Soybeans, barley, salt and water are the only ingredients. Established in 1901, Maruhide Shoyu is one of the few shoyu makers that allows the shoyu to ferment naturally for 2 years.
“Many of the shoyu products add lactic bacteria or yeast, or manually control the temperature of the mash to induce fermentation. This means it only takes 3 to 5 months for the shoyu to ferment, but we only use bacteria that exists naturally in our storehouse, so it takes 2 years. This is a traditional method that results in a shoyu with an almost fruity scent.”
Shoyu was poured into a wine glass so we could enjoy the aroma. The aroma was definitely different from the typical shoyu. It was much milder and refreshing, yet you could also pick up the underlying depth and flavor. Not to say that a longer fermentation period result in better shoyu. “You get better aroma if you ferment for 3 years, but you also lose some of the flavor (umami).” Of course, ingredients are important as well, and only locally sourced whole soybeans from Saga are used.
“It’s true that sweet shoyu is delicious, but we recommend naturally fermented shoyu if you want to enjoy the flavor of the ingredients such as light tasting sashimi. We also make sweet shoyu for local use, but we only add sweet sake (‘amazake’) to avoid disrupting the flavor of the shoyu itself.”
Media have recently focused on the health benefits of fermented foods. Since fermentation allows you to preserve foods, fermented foods have been staples since before refrigerators were available. Fermentation also increases the amino acids and sugars in food, making them more delicious. This resulted in the popularity of using `shio koji` (salted rice malt) for cooking. “Fermentation themed” restaurants have even popped up as people begin understanding how fermented foods can also help your digestion and boost your immune system.
Most think of shoyu, miso and natto as fermented foods, but cheese, pickles and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) are also fermented, as are sake, black tea, and oolong tea. In fact, Japanese consume quite a large volume of fermented foods, and many are sure to prefer quality items since it is such a large part of everyday life.
Maruhide uses 10 different grains, all domestically grown, such as soybeans, red rice, black rice, green rice, barley, millet and Japanese millet to produce products such as “jukkoku miso (10 grain miso)” by applying koji bacteria directly to the mixed grains, and shoyu and miso using quinoa for those with allergies.
Barrels filled with moromi (mash) bubbled in the large wooden barrels, releasing a fragrant aroma during the fermentation process. Premium shoyu is made with attention to detail at each step, by skilled professionals who carry on tradition, using bacteria that has thrived in this historical storehouse and carefully selected ingredients.
- 6-11-9 Takakise-nishi, Saga-shi, Saga
- TEL 0120-32-1141 (toll free)
- URL https://shizen1.com/index.php