Anything I’m Fermenting

May 15, 2008

The on-going soy sauce controversy…

Filed under: Brining,Lactobacillus,Soy Sauce — iwouldntlivethere @ 4:30 pm
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A couple of new issues have been brought up by Tadaki- is sea salt saltier, the same as, or less salty than regular salt? I really don’t know. I thought it was saltier, but Bittman claims the opposite. Considering he is a chef, cook book writer, and columnist for the New York Times, I’m going with him…for now, regardless of Campbell’s Soup’s marketing. In the end, I added a bit of water to the mash to dilute the salt, and it does taste more like regular soy sauce (in terms of saltiness) now.

Inigo suggests that: “I’d be concerned with the acidic taste, which shouldn’t be happening“. I just tasted it again, and perhaps I have over-stated the acidity. Comparing it to Kikkoman, they are fairly similar in acidity. I agree with Tadaki that the acid taste is likely from lactobacillus, and therefor not really anything to be concerned about. In fact, my original salinity was chosen to promote lactobacillus (among other micro-organisms) fermentation.

As to the aerobic vs. anaerobic question…well, I only really properly tried to aerate it when I first brined the dried soy patties. This was because in beer making, good aeration is needed initially (and only initially) to get the yeast to grow and multiply. After that you try to avoid exposure to oxygen to prevent oxidization (produces off-flavours). With the soy, after the initial shaking-up to aerate the mash, I have only stirred the mash fairly regularly, but not too vigourously, so a bit of oxygen was likely added, but not much. Transferring to the glass jar probably re-aerated the mash, but then all salt I added probably killed off most of what was growing in the mash. Taken together, all this means I probably have something like the ‘microaerophillic’ conditions described in that patent Tadaki sent:

The purpose of these intermittent aeration steps is essentially accomplish in the fermenting Maromi a microaerophillic condition, i.e., a state of oxygen tension that is less than atomospheric and being on the border between aerobic and anaerobic conditions. As can be appreciated from the above, the initial fermentation can be under either anaerobic or microaerophillic conditions, but microaerophillic conditions are preferred. Microaerophillic conditions, at least for part of the fermentation time, develop a superior full-flavor and full-body soy sauce.

I have also noticed that after handling my soy sauce, I can have a fairly stong fish-sauce like smell on my hands – just like after handling a bottle of fish-sauce. This echoes what canucklehead found on tasting his uncle’s home made soy sauce.

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