The instant pot has been a hot kitchen item for the last year. It’s understandable due to its versatility, convenience, and safety. With its wide range of cooking temperatures and options, it’s no wonder people are testing its limits. We recently had a customer attempt to make koji in an instapot and they weren’t sure if it was working properly. So they asked
“Can you use an instant pot to make instant koji?”
Our customer used the yogurt setting on low. The manual states that you can make jiu niang, a fermented rice dish. This is true: that dish works great in an instant pot, as does other fermented dishes like natto. So this should be perfect for koji. Or so I thought. But the big difference between those dishes and koji is that they are bacteria-based fermentations and koji is mold-based. Unfortunately, the spores on koji need a pretty specific environment to grow and an instant pot is not one of them. The instant pot retains too much moisture and tends to drip back on the koji, even if it’s covered with a towel. This is not ideal. The koji needs to be held at roughly 90°F. The koji will start to generate its own heat and you will need to rotate it to keep it below 108°F. The instant pot on the low yogurt setting measured 110°F when I tested it. The koji will not survive long at that high of a temperature. I tested the entire method for koji in the instant pot – it did not work for me as the mold spores did not grow, nor did the rice have the correct smell. So it’s sad to say, but this isn’t our way into an easier method for koji.
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