Natto is a traditional Japanese food made by fermenting whole soybeans with Bacillus subtilus var. Natto. This fermentation results in the formation of a slimy texture and very strong flavour and taste. Natto is eaten in Japan with cooked rice as a breakfast food, but is now becoming popular in all parts of the world because of its health benefits.
When the Bacillus subtilus bacteria grow on the cooked soybeans they produce a mucilaginous coating. The high viscosity of this mucilage is an important quality criteria for natto. It has a distinctive smell, somewhat akin to ammonia or overripe cheese. Many find the taste unpleasant and smelly, while others relish it as a delicacy. The characteristic aroma is due to pyrazine.
Production of natto
The production of natto takes only 12 hours and the process is actually very simple. Natto can be made from most soybeans, but smaller beans are preferred, as the fermentation process will be able to reach the centre of the bean more easily. The soybeans are washed and soaked in water for about 12 hours. Then they are cooked or steamed for about 6 hours until they are soft. The hot soybeans are then mixed with natto starter and then let to ferment at 40°C (104°F). for 12 hours, or longer if a stronger taste is preferred. The typical stringiness is further developed when ageing in a refrigerator.
Natto is healthy food containing a lot of protein (18%) and other nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, protein, potassium, vitamins B6, B2, E and K2. Natto has recently received keen attention because of Nattokinase, an enzyme produced by Bacillus natto that can dissolve blood clots. Pyrazine, the compound that gives natto its distinctive smell, prevents the formation of blood clots. Natto contains large amounts of vitamin K that is essential for good bone health.
Our natto starter
culture contains Bacillus subtilus var. natto in high quantities and is free of pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella. Our nattostarter is made from GMO-free ingredients, is gluten and dairy free, and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Our production facilities are regularly inspected by the FAVV, the local health authority. We offer nattostarter culture of the highest quality.