Non-GMO Soy Sauce Series
- The History of Soy Sauce.
Soy sauce is one of the oldest condiments in the world. The earliest record in history dated back to Western Han Dynasty. Back in the days, it was a high-class condiment for emporium class. Initially, it was made from fresh meat. When the recipe passed around to commoners, the main ingredient changed to a cheaper material - soybean. For hundreds of years, the making process was held by few craftsmen families. Until now, it has spread throughout Southeast & East Asia. Soy sauce nowadays around the world are blended in with the uniqueness of every culture.
- What is soy sauce made from?
The fundamental ingredients in soy sauce are soybeans, water, salt and A. oryzae (Aspergillus oryzae or goji). In Taiwan, there are two main-stream types of soy sauce making. The first type inherits from Japanese that uses soybean and wheat as the key ingredient; the second type derives from the south-east of China that uses black soybean as the main ingredient. Soy sauce made from wheat & soybean. Soy sauce made from black soybean has a unique name in Madrian - "蔭油.".
- What is Aspergillus oryzae?
In short, it's a kind of yeast. The cultivation of A. oryzae usually uses ground grain, bean or steamed-rice to mix with the culture. Through the breakdown of microbes, the final result can be granular or powdery form. A. oryzae plays a critical role in Asian culinary art. In the making of miso, vinegar, alcohol and soy sauce, its presence is vital.
- Why is salt added?
Salt plays a vital role for antisepticizing in soy sauce making. There exists a fragile balance between corruption and ripening of the soy sauce. Salt is the only thing to hold this line. The salinity of soy sauce making is approx. 16% to 20%. If the salinity is lower than 16%, other bacteria overpopulates that leads to corruption. If the salinity is higher than 20%, it curbs the growth of A. oryzae. Fermentation fails in that case. In Taiwan, the most common salt used in soy sauce making is sea salt which mostly is made from Australia & Brazil. Some premium one uses halite (rock salt).
- What is chemical soy sauce?
Chemical soy sauce was once a new technology to benefit the commoners. It was introduced from Japan to Taiwan in the Japanese Occupation Period. During the time, this quick production technique shortened the fermentation duration from at least four months to one week. It made soy sauce a consumable that's affordable for everyone in the time of livelihood material lacking.
Chemical soy sauce is not made from the natural fermentation process. The process mixes corrosive hydrochloric acid with degreased soybean mash, then heat up the mixture to speed up the fermentation. When acid and protein (the main element of soybean) are blended, protein is broken down and become amino acid (which the taste "Umami" comes from.) Like natural fermentation soy sauce, the amino acid is produced as the final result. However, the process of hydrolysis of acid to protein creates a risk that natural process doesn't have. A chemical "3-monochloro-1,2-propanediol, 3-MCPD" is created when the remaining fat of degreased soybean encounters hydrochloric acid. Though the conclusion is not 100% certain, there are some studies shown that it is a potential cancerogenic chemical compound.
It is recommended by our experts to consume chemical soy sauce as less as possible to avoid any potential damage to our health.
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