Contraband Ferments

Shio Koji

Shio Koji in short means “ Salt Koji.” You take koji, salt, and water and let it sit for around 10 days. What I find most interesting about the Shio Koji process is that salt actually kills the Aspergillus oryzae. Lucky for us, it’s enzymes remain and when you throw into the mix the carbohydrates and sugars that exist in grains and by creating the right fermentation environment you are able to grow some solid bacteria. What does this mean for us? We have this amazingly tasty, umami, bacterial goodness that we can use to create other fermentations or secondary fermentations.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite uses for Shio Koji:

  • Shio Koji cured meat

  • Shio koji in handmade pasta (a lovely trick we learned from Ourcookquest)

  • Sauces & Marinades

  • An alternative for soy sauce

  • Alternative ways to make pickles

Here’s our recipe for Shio Koji :

2 cups koji

2 cups water

1/8 cup salt

Mix together well and move to a jar with a finger tight lid. Let it sit in a cool and dark place for 10-12 days. Every day you’ll want to stir or shake the mixture. When it’s complete you can opt to blend the mixture or leave it in it’s original state and then move it to the fridge. Shio Koji can be used for 6 month from the date of making — so make sure you date it.


Fermented Eggnog - Holiday Magic in a Bottle

The holidays are here and while I’m a little late in posting and starting this winter favorite, later is better than never! I have to admit I love the nostalgia and taste of a good eggnog, and what I don’t like is the aftermath of stomach upset that can sometimes come with it. This recipe is adapted from the Fermenters Club ( So, here is our favorite go to eggnog recipe both with dairy and without dairy (yes you can make it TWO ways!) and you can also have the option to add booze or no booze. It’s a holiday drink for everyone!

Fermented Eggnog (Dairy version)


  • 12 large chicken eggs

  • 2¼ cups sugar

  • ¾ cups local honey

  • 1 pint half-n-half

  • 1 pint  milk kefir (For a dairy free version use coconut or almond kefir)

  • 1 pint heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Separate the yolks from the egg whites, and store/use the whites for another purpose.

  2. Beat the yolks with the honey, sugar and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color and falls off the whisk in a solid ribbon.

  3. Combine kefir, cream and half-n-half and salt in a second bowl or pitcher and then slowly beat into the egg mixture.

  4. Dispense mixture into glass bottles (three 750ml bottles e.g.) with screw caps or grolsch style swing top lids.

  5. Place bottles in the refrigerator to cure for 1 to 4 weeks If you remember, turn the bottles every week. It will slowly thicken and build up pleasant carbonation as it cures.

  6. Be careful when opening-- best to open slowly over the kitchen sink. Some pressure may have built up in the bottles.

  7. Let it sit for up to hour until it warms back to room temperature and thickens. The texture will be better than the richest cappuccino you've ever had (i.e. YES this final step is worth waiting for!)

Miso. Tempeh. Natto. And other Tasty Ferments! Out on Pre-order

We’re pretty excited about this gem coming out in 2019! This is the third book by our good friends Kirsten & Christopher Shockey and we’re super excited that you find some of our Miso recipes in this gem! Get those orders in!

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Berkshire Fermentation Festival Presenter Videos

What a lovely weekend at the Berkshire Fermentation Festival! This was our third year back teaching and we’re happy to announce that the videos from all the presenters are now up online for you to enjoy!

Catch our Miso Workshop along with presenters Sandor Katz, Adam Elabd, Amanda Feifer, Anne Yonetani, and Alana Chernila!!