Kikkoman is traditionally brewed and aged for full flavor, just like a great wine. We start with the finest soybeans and wheat. We blend them with a starter culture, water and salt. And then we add the most important ingredient of all: time. Despite the advances of technology, our fermentation process simply can't be hurried. It takes several months for the rich, mellow flavor and the complex bouquet of Kikkoman Soy Sauce to develop.
Non-brewed soy sauce, on the other hand, is made in a matter of hours from ingredients like hydrolyzed vegetable protein and caramel coloring. Its flavor is harsh and one-dimensional. Kikkoman enhances and balances other flavors, while non-brewed soy sauce can mask and overwhelm them. From flavor and aroma to color, there's just no comparison.
The traditional brewing of soy sauce is accomplished in three distinct steps: koji-making, brine fermentation and refining.
1. Koji-making: To begin the process, carefully selected soybeans and wheat are blended under precisely controlled conditions. Next, a proprietary culture starter, or seed mold, is introduced, and the mixture is allowed to mature for three days in large, perforated vats.
2. Brine Fermentation: The resulting culture, or koji, is then transferred to fermentation tanks, where it is mixed with a brine solution to produce a mash called moromi. Next, we add the most important ingredient of all: time. Despite the advances of technology, the fermentation process simply can't be hurried. It takes many months for the full flavor, color and aroma of the soy sauce to develop.
3. Refining: Finally, the matured mash is pressed to extract the raw soy sauce, which is then refined, treated with heat and packaged.