Tenpokura Soy Sauce From Matsumoto Craft Soy Sauce Factory
Tenpokura soy sauce is a naturally brewed saishikomi soy sauce that has been aged for 1 year. It is made with the best local ingredients like soybeans and wheat and let to aged in a large wooden vat for 1 year. This soy sauce is very versatile. It can be used as a cooking ingredient or as an additional condiment.
*Saishikomi soy sauce: A soy sauce that is brewed not only with salted water, but also with an already finished soy sauce batch. Hence, it has a very rich flavor.
Located In Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture
Matsumoto Craft Soy Sauce is a soy sauce brewery that have been establish for about 250 years in Kawagoe City. In the brewery that is built in 1830s, where 40 large vats that has been used since Edo period line up, soy sauce manufacture continues with a traditional method. Inside the historical brewery, a lot of fermentation is done. Like koji mold, yeasts, and lactic acid bacteria. Using all of these, Matsumoto soy sauce is born.
The Making of Koji
On the making of soy sauce, the most important point is the making of koji. Koji is a type of fermentation product that is made from aspergillus oryzae. It is a very common ingredient to make many traditional Japanese food like soy sauce, miso, amazake, etc. Using wheat from Saitama and soybeans from Kawagoe, koji is made for about three days. Even though right now this work is done by machines, but the koji room is routinely checked every night by people to make sure that the humidity and the temperature is optimal for the propagation of koji mold.
Fermentation And Maturation
After the koji is propagated, it is moved to a very large vat. In this stage, salted water and unpasteurized soy sauce is added to the mix. The moromi (soy solution) that is made from this mixture is let to age for more than a year. During this step, the maturation is done by various fungi like koji, yeast, and lactic acid bacteria. All these fungi have different functions in the moromi. Koji mold acts as a 'stir' that mix various fungi together during the first step. After that, yeast and lactic acid will break down the mixture and help the maturation process. Mixing the moromi up and down manually is also okay, but with the work of the yeast, there is a possibility that the fermentation will cause the moromi to overflow from the vat. So it is better to observe the soy solution and carefully paddle the mixture.
After matured, the moromi is spread little by litte on a piece of cloth. It will be stacked and compressed. The soy sauce extraction took 3 days. The liquid that will come out is called unpasteurized soy sauce. During this stage, the yeast in the soy sauce is still alive, there is still remaining sediments, and the aroma is still fairly weak. With pasteurization, heat is added to the soy sauce and it will kill the yeast and improve the aroma. Temperature setting and heating time will affect the smell and taste of soy sauce. So after the heat is added, the heat will be reduced little by little. After that it is let to cool down naturally.
A Craftman's Intuition
Expert craftmen would check the state of the fermentation by taste and aroma, While the company president, Kimio Matsumoto, would check by completing a scientific analysis. The surprising thing is, the analysis result done by the craftmen are exactly the same as the scientific analysis. It's amazing how a person can sense the change in complicated fermentation process. Even though the process took one year, depending on the temperature of the day the process may also take 400 days. During those times, only veteran craftmen's intuitions will win.
||Soybeans, wheat, salt
||1 year after production date
||Refrigerate after opening