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Making Soy Sauce At Home


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When is the best time of year to make it, or can it be made anytime?

I noiced the original post was in June, so I guess some sun is needed.

You don't say how much water is in the brine,

Making soy sauce definitely needs sun - the soybean brine needs to cook out in under hot sunny weather. In Vancouver, that means the window to make soy is pretty short.

Let me check the concentration of the brine for you.

fmed - thanks for the heads up on the spores at Fujiya - your food knowledge is genuinely impressive. So far - my uncle has just let wild molds take hold - so it would be intresting to see what a proper culture would produce. Not sure how to incorporate it into the soybean disks. Perhaps at the same time flour is kneaded into the soy. I suspect using a true culture would allow you to not have to use wheat flour - thus resulting in a truly wheat free product.

Cool!

And I'll second the hope that there are other home soy brewer's out there who will share some more pictures.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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I'm thinking that simulating a sunny climate using fluorescent lights and an aquarium heater will help. Not very eco-friendly, though :hmmm:

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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I really want to try to make this during the summer. What type of climate/weather is ideal? Also, how much salt was in your brine?

You need warm sunny weather to cook out the soybean miso.

Start out with 4lbs of water with 4 oz of salt to the above the proportions. But this is up to your taste - obviously, it should be quite salty. The water will evaporate as the soy sits out in the sun (in a container protected by a mesh cover - you don't wan things falling in, I think traditionally, it was bamboo lids that covered the containers) - add cold boiled water to loosen the mixture. Again - this is up to you, how salty and rich do you want the soy sauce?

Sorry to be so vague - one of the pit falls af trying to translate home cooking into a usable recipe.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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Very interesting project. I have a few questions.

How much is 4 lbs of water in volume measure? I'm guessing it's around 2 quarts or 2 liters?

Is that the smallest amount one would reasonable make?

How much soy sauce do you end up with after evaporation?

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How much is 4 lbs of water in volume measure?  I'm guessing it's around 2 quarts or 2 liters?

Give or take, yes: ~1.8 L or ~0.48 US gallons. I'll leave it to any SSBs wandering by to explain how specific gravity changes with temperature.

"A pint's a pound the world around" is still a decent estimating tool, even with the inaccuracy.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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Very interesting project.  I have a few questions.

How much is 4 lbs of water in volume measure?  I'm guessing it's around 2 quarts or 2 liters?

Is that the smallest amount one would reasonable make?

How much soy sauce do you end up with after evaporation?

How much you end up with depends on your taste. You can dilute it by adding cold boiled water.

But generally - it seemed like a lot. It takes my uncle and aunt a good year to get through it all. I'm guessing a couple of litres at least.

Ack - sorry to be so vague! If he makes another batch - I promise to take better notes.

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Fascinating. Thanks for starting such a great thread.

Are the bean/flour slices added to the brine whole?

After they're soaked in brine what steps remain? Your last pictures don't look like soy sauce. How do you separate the soy sauce and the miso? Is anything left over after those are extracted? Is there anything that needs to be discarded?

Thank you.

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Are the bean/flour slices added to the brine whole?

yes

After they're soaked in brine what steps remain?

The whole thing sits out in the sun for a number of weeks - as long as it is sunny.

Your last pictures don't look like soy sauce. How do you separate the soy sauce and the miso?

They soy sauce is quite light - and has a sharper tang to it. My uncle theorizes that this is because that we don't get enough hot sun here in Vancouver. So the mash does not 'cook out' as long as it should. I think he just pours off the liquid - obviously, the filtration is not 100% - but given the light color and short period in the sun - he did not want to filter off to much of the flavors.

Is anything left over after those are extracted?

The solids left over is the miso. I don't think that you discard anything. The miso has better flavor if you let it evaporate down and not extract the liquid as soy sauce.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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Thanks for your patience with my slow speed at grasping this.

How is the liquid extracted? Is it just spooned out? Filtered? Is that final picture exactly what it looks like when you use it?

Are the bean/flour slices added to the brine whole?

yes

After they're soaked in brine what steps remain?

The whole thing sits out in the sun for a number of weeks - as long as it is sunny.

Your last pictures don't look like soy sauce. How do you separate the soy sauce and the miso?

They soy sauce is quite light - and has a sharper tang to it. My uncle theorizes that this is because that we don't get enough hot sun here in Vancouver. So the mash does not 'cook out' as long as it should. I think he just pours off the liquid - obviously, the filtration is not 100% - but given the light color and short period in the sun - he did not want to filter off to much of the flavors.

Is anything left over after those are extracted?

The solids left over is the miso. I don't think that you discard anything. The miso has better flavor if you let it evaporate down and not extract the liquid as soy sauce.

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[

yes, the difference between soy sauce making and miso making is the quantity of water you put and the ingredients. for the japanese soyzu you sould use soy beans and flour on aprox the same proportion. chinese normally use less quantities of flour.

miso has very little water content (then again depends very much on the miso, for instance, hatcho miso is very solid and has hardly any water)

the brine should have around 25% salt (you sould heat at least a part of the water in order to dissolve the salt otherwise you would end up with all the cristals in the bottom)

kikkoman uses for their classic soyzu 23% salt; you can also find soy sauce with low salt content, but the proportion should still be quite high

re. filtering: you can filter the soy sauce (i still have to work out how to filter it, I havent jet reached that stage, but i'll try it with a shive and a weight). traditionally in japan villages you could get someone to filter for a more pure and clear product. you can also not filter it, as they do with traditional north vietnammese soy sauce.

re. pasteurization the best possible way to pasturize soy sauce is 4 hours at 70ºC (158º F)... but you can have it not pasterized and the final product would have a richer and more complex aroma. i am currently doing soy sauce at home and will pasteurize only a part of it in order to have lasting longer.

you could see the photos on the process on by blog (it's in spanish, sorry). the soy sauce have only been in the sun for around 2 weeks. will post pictures as it brews in the brine. click below to go to the article:

umami madrid's weblog

Edited by inigoaguirre (log)

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Umami-Madrid

New Cooking Techniques & Asian Ingredients - In Spanish

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Inigo, in what container do you ferment your soy sauce, and how often do you stir its contents? Do you have to cover the container at night or bring it inside? Or do you put a piece of glass on top of the container like canucklehead? That's a great blog btw. How did you learn all the nuances of soy sauce making?

Btw here's a great link to traditionally made soy sauce. They extract the soy sauce by pressing down on the mixture with a bamboo strainer and siphoning out what seeps through at the top

http://chubbyhubby.net/blog/?p=271

Edited by takadi (log)
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hi takadi,

i use a plastic container for food use to ferment soy sauce and i stir it (rather than stirring it i close the container and move it around so that the soy paste doesnt crumble) twoice a day (first thing in the morning when i open the containter in order to sun the content and at night when i close it). when the temperature is not too high i just stir once every 2-3 days. mind you, i just do it for safety, i have read other recepies there the product is stirred every 3 days.

i also tried to inoculate it with aspergillus orizae but got no result out of it (it works with rice, and it's great for miso making, but not with soy) if you want to inoculate with its proper mold you should try aspergillus sojae, or like the corean do, you could also try inoculating it with dried rice plant.

if you're also interested on making miso, you can buy aspergillus orizae at: asperguillus orizae- for miso making

(its the same mold used for sake making)

i have some very interesting doc's on soy making and soy history. send me your email and i'll forward them over to you. my mail is: inigoaguirrep@hotmail.com

there's also very useful information on The Book of Miso... highly recomendable book. will soon start making miso at home. (they have a recepie on soy sauce, which you can look up at google books for free and the rest of historical information and many of the processes also apply to soy sauce making

thanks for the link, very interesting indeed (though i already knew of its existance)

for historical info and proceedure you can check out this site:

soy info center

hope it helps,

cheers,

íñigo

Edited by inigoaguirre (log)

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Umami-Madrid

New Cooking Techniques & Asian Ingredients - In Spanish

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I'm glad this thread has been resurrected. I'm certainly keen to make this as a future project (although I'll have to wait until I can spend some time in Spain).

I was wondering if the superbags mentioned here

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=104404

would provide a suitable way of filtering the liquid.

The whole process does seem much more straightforward than I would have imagined. It's lovely to have the chance to share the results... especially this late on when my curiosity about each stage was quickly satisfied by scrolling down :smile:

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hi,

very good idea... yes, i had it on the "bag" of my mind as one of the options. i have a cheaper (and very good) alternative at home under another brand, but much smaller, it holds about 1 liter, and it would definetly be a heck of a job to do filter all the soy sauce it through this bag (i will have aprox about 6 liters worth of soy sauce). will try a shieve and wheight, but i really want to get a perfecly clear soy sauce, so might end up using it... anyway, will post pictures and method as it happens- wich will probably be by mid july... in madrid the temp in july is about an average of 100F/40ºC so things might speed up and hopefully the soy sauce will be much darker and tasteful

i'm glad you gained back your interest on the subject! :laugh:

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Umami-Madrid

New Cooking Techniques & Asian Ingredients - In Spanish

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you could see the photos on the process on by blog (it's in spanish, sorry). the soy sauce have only been in the sun for around 2 weeks. will post pictures as it brews in the brine. click below to go to the article:

umami madrid's weblog

Very intrested in seeing how the differences in sunlight effects the final product.

I apologize if I was not able to give specific measurements - my pictures were centered around watching what my Uncle does and not repelicating the results myself. Much of his process is done by taste and feel.

I am very excited to see how others approach making soy sauce.

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Very intrested in seeing how the differences in sunlight effects the final product.

I apologize if I was not able to give specific measurements - my pictures were centered around watching what my Uncle does and not repelicating the results myself. Much of his process is done by taste and feel.

I am very excited to see how others approach making soy sauce.

____________________________________________

Umami-Madrid

New Cooking Techniques & Asian Ingredients - In Spanish

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I wonder, is there a certain point in the fermentation process where it doesn't require anymore sun and you can just close off the container and leave it to ferment somewhere?

i supposse i will be trying until the taste seems good enough to stop fermenting. for me it will be a question of trying and and error (or not!)

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Umami-Madrid

New Cooking Techniques & Asian Ingredients - In Spanish

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Do you guys also have a recommendation for what types of soy beans or flour should be used?

Also, how much solid ingredients should be used in proportion to the water?

I actually have an old bottle of unpasteurized soy sauce that I haven't opened yet, but is it possible to introduce the strain of yeast used in the production of this soy sauce into this new batch?

Edited by takadi (log)
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i have new pictures after 3 weeks sunning... the weather has not been too good, but apparently it will improove from now onwards.

the liquid is getting much darker, and hopefully the weather will help with the process.

as you can see, a part of the soy and flour mix is dissolving and sinking at the bottom.

will post more pictures soon.

i'm not sure you can see the pictures... i'm new at egullet. in case you cant, you could see it on my blog:

umami madrid

sorry cant upload them. can anyone help me uploading the pictures?

cheers

____________________________________________

Umami-Madrid

New Cooking Techniques & Asian Ingredients - In Spanish

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Do you guys also have a recommendation for what types of soy beans or flour should be used?

Also, how much solid ingredients should be used in proportion to the water?

I actually have an old bottle of unpasteurized soy sauce that I haven't opened yet, but is it possible to introduce the strain of yeast used in the production of this soy sauce into this new batch?

i just used normal soy beans and flour.

re: ratio solid ing in proportion to the water: i used just enough water to cover the solid ingredients.

i don't think that using old soy sauce would help much. the mold develops on its own... and its killed when introduced into the salt brine. the yeast will naturally ocurr with the addition of wheat flour.

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Umami-Madrid

New Cooking Techniques & Asian Ingredients - In Spanish

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      This is what available in the markets and supermarkets in the winter months - i.e now. I'll update as the year goes by.
       
      FRESH FUNGI
       
      December sees the arrival of what most westerners deem to be the standard mushroom – the button mushroom (小蘑菇 xiǎo mó gū). Unlike in the west where they are available year round, here they only appear when in season, which is now. The season is relatively short, so I get stuck in.
       

       
      The standard mushroom for the locals is the one known in the west by its Japanese name, shiitake. They are available year round in the dried form, but for much of the year as fresh mushrooms. Known in Chinese as 香菇 (xiāng gū), which literally means “tasty mushroom”, these meaty babies are used in many dishes ranging from stir fries to hot pots.
       

       
      Second most common are the many varieties of oyster mushroom. The name comes from the majority of the species’ supposed resemblance to oysters, but as we are about to see the resemblance ain’t necessarily so.
       

       
      The picture above is of the common oyster mushroom, but the local shops aren’t common, so they have a couple of other similar but different varieties.
       
      Pleurotus geesteranus, 秀珍菇 (xiù zhēn gū) (below) are a particularly delicate version of the oyster mushroom family and usually used in soups and hot pots.
       

       
      凤尾菇 (fèng wěi gū), literally “Phoenix tail mushroom”, is a more robust, meaty variety which is more suitable for stir frying.
       

       
      Another member of the pleurotus family bears little resemblance to its cousins and even less to an oyster. This is pleurotus eryngii, known variously as king oyster mushroom, king trumpet mushroom or French horn mushroom or, in Chinese 杏鲍菇 (xìng bào gū). It is considerably larger and has little flavour or aroma when raw. When cooked, it develops typical mushroom flavours. This is one for longer cooking in hot pots or stews.
       

       
      One of my favourites, certainly for appearance are the clusters of shimeji mushrooms. Sometimes known in English as “brown beech mushrooms’ and in Chinese as 真姬菇 zhēn jī gū or 玉皇菇 yù huáng gū, these mushrooms should not be eaten raw as they have an unpleasantly bitter taste. This, however, largely disappears when they are cooked. They are used in stir fries and with seafood. Also, they can be used in soups and stews. When cooked alone, shimeji mushrooms can be sautéed whole, including the stem or stalk. There is also a white variety which is sometimes called 白玉 菇 bái yù gū.
       

       

       
      Next up we have the needle mushrooms. Known in Japanese as enoki, these are tiny headed, long stemmed mushrooms which come in two varieties – gold (金針菇 jīn zhēn gū) and silver (银针菇 yín zhēn gū)). They are very delicate, both in appearance and taste, and are usually added to hot pots.
       

       

       
      Then we have these fellows – tea tree mushrooms (茶树菇 chá shù gū). These I like. They take a bit of cooking as the stems are quite tough, so they are mainly used in stews and soups. But their meaty texture and distinct taste is excellent. These are also available dried.
       

       
      Then there are the delightfully named 鸡腿菇 jī tuǐ gū or “chicken leg mushrooms”. These are known in English as "shaggy ink caps". Only the very young, still white mushrooms are eaten, as mature specimens have a tendency to auto-deliquesce very rapidly, turning to black ‘ink’, hence the English name.
       

       
      Not in season now, but while I’m here, let me mention a couple of other mushrooms often found in the supermarkets. First, straw mushrooms (草菇 cǎo gū). Usually only found canned in western countries, they are available here fresh in the summer months. These are another favourite – usually braised with soy sauce – delicious! When out of season, they are also available canned here.
       

       
      Then there are the curiously named Pig Stomach Mushrooms (猪肚菇 zhū dù gū, Infundibulicybe gibba. These are another favourite. They make a lovely mushroom omelette. Also, a summer find.
       

       
      And finally, not a mushroom, but certainly a fungus and available fresh is the wood ear (木耳 mù ěr). It tastes of almost nothing, but is prized in Chinese cuisine for its crunchy texture. More usually sold dried, it is available fresh in the supermarkets now.
       

       
      Please note that where I have given Chinese names, these are the names most commonly around this part of China, but many variations do exist.
       
      Coming up next - the dried varieties available.
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