You can officially add soy sauce to the list of things you probably would like less if you saw how it was made.
What you are looking at is a batch of soy and wheat cakes floating in a fermenter full of brine.
The white stuff is Aspergillus oryzae mold, the same mold used in the fermentation of rice-wine.
The procedure from here on in is apparently to leave the fermenter in the sun for the next three months or more, stirring it twice daily. Traditionally the pots are left uncovered, but I’m a bit wary of local wildlife, curious passers-by and air pollution from nearby traffic, so we’ll be keeping it mostly closed.
As strange as it sounds, I’ve been really yearning to make soy sauce since it occurred to me a couple of months ago. From what I’ve read, traditionally brewed soy sauce has pretty amazing flavours. It’s one of those ideal situations where the home-made product can outstrip the commercial varieties without much difficulty.
I’m hoping to get somewhere in the vicinity of 20 litres, with the cost of ingredients at about $10. But the flavour is much more of an incentive; and while my beer and rice wine tend to disappear quite quickly, I like the idea of ‘cellaring’ a few bottles of soy sauce for years to come.