Mitoku uses GMO-free whole soybeans
There is a world of difference between Mitoku organic soy sauces and most other products on the market. The biggest difference is in the raw ingredients. Today, about 80% of the soy sauce produced in Japan uses processed soybeans, which are cheaper, easier to transport, and allow for quicker fermentation than whole soybeans. Mitoku, by contrast, uses only whole soybeans, which provide the full nutritional content of the soybean and take longer to ferment, resulting in a full-flavored sauce loaded with umami-rich amino acids. As Mitoku opposes the proliferation of genetically engineered foods, all of our ingredients are GMO-free.
Celebrating regional diversity
Shoyu was already indispensable to Japanese cuisine hundreds of years ago, when means of transport were still scarce in Japan. As a result, each region developed its own unique version of the sauce. At Mitoku, we honor this diversity by providing organic soy sauces from a variety of renowned manufacturing regions.
Organic Shoyu Soy Sauce
The deep, rich flavor of Mitoku’s traditional shoyu is a world away from that of cheaper, mass-produced products. Our shoyu is made without additives, using just four simple ingredients: whole soybeans, whole wheat, sea salt, and water. Each has a role to play, with the soybeans providing umami and the whole wheat giving the sauce a wonderfully appetizing aroma. The soybean quality is of special importance, which is why we insist on whole soybeans rather than the defatted variety used by most manufacturers.
Another vital element is the use of traditional techniques centered around three key processes: koji-making, fermentation, and maturation. Creating the right conditions for the powerful yet delicate koji culture to thrive is a task for experienced brewers, requiring skill and careful supervision. Wooden casks then provide the perfect environment for the koji-generated enzymes to get to work over a long period of fermentation and maturation.
Organic Salt Reduced Shoyu Soy Sauce
For those wishing to reduce their sodium intake, we also offer salt reduced versions of our traditional organic shoyu. Salt plays a key role in the fermentation process by preventing unwanted bacteria from propagating, leaving the koji, yeast, and other microorganisms free to work their magic.
For this reason, our salt reduced shoyu is initially brewed and matured in exactly the same way as our classic traditional shoyu. The salt content is then lowered towards the end of production.
The end result is a quality salt reduced soy sauce that retains all the benefits of traditional slow brewed shoyu — a fine choice for the health conscious soy sauce connoisseur.
Organic Smoked Shoyu and Tamari
These sensational smoked soy sauces are exciting additions to Mitoku’s shoyu range. Made using a special patented process by smoking our traditionally brewed organic shoyu or gluten-free organic tamari over Japanese cherry wood, these sauces are infused with dramatic and intense flavors, transforming them into exciting new taste experiences.
You can discover the best way to use these sauces for yourself by trying them in place of regular soy sauce to taste the difference, then experimenting with any dish you like, such as sushi, grilled dishes, or even smoked foods. Their powerful flavor and aroma mean just a few drops will be enough to enliven any dish.
Organic White Shoyu Soy Sauce
A distinctive new addition to our soy sauce line-up, Organic White Shoyu is pale amber in color and has a gentle, fragrant flavor that is markedly sweeter and lighter than that of its more full-bodied cousins. The reason is that, while most soy sauces contain a 50:50 ratio of soybeans to wheat, Mitoku’s Organic White Shoyu is soybean-free, made using high-quality whole wheat alone.
The subtle charms of this delicate shoyu make it a great addition to sauces, dressings, and more. An added bonus is that, unlike conventional shoyu, white shoyu can be used without altering the color of a dish. Despite its many benefits, this rare shoyu is only made by a handful of producers, located exclusively in the Aichi region of Japan.
Mitoku’s shoyu is made with just four simple ingredients: whole soybeans, whole wheat, salt, and water. Through fermentation, these ingredients are transformed into a delicious seasoning with an appetizing aroma and deep, rich color. Each ingredient plays its own special role. The protein content of the whole soybeans supplies umami, while the whole wheat gives the sauce its sweetness and distinctive fragrance. The salt works to protect the shoyu from bacteria during fermentation, and the water must be pure and fresh to produce a good quality sauce.
Traditional shoyu production relies on a series of carefully controlled processes, namely preparation, koji-making, fermentation, maturation, pressing, heating, filtering, and bottling. Below, we outline some of the key processes.
This stage is perhaps the most critical as it will shape the taste and quality of the entire batch. You cannot make good shoyu without good koji.
First, whole soybeans are soaked in water, then steamed. The producers must rely on their years of experience to determine the optimal volume of water and degree of steaming. Once steamed, the soybeans are mixed with roasted wheat, inoculated with the koji spores (Aspergillus oryzae), and stored in a special incubation chamber for a few days to allow the culture to propagate. The temperature and humidity of the room is carefully monitored and controlled to ensure that the resulting koji is fit for its task, which is to kick-start the fermentation process.
Fermentation and maturation
The next stage is to transfer the koji to large wooden tanks and add salted water. The salt halts the propagation of the koji so that its enzymes can instead get to work breaking down the whole soybeans and whole wheat. The fermentation tanks are rich with microorganisms, including lactic acid bacteria and yeast, each playing their own role in the fermentation process. With the ingredients now broken down, the shoyu is left to mature, allowing it to slowly develop the rich flavor, deep color, and complex aroma that is characteristic of Mitoku Shoyu.
Since living microorganisms drive this stage of production, shoyu can differ slightly from batch to batch. Consistency can be achieved, however, through the expertise of the producer. This can be done, for example, by deciding when the mixture should be stirred, a process that supports the work of the microorganisms, and by keeping a watchful eye on the mixture, making adjustments according to changes in weather or temperature. The exact length of the fermentation and maturation process will depend on the producer’s judgement. Once the batch is considered ready, the sauce is pressed, heated, filtered, and finally bottled.
Traditional shoyu can serve to enhance and deepen flavor in any type of cooking.
This versatile condiment can be used with any cuisine at any stage of cooking, be it preparation, during cooking, or at serving, bringing an appetizing aroma, depth of flavor, and color to almost any dish. This is down to shoyu’s unique balance of the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. This balance comes from the sauce’s base ingredients and the long process of fermentation and maturation.
In general, when using shoyu to season foods, it should be added only during the last few minutes of cooking. Brief cooking mellows the flavor and enables it to blend with and heighten rather than dominate other flavors in the dish. Adding a little shoyu to simmered dishes, for example, results in great depth of flavor. In longer cooking, shoyu’s complex, delicate taste and slightly alcoholic aroma is lost. When using shoyu to season soups or sauces, add just a little sea salt early in the cooking to deepen and blend the flavors of the ingredients, then add shoyu to taste shortly before serving.
Shoyu is also used to improve dishes when they are lacking in intensity. For example, adding a splash of shoyu even to a ready-made curry, tomato sauce, or soup will take the dish to another level. The aroma of shoyu is made up of several hundred different aromatic components, adding complexity to whatever dish it is used with. This is particularly the case for stir-fried, grilled, and barbequed dishes. The aroma of shoyu is heightened when the sauce is warmed, becoming even more distinctively flavorsome. It is important that shoyu is only added at the very end, to avoid burning off this aroma.
Another property of shoyu is its ability to mask odors from other ingredients. This odor-neutralizing quality is the reason why shoyu is used as a dipping sauce for sashimi.
Shoyu is also great as a flavor enhancer for marinating, pickling, and sautéing.