Difference Between White Miso and Red Miso (With Table)

One of the known ingredients in Japanese food shops is Miso. However, it can be way more than a broth starter. As for Miso,  there are different types of miso depending on the primary ingredient, yet they are full of umami-richness. Moreover, it is generally divided into three categories: Red, Golden-yellow, and white. For convenience, it sticks to only three types based on primary raw ingredients.

White Miso vs Red Miso 

The main difference between white miso and red miso is that their difference in primary raw ingredients. White miso is a combination of soy beans and rice, while red miso has a higher concentration of soy beans. Secondly, the composition is fermented for a short duration of up to three weeks. Meanwhile, red miso is fermented for a year or longer. Thirdly, white miso has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. In contrast, red miso has a burst of flavors. One of the differences includes color differences, although the name signifies color on its own. As white miso appears to be white in color and red miso resembles red. 

White miso is the combination of soy beans and rice fermented for a short duration of up to three weeks. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. One can assume from its name only that it appears to be white.  Moreover, its taste varies from sweet to salty depending on primary raw ingredients. White miso has a shorter aging period, and it hardly needs stirring during its maturing process. Lastly, the white miso can be used in miso soup, salad dressing, and ramen, etc. 

Red miso has a larger amount of soybeans than white miso fermented in a longer span as compared to white miso. As for flavor, it is filled with umami richness and bold flavors. Regardless of primary ingredients, the name signifies the reddish appearance of the miso. Thus, it is named red miso. Moreover, the fermentation period is very long as it can be a year or longer than that. And it requires frequent stirring in the maturing process. Lastly, it can be used in gravies or stews. 

Comparison Table Between White Miso and Red Miso 

Parameters of comparisonWhite MisoRed Miso
AppearanceWhite miso appears whitish or pale yellow in color.Red miso appears reddish. 
Soy beans quantityWhite miso has soy beans and rice in balanced quantity.Red miso has a higher concentration of soy beans.
FlavorIt has a nutty and slightly sweet taste.It has a bold burst of flavors.
Fermentation periodIt has a shorter period of fermentation.It has a longer fermentation period. 
Stirring in the maturing processNo requirement of stirring in white miso during the maturing process. There’s a frequent need for stirring during the maturing process. 

What is White Miso?

White miso is composed of soy beans and rice in a balanced quantity, but it is fermented for a short period.  It appears to be whitish or pale yellow. Regardless of its composition, it is named white miso due to its color. 

The fermentation process takes up a short duration of up to three weeks, and the maximum time can take up to three months. As for the flavor, it has a nutty and slightly sweet taste.  But, sometimes flavor varies as well due to the ingredients. White miso is used in many foods, such as miso soup, salad, and ramen, etc. 

Soy beans used in the white miso are boiled rather than steam as protein is dissolved in hot water. The protein is responsible for making miso brown. Thus the ‘Malliard reaction’ doesn’t happen, and miso turns white. 

Moreover, koji is used in higher concentrations as compared to raw soy bean that produces a lot of sugar at high temperatures. As for the stirring process during the maturing phase, white miso doesn’t require stirring, because it has a short fermenting span. 

Furthermore, there are different types of white miso. They are Kansai white miso, Sanuki white miso, fuchu white miso, and Shinshu white miso. Also, they are used differently for different food. 

What is Red Miso?

Red miso has a higher concentration of soy beans and it is fermented for a longer period.  It appears to be reddish. Obviously! Regardless of its composition, it is named red miso due to its color. 

The fermentation process takes up a longer duration from one year to longer. As for the flavor, it has umami richness with bold flavor.  The flavor is much more noticeable and heavy. Red miso can be used in gravies or stews. 

Soy beans used in the red miso are steamed at a high temperature rather than boiled. Thereby amino acids react with sugar results in brown color. This conversion of red miso during the maturing phase is known as Millard’s reaction. 

Moreover, Koji is used comparatively very low, therefore to mature completely, it requires a longer span. And a large amount of salt is also needed due to the longer span of the maturing phase. Additionally, stirring is frequently necessary during the maturing phase. The reason behind stirring frequently is to let the miso expose to air more for faster maturing. 

Furthermore, there are different types of red miso. They are typical rice miso, soybean miso, and hatcho miso. Also, typical rice miso is most common among all the other types. 

Main Differences Between White Miso and Red Miso 

Miso is one of the common ingredients of Japanese cuisines and has a different type based on combination as well as color. Although they are filled with umami-richness despite being different from each other. The similarity is there yet they have their essence.  However, the primary ingredients revolve around the same ingredients. 

  1. White Miso is composed of soy beans and rice in balanced quantity. Meanwhile, red miso has a higher concentration of soy beans. 
  2. One of the obvious differences, white miso appears to be whitish or pale yellow. In contrast, red miso appears to be reddish. 
  3. White miso takes a short time for fermentation, while red miso takes a long time for fermentation. 
  4. White miso has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. On the other hand, red miso has bold flavors. 
  5. White miso doesn’t require stirring during the maturing process. Meanwhile, red miso needs frequent stirring in the maturing process. 

Conclusion

Miso is generally divided into three categories; red miso, white miso, and golden-yellow miso. And color depends on the primary raw ingredients. Although there are three types yet red miso and white miso are commonly used. Only red miso and white miso are essentially available in the miso section.  

White miso is made from a mixture of soy beans and rice that has been fermented for up to three weeks. It has a somewhat sweet and nutty flavor. The only thing one can deduce from its name is that it is white in hue. Furthermore, depending on the major raw components, the flavor ranges from sweet to salty. White miso has a shorter age period and requires less stirring throughout that time. Finally, white miso may be used in miso soup, salad dressing, ramen, and other dishes.

Red miso contains more soybeans than white miso and has been fermented for a longer period. It has a taste profile that is strong in umami and robust in flavor. The term refers to the miso’s reddish color, regardless of the basic components. As a result, it’s known as red miso. Furthermore, the fermentation time might be as long as a year or even longer. It also needs constant stirring during the maturation phase. Finally, it’s great in gravies and stews.

References

  1. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf404082a
  2. https://academic.oup.com/bbb/article-abstract/47/7/1487/5969080
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