Author Topic: Anyone Ever Made Natto?  (Read 1678 times)

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Offline surfsteve

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My first natto failure!
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2019, 12:37:16 am »
As insurance I ordered some dry natto spores and made a batch of natto as usual. After 8 hours I stirred the natto and I had zero cultivation so I added some powdered natto into the batch and checked it again this morning. I still have zero cultivation even after 16 hours. I added some more powdered spores but I'm not expecting natto to cultivate. What a waste! Both the spores and powdered natto have failed to produce natto. I'm headed to the oriental grocery store to buy more fresh natto. This seems to be the only source that works. I'm buying two packages and putting one in the freezer for emergency. Never tried making natto from frozen natto but apparently it works.

Since I started eating natto my health has gone up several notches.

It's very disappointing not to be able to make natto from either of the dry sources because natto would be a really good food to make in a SHTF situation. I think I'm going to order a bag from the same source as when I first tried dried natto. The new stuff doesn't even taste like natto, just plain old dried and powdered soy beans. I wonder though why the spores didn't work. Going to give it another 8 hours and if it doesn't work by the time this new batch of beans are done soaking, throw away the whole mess. My dogs are begging for natto but I'm eating it all myself till I can grow enough for them!

Who knew?

Offline surfsteve

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Re: Anyone Ever Made Natto?
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2019, 08:40:55 pm »
They didhn't have the same cheap brand of natto to use as starter at the oriental grocery store yesterday but the brand they had worked just like before.

I had high hopes for using dry natto or the spores. Too bad they didn't work.

How am I going to make natto during the zombie apocalypse or if Trump doesn't get reelected in 2020?

Offline surfsteve

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Re: Anyone Ever Made Natto?
« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2019, 02:59:44 am »
OK. So I thought I had become an expert at making natto but apparently it was beginners luck. Even the oriental grocery store knows little about natto. When I bought it for the 2nd time the same boxes were sitting in the refrigerator. The expiration date was several months from now. The problem was the date was for keeping the natto frozen and it was being sold as refrigerated. By the time I got my 2nd batch home it was already too spoiled for making natto but I've learned a few tips since then:

One thing I learned (I will post links at the end) is that the spores I ordered can tolerate very high temperatures and can even survive being boiled for up to an hour. Though to be safe you should not exceed 175 degrees F. when inoculating. I reasoned that the opposite was true and  that the naked spores could be killed instantly as opposed to being protected by being in the beans. Nothing could be further from the truth and one website went so far as to say the spores should be shocked by inoculating while the natto is steaming hot, much like the way some seeds proliferate after a forest fire. No wonder my natto from spores failed!

I was also worried that maybe my natto had failed because of the honey. Honey is sterile and I thought maybe the honey had steralized them. Though neither of the links I am about to post recommend using honey they do recommend using salt for minerals and sugar or molasses to help give the spores a head start in addition to the heat shock treatment.

I also read that Bacillus subtilis, the strain of bacteria that produces natto is somewhat essential to the human gut and that it is very rare, only found in a few cheeses and very few other foods. Though most bacteria are killed by stomach acid, Bacillus subtilis spores survive the journey surprisingly well and once introduced proliferate in the small intestine.

Also natto is one of the few fermented foods that is alkaline, a PH of 9.0 and virtually every other fermented food is acid.

For more information kindly read the links below:

https://www.seriouseats.com/2017/07/obsessed-ann-yonetani-natto-nyrture.html

http://www.tahoescience.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/LTFedEvent-2008-natto-making.pdf

Thanks for putting up with my natto obsession.

surfsteve.

Offline van

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Re: Anyone Ever Made Natto?
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2019, 03:05:09 am »
all very good stuff   thanks for the info

Offline surfsteve

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Re: Anyone Ever Made Natto?
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2019, 01:21:52 am »
Thanks!

The batch I made yesterday came out good again.  I'm making a new batch today and intend on inoculating it with spores while the beans are still fairly hot. I'm also going to use extra salt and a lot of molasses instead of my expensive honey in the inoculate solution and I steamed them in a steamer basket in the pressure cooker instead of cooking them in a bowl as a double boiler.

I think where I went wrong on my bad batches besides letting the beans cool down was draping a clean towel over them to help the fumes escape so I'll be steaming the towel by dampening it and putting it in the microwave for at least 5 minutes from now on. Boiling the spoon in a cup of water in the microwave works plenty good for sterilizing it. I didn't even bother to sterilize the spoon on the first batch that failed.

I'll let you guys know when I perfect the art or at least get close to it. This batch turned out as good or better than commercially produced natto.  I learned a lot from the two failures I had so I don't regret them. After tomorrow I should have enough to start feeding it to my dogs again. I fed them some of the failed batches and even ate some myself but neither of us cared for it like the way we love it when it turns out really good! I'm anxious to see the difference between making it with molasses instead of honey! Oh and the salt seems to have affected the culture and given it more of a coffee like taste. Really good!

Oh yeah. One last, last note. I forgot I had one of those gun type infrared thermometers and got it out. My beans got done while writing this and were 220 degrees after pressure cooking, 175 degrees after the seal went down, 155 degrees when I pulled out the steamer.  My inoculate solution also 155 when I added the spores. By the time I dumped  out the steaming water and got everything back into the cooker, set it to yogurt and covered it with a hot towel  before putting the lid back on it went down to 135 degrees. The use of this thermometer will help me to turn it into more of an exact science! Let's see if they are right about the spores being ok at these extremely high temperatures! I will find out tomorrow!

Offline surfsteve

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Natto Recap
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2019, 08:15:53 am »
I am still making natto everyday. Haven't had a batch fail in a long time! I use bleach to sterilize everything now because it's so much easier to spray it on and just wipe it down with a paper towel than messing around with boiling water. I also quit messing around with fresh natto and just use the spores. I use plenty of them and found them really cheap in .3 gram packets on ebay. Around 25 bucks for 8 boxes of 10 premeasured packets!

I use the duo-instant pot exclusively. Very convenient to pressure cook the beans and culture them in the same pot. The timer is also nice. I just set it and forget it...   Found a 2nd used one on Ebay so I can make 2 batches at once. My dogs love natto and fight over it. I give them the cheaper pinto bean natto, which I sometimes eat and save the non GMO soybeans for myself.  I heard it also tasted good with red beans and a friend promised to give me some that they don't use. Want to try some with black beans too for variety!

I've gone from boiling the beans to steaming them above the water in a steamer basket that I bought for 3 dollars. While they are still very hot I transfer them to a sterilized bowl to culture them, covering them with plastic wrap and letting them cool before inoculating them. They are only in the open air for a few seconds when I pull off the plastic and add the innoculant. Then I add a fresh layer of wrap, poke it full of holes with a clean tooth pick, press that down and add a 2nd layer of plastic wrap which I also poke holes in. The plastic wrap is sterilized from the factory unlike the towel I used to cover them with which doesn't always get sterilized by microwaving it.

Making natto has become a ritual and takes less prep time than it took to write this post.

Offline surfsteve

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Re: Anyone Ever Made Natto?
« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2019, 11:56:15 pm »
I started a batch of red bean natto and it has 4 more hours of culturing left before I age it in the refrigerator. I also bought some black beans from the store yesterday.

I didn't brush my teeth this morning and when I ate my natto they felt like they had been brushed. That has to be a good thing. It's not just acting on my teeth. It's doing the same thing to my entire digestive system.

Also I was wondering how paleo natto actually was. I know the cooked beans are the antithesis of paleo but it seems the bacteria that feed on them surely must be. I would think a healthy paleo person would have lots of these favorable bacteria and very few of the harmful ones that proliferate in modern foods and circumstances. Were these bacteria present in much larger proportions before we started on the path of sterility and antibiotics? So it seems to me that the raw material of which natto is made is not paleo but the bacteria that feed on it are very much so. I also wonder if there is any benefit breathing in the natto fumes that are stinking up my kitchen. I am looking forward to summertime, and airing this place out. For next year I am considering making natto outside. Maybe even sooner...

Offline surfsteve

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Sterility, ventilation culture and aging the perfect natto.
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2019, 01:02:51 am »
I probably haven't; but I really feel like I've perfected the art of making natto. Sterility and ventilation are two opposing forces that must be dealt with. I've made a few batches without ventilation but I discovered the strong coffee like nutty taste is virtually gone when you do this. The more ventilation  the stronger the nutty, coffee like flavor it develops but this also increases the risk of natto failure due to contamination. You can reduce the risk of contamination by inoculating with more spores or more fresh natto and also by adding layers of sterility and redundancy. When I first started I covered my natto directly with a sterilized towel and this worked if I used an entire tray of natto to inoculate but not so good using spores or less natto. Instead of the towel I started using 2 layers of plastic wrap, punctured hundreds of times with a tooth pick. One laying directly on the natto and another on top of the bowl. I just make sure not to let the tooth pick come in contact with the natto. The plastic wrap is virtually sterilized when it comes from the factory. I just pull past the first layer that's been exposed to air making sure it never comes in contact with the culturing natto. I still use a towel but it suspended way above the beans and serves as a spacer for ventilation purposes. I also spray everything with a 50/50 mixture of bleach water from a spray bottle and wipe it off with a clean paper towel. Much like washing windows. I do this for everything, even the inside of the pressure cooker and everything that goes in it, despite it's going to be sterilized by the heat of the pressure cooker anyway.  Aging the natto greatly improves the taste. I make sure to bleach spray and wipe the tupperware that the finished natto is  going into as well, adhering to my double redundancy principal. I do my best not to breath on the natto while I'm inoculating it but I refuse to wear a mask. You gotta draw the line somewhere! Almost forgot. I no longer add any honey, molasses or anything to boost the spores. I think this was messing up my natto and increasing the chances of contamination. I thought maybe this helped give it more of the coffee like taste that is so greatly sought after or increase the stringiness but I was wrong. It's best to just keep it simple. I also found that filling the water all the way up, touching the bottom of the steamer makes the beans more tender but don't go too much above or you'll be boiling the beans which takes the skins off and makes a mess. One last tip. Don't get greedy and try and make too much at one time. An inch deep layer of beans will culture up just fine but if you go too much beyond that bottom layers wont get enough ventilation.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 01:39:34 am by surfsteve »

 

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