Reply To: Difference between Soy sauces..

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Kim Yunmi

The original Soy sauce probably was made of meat and soy beans supplanted it.

I can answer this since I researched it quite a bit… the major differences are: In the Southern China, Light soy sauce is made using fermented beans dried in the sun and air, whose byproduct (after the soy sauce is done) is most likely Douchi.

This takes about a year and a half to make and the beans are fermented separately, then put into brine, which may have other things, but not always. It was traditionally made without wheat. I’m guessing this is the original soy sauce due to how the other versions are more purposeful–as if someone knew this would be the byproduct.

The Northern Chinese Soy sauce uses beans dried in a similar process and then brewed together to make it quicker. This is a quicker process, but I’m guessing much later. They kinda make a mash of it and force it into liquid state, but the byproduct isn’t eaten at all. This is DARK soy sauce, BTW. It’s forced through a quicker process…

Korean Soy sauce in the light soy sauce variety is a ground, block, super moldy-made soy sauce. You grind the beans, make it moldy as possibly, harbor the right sort of mold and bacteria taken from rice straw and then put it into a brine usually with garlic, jujubes and sometimes ginger or thick kelp.

Koreans require wheat in the soy sauce, unlike the other two soy sauces as a binding agent for the blocks. I’m theorizing that the use of wheat back in china might have flowed from Korea and was added much later as a flavor agent.

The byproduct, doenjang, is eaten. It is interesting to note that traditional Korean fermenting emphasizes air and sun as the hidden ingredients of making anything.

Japanese soy sauce is made making a paste, same as Korean version, and then sometimes adding an additional mold (Koji) plus the wheat flour (high gluten content) becomes optional. This is because the paste is fermented in the dark. The byproduct would be miso. It has a milder flavor because of this and this is why Japanese can make things like Tamari which uses barley flour instead of wheat, which is lower in gluten. It’s pretty much fermented from the paste stage forward away from light and air, unlike all the other versions.

Beyond that the crock pots, etc also influence it, but that’s probably more detail than needed.