What Is Soy Sauce Made Of

Must Try

Contains Wheat And Gluten

A 750-Year-Old Secret: See How Soy Sauce Is Still Made Today | Short Film Showcase

Many people are unaware that soy sauce can contain both wheat and gluten. For people with wheat allergies or celiac disease, this could be problematic.

Studies have found that both soy and wheat allergens are completely degraded in the soy sauce fermentation process. That said, if you are not sure how your soy sauce has been produced, you cannot be sure it is free from allergens .

The Japanese soy sauce tamari is often regarded as a wheat- and gluten-free soy sauce alternative. While this can be true, some types of tamari may still be made with wheat, though with smaller amounts than are used in other types of soy sauce .

It is important to check the ingredients label for wheat and look for soy sauce products that are specifically labeled as gluten-free. Most major brands carry a gluten-free variety.

When youre eating out, its best to double check what brand of soy sauce the restaurant is cooking with and ask if they have a gluten-free variety.

If you are unsure, it may be better to choose a dish not cooked with soy sauce.

Summary Soy sauce contains wheat and gluten, and even the tamari type may still contain some wheat. If you are allergic to wheat or have celiac disease, look for gluten-free soy sauce and always check the ingredients list.

What Is Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is known as shoyu and soya sauce. Its made with soybeans, wheat, salt, and a fermenting agent.

The traditional brewing method to make soy sauce involves soaking soybeans in water for several hours and steaming them. Wheat is then roasted, ground into flour, and mixed into the steamed soybeans. Fungal spores, usually Aspergillus oryzae, A. sojae, and A. tamarii, are added in and left for 3 days.

The next step is fermentation, where a brine solution is added. This may be left to ferment for from 1 month up to 4 years. For some premium soy sauces such as double-fermented soy sauce , a raw soy sauce mix is added. After fermentation, the mixture is pressed to filter the solids, heated to remove molds and yeasts , and packed.

The acid hydrolysis method is much faster, taking just a few days. This uses soybeans without the oil, wheat gluten, and hydrochloric acid. The mixture is heated for 20 to 35 hours to break down the proteins.

Some soy sauces are a mixture of both traditional brewing and acid hydrolysis, which makes them cheaper but less tasty. A longer brewing time means better flavor.

What Type Of Soy Sauce Should I Buy

Now that you know the different types of soy sauces, lets look at when you want to use each.

Light Chinese Soy Sauce

Youll typically want to use this for any Chinese recipe that calls for soy sauce without further specifying. Its also what you use when thin soy sauce is required. Its used in a wide variety of marinades, dressings, and stir-fry. Its also a popular dip.

Keep in mind light Chinese soy sauce is the saltiest type. If you want to cut down on the salty taste, mix in some dark soy sauce. Also, if sodium intake is a concern, low sodium versions are available from most major brands.

Dark Soy Sauce

The average home chef will get far more use out of light soy sauce than dark. You never want to use dark soy sauce when a recipe calls for soy sauce. Instead, its used only when dark soy sauce is specifically requested.

Dark soy sauce has an intense flavor. Its typically reserved for what is called red-cooked dishes, which are traditional Eastern Chinese recipes that feature spices and pork, beef, or chicken.


Koikuchi is the most popular type of Japanese soy sauce. Its considered an all-purpose sauce. If you go to a Japanese restaurant, this is whats most likely on the table. Its what youll want to use if a Japanese recipe calls for soy sauce.

Koikuchi is used in the same ways as light Chinese soy sauce. Youll find it in many stir-frys and marinades. Plus, its used for bastes and as a dip.

Don’t Miss: Where To Buy Rao’s Sauce

Should You Pasteurize Your Soy Sauce

It is said that pasteurization of the soy sauce will help extend its shelf life, and the cooking of the sauce helps to enhace its flavor and aroma. The idea is that you are killing off the bacteria in the sauce, and also beginning a Maillard reaction to deepen the flavor.

While that seems to be the general consensus, Im not 100% sure if either of those statements is completely true. Ive seen home brewers say that they like to leave half of their soy sauce unpasteurized because they think unpasteurized soy sauce has a more complex flavor profile. They pasteurize in the hopes of having their soy sauce last longer.

In a similar bit of skepticism, I really have to wonder if killing off the bacteria in the sauce will really extend its shelf life. When you make something like a homemade sauerkraut, some people say that the beneficial lactic acid bacteria that form also help preserve it. In fact, Leucidal, a natural preservative that I introduced when I shared how to make a lotion, uses Leuconostoc kimchii, a lactic acid bacteria formed when fermenting radishes, to restrict the growth of other microorganisms.

Ill try to update this post as I experiment with pasteurizing part of my batch.

Where Did It All Begin

How to Make Soy Sauce at Home (Korean Style from Start to ...

To prepare for winter, people of prehistoric Asia preserved meat and fish by packing them in salt. The liquid that leached from the preserved meat was subsequently used as a base for savory broths and seasonings.

In the sixth century AD, the practice of Buddhism flourished in both Japan and China. Many Buddhists practiced vegetarianism, which created the need for a meatless seasoning. One such seasoning consisted of a salty paste of fermented grains including soybeans, the first known product to resemble modern soy sauce.

While studying in China, a Japanese Zen priest came across this new seasoning. Upon returning to Japan, the priest began making his own version and introduced it to others. Over the years, the Japanese modified the ingredients and brewing techniques. One change was the addition of wheat in equal proportion to the soybeans. This produced a soy sauce with a more balanced flavor profile that enhanced food flavors without overpowering them.

During the 17th century, legend has it that the original recipe for Kikkoman Soy Sauce was developed and brewed by a resourceful widow in Noda, Japan. Through the centuries, the soy sauce grew in popularity outside the borders of Japan.

Today, Kikkoman Soy Sauce is the best-selling and most widely recognized brand name of soy sauce in the United States, prized for its versatility as a flavor enhancer, sauce and marinade base, and table-top condiment.

500 B.C. Soy sauce was discovered in China.

  • Story of Soy Sauce

Read Also: Texas Pete Hot Sauce Recipe

Benefits Of Soy Sauces

Based on Wikipedia, a study by the National University of Singapore showed that Chinese dark soy sauce contains 10 times the antioxidants of red wine, and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Soy sauce is rich in lactic acid bacteria and is of excellent anti-allergic potential.

The nutritional content will vary depending on the variety of soy sauce and the ingredients used to make it.

It contains more than 300 different flavor compounds which provide a balanced complexity of flavors, many of which can mask fishy smells and infuse food with savory flavor.

Soy sauce enhances food by adding umami flavor of its glutamine acid which is one of the amino acids in soy sauce

When heated during frying or grilling meat marinated with soy sauce, soy sauce produces an rich, shiny coloring on food that stimulate the appetite.

Is There An Alternative To Soy Sauce

Since soy sauce is a unique, fermented product, and a core tenet of many cuisines across Northern to Southeast Asia, its difficult to replace accurately, and alternatives should really be used as a last resort. If its the salty-umami base of soy that youre after, you could of course reach for other soy products, like miso paste or black bean paste, which would be the most reliable contenders.

To varying degrees of success, you could also try using savory seasonings like Worcestershire sauce, Braggs liquid aminos , Maggi seasoning , fish sauce, oyster sauce, or beef stock. Id recommend using these lightly and only in dishes where soy sauce is used to help lift a dish, not where soy is the true base of a sauce. If youre not careful, something like chicken in soy sauce would irrevocably become chicken in fish saucenot the intended outcome. I am all for getting creative in the kitchen but as for an accurate dipping sauce replacementyou may just need to dash to the store.

Read Also: Texas Pete Hot Sauce Recipe

Recipes With Soy Sauce

Using soy sauce, and endless number of dishes can be prepared, from fried vegetables, rice, soups, all types of meats, fish, seafood, etc.

It is also used as a salad dressing. The majority of us try soy sauce for the first time with sushi because they pair excellently together.

Another favorable aspect of this dish is the fact that there are variations of it for people who are gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant.

Gluten-free soy sauce has been produced since 1962, without rice grains it was first introduced in European countries such as Spain.

Among the most popular recipes we can make at home, we have:

  • Sushi
  • Wakame salad with smoked marlin
  • Spinach with sesame seeds and soy
  • Broccoli and Shiitake mushrooms
  • Seaweed-marinated tuna
  • Beef cheeks with soy and ginger
  • Ossobuco with soy sauce

Properties Of Soy Sauce

This is how Soy Sauce is made

Soy sauce gives a lot of health benefits due to its high levels of nutrients.

Among which we can mention its fiber and protein content, fundamental nutrients for adequate internal functioning of an organism.

Many studies confirm that the consumption of soy sauce reduces the symptoms caused by arthritis and menopause.

It also contains essential amino acids and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

It also contributes in the retention of calcium in the bones, improving their health.

It also helps in reducing the number of triglycerides and LDL , thereby helping those who wish to lose weight.

Furthermore, soy sauce contains lecithin and high levels of beneficial antioxidants.

Lecithin is a food supplement that helps in brain and heart function, and controls the lipid levels in the blood, impeding the accumulation of fat buildup.

Also Check: Is Raos Keto

What Is Soy Sauce And How Is It Made

Chinese brewers first invented soy sauce over 2,000 years ago. Yesbrewers. Like sake, beer, and wine, soy sauce is a fermented food. Traditionally, soy sauce is made by cooking whole soybeans and crushed wheat into a thick paste, then inoculating the murky mash with Aspergillus mold. In Japanese, that mold is called koji, and its also used to make miso paste and sake.

Once the mash is good and bubbling, the brewer adds a salt paste or brine to boost the salinity and help the mold break down the beans and grains into amino acids and sugars that define the sauces base flavors. From there, the brewer presses out the solid mash and transfers the strained liquid to a clay urn, wooden barrel, or steel tank to age. Longer aging leads to deeper flavor and extra complexity, just like wine or balsamic vinegar.

Thats a lot of work for an everyday condiment. But of course, not all soy sauce is created equal. Many modern manufacturers eschew that labor-intensive traditional methods for a shortcut involving acid-hydrolyzed vegetable proteins that only takes days to brew, rather than months or years. To our taste buds, these industrial sauces are pale imitations of the real thing.

Fortunately these industrial brews easy to spot. Check your bottles ingredients if you see anything besides soy beans, wheat, salt, and mold cultures on the label, such as caramel coloring and natural flavors, steer clear.

Soy Sauce Is Also Linked To Some Health Benefits

Research on soy sauce and its components has found some potential health benefits, including:

  • May reduce
  • 52 ).

It should be noted that much of this research has only been done in animals or very small studies in people and used large doses of soy sauce or its components.

Therefore, while some of these results sound promising, it is too early to say whether soy sauce can contribute truly significant health benefits when its consumed at the level found in the average diet.

Summary Research on soy sauce has found promising potential health benefits, including for the immune system, gut health, cancer and blood pressure. However, since most studies have used animals or small sample sizes, more research in humans is needed.

Read Also: Where To Buy Rao’s Sauce

How Traditional Soy Sauce Is Really Made

Whether it’s included with Chinese takeout or filling the dipping bowl at a sushi restaurant, most people are relatively familiar with soy sauce. This dark brown liquid is not just flavorful but well balanced, Umami Information Center notes, touching on all five tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. But what actually goes into making this magical condiment?

The traditional method of making or brewing soy sauce is fairly straightforward, though time consuming. Soybeans are steamed or soaked in water, then mixed with crushed wheat, according to Eater, as the sugars in the wheat are important for the fermentation process. Then, mold is added, usually Aspergillus mold, notes Serious Eats, and left to sit for three days.

Next, the mixture is combined with water, salt and bacteria, usually lactobacillus, according to Serious Eats. The bacteria starts to break down the sugar in the mixture, and the fermentation begins. The fermentation is considered to be a two-step process. The first step, called koji in Japanese, is solid-state fermentation, which is the first part of the process when the wheat, soy and mold are left to sit . The second, moromi, is brine fermentation, which is what happens after the water and salt are added.

Soy sauce is traditionally left to ferment for two to three years, then the liquid is separated from the solids. That liquid ferments for one more week on its own, per Eater, and then finally bottled.

Soy Sauce From Japan To The World

How to Make Soy Sauce (Homemade Shoyu)

The internationalization of Japanese soy sauce actually began in the Edo era. Japan was then in its period of national isolation, but trade was permitted between Nagasaki and Holland as the only exception. The Dutch ships and Chinese ships started carrying Japanese soy sauce to the Chinese mainland, other parts of Southeast Asia, and as far as Holland. The soy sauce exported in that period was local soy sauce produced in Sakai in Osaka, in Kyoto, and in Kyushu. Other than shipping in barrels, it appears to have been sent in earthenware bottles called konpura bottles. After that, soy sauce was loved around the world as a versatile condiment. Its popularity joined with the current boom in Japanese food to put soy sauce on meal tables around the world.

Read Also: Where To Buy Rao’s Sauce

/10easy Process To Make Soy Sauce At Home

Soy sauce is an Asian condiment that is made by fermenting soybeans and has a deep and intense flavour. Apart from adding a distinct taste to a variety of dishes like noodles and curries, soy sauce also lends them a beautiful colour. Ingredients of a typical soy sauce include soybeans, water, wheat, salt and a strain of fungus to kickstart fermentation. Many brands of soy sauce available in the market have high amounts of sodium, thus negatively impacting health. Fortunately, you can make your own soy sauce at home with some patience, time and very little ingredients. Heres how

The soy sauce aisle in the grocery store can overwhelm anyone.

There are hundreds of varieties with different colors and flavors to choose from.

Most often called regular by Americans, light soy sauce is a good all-purpose seasoning and condiment that traditionally accompanies sushi dishes.

Dark soy sauce is a much sweeter variation of the original and thickened with molasses or caramel for even more flavor.

Have you ever tried a low-sodium soy sauce? It is made by an acid hydrolyzed vegetable protein method which does not require bacterial cultures.

Low sodium varieties are becoming popular for people watching their salt intake, as they may be the ideal sauce of choice.

Tamari is a lighter alternative to soy sauce, boasting clean and light flavors that make it an excellent option for those who are following gluten-free or wheat-free diets.

May Lower Ldl Cholesterol

As per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, intake of 25 g of soy protein per day can help reduce cholesterol effectively. A review published in Nutrients suggests that the bioactive peptides in soy can lower LDL cholesterol levels. However, more research is warranted to understand this benefit of soy sauce in humans.

Don’t Miss: Texas Pete Hot Sauce Recipe

The Roots Of Soy Sauce Are In China

Its said that the roots of soy sauce can be traced back to a sauce called jan in ancient China. That began from pickling raw materials in salt to preserve them, and there were varieties based on fruit, vegetables, and seaweed etc., on meat and fish, on meat only, and on grains. The grain type, using rice, wheat, and soybeans, is thought to be the archetype of soy sauce. It is not clear when it came to Japan, under the name hishio, but according to the Taiho Code, hishio made from soybeans was to be made at the hishio institute belonging to the cuisine division of the Imperial Household Agency. In modern terms, that hishio was midway between soy sauce and miso paste, and appears to have reached the dining tables of palace banquets. After that, the making of miso paste was begun using the Kinzanji method that the Zen monk Kakushin brought back from China in 1254 . It is said that while he was teaching that miso-making method to the villagers of Kishu Yuasa, he noticed that the liquid that seeps out of hishio tasted really good, and that became what is now known as tamari soy sauce.

Popular Recipes

More Recipes Like This