How to Make Natto From Rice Straw Sticks

If you want to learn how to make Natto from rice straw sticks, 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.

(I have the same article in my another blog Omi-merchants’ way of sustainable prosperity, and this is the newer version.)

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 who are called Shizenha in Japanese 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.

The idea is you soak the beans until they are soft. I usually soak the beans for 24 hours, but it varies depending on the temperature, but 24 hours is usually enough. 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.

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

Next, you put a lid on the cups.

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

Then you put the beans on it.

You wrap the beans with the cloth.

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.

Like that.

Then you put another lid on the cloth.

Next, you close the lid of the pressure cooker.

Set the pressure to high.

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

When the pressure comes on,

you turn down the gas to low flame.

You set the timer to 20 minutes. Another word, you pressure steam the beans with low flame for 20 minutes. (Now I think 30 minutes is better)

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.

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

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.

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

How to Mix the Steamed Beans with the Straw Sticks

You open the lid of the pressure cooker.

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.

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

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. If you don’t like using a cling film, you can use a cotton cloth instead. You don’t want to cover it completely to leave some space for oxygen to come in.

Then you close the lid.

How to Ferment the Soybeans in the Yogurt maker

Next, you put the container into the yogurt maker.

You cover the yogurt maker with a paper towel.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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