elevate rice and beans into taste- and smell-realms well beyond the milquetoast occidental imagination. What I mean is: Yum. Koji is a specific mold grown on rice (or other starches) and is the basis of culinary delights like miso, amazake, sake, soy sauce and more. This microbe was domesticated in Asia thousands of years ago as a food preservation technique. When I made my first batch of koji years ago, I yearned for some hand-holding but there was no one in sight. With this book, my floundering is over…or at least mitigated. Shih and Umansky are from the fancy food world, but their book gives the earthy amateur access to the intimidating process of growing mold to eat. Rather than recipes, they provide fundamentals and formulas that, once mastered, can be applied with versatility and creativity. (Mold + starch + protein = Heck yeah!) This book does not alienate the frugal home-scale koji-maker—the only implement I’m considering adding to my MacGyvered incubation rig is a 150-watt aquarium heater. If you like experiments, intoxicating aromas and diverse gut flora, it may be koji time. -Elisabeth Benjamin

9645 Koji Alchemy: Rediscovering the Magic of Mold-Based Fermentation
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