Celebrating 100 years in business this year, Yugeta are truly masters in the craft of soy sauce production. Using soya beans farmed in Aomori and water flowing from the Chichibu mountains, they brew their highly prized soy sauce in enormous cedar barrels. Some of the same barrels, or ‘Kioke’, that were made when the Yugeta family started their adventure with soy sauce, are still in use a century later. With a capacity of 3600 litres, there are very few craftsmen alive who can still make these incredible barrels.
Traditional soy sauce is made with just four ingredients: Koji (Aspergillus oryzae) is added to steamed soya beans and roasted wheat. The temperature in the room is set at 30°C and 100% humidity. The koji mould is allowed to grow for 3 days to create ‘koji’ or malt. The koji is then moved to the cedarwood barrels where it is mixed with salted water. This ‘Moromi’ mash is then left to ferment and mature for a minimum of one year. Once the soy is judged to be ready it is pressed, filtered and bottled. One of the most popular Yugeta soy sauces is their double fermented, unpasteurised, unfiltered fresh soy sauce which has 20% less salt than normal soy sauce and a wonderfully smooth but rich flavour.