I am fermenting homemade soy sauce for the first time, and followed this generic recipe (that has no pictures).

Technically I made tamari, because i did not to put wheat / gluten into the mix (just soy bean, water and salt)


I am about 3 weeks into the 'in salt water' fermentation part, and am wondering 3 things:

1. is it safe to eat raw?
2. is the soy sauce supposed to turn black, or is brown normal?
3. subjectively, is it done?

below is how it looks now.

brown tamari after 3 weeks fermenting in pot

Here is how 'moldy' the wet soy beans were before i started drying them. Only one piece had a big visible piece of mold but i did leave it out for a week.

1 week wet soy bean

and this is 'how brown' the dry soybeans were before putting them into the salt water brown dried soy bean with little mold

it has smelled pretty bad the whole time, but now its not smelling so bad, it feels like it smells better, or i am just getting used to the smell.


  • 1
    If you want to get more attention, more answers, etc, that's totally fine, but do keep in mind that health and nutrition are off topic here. Food safety is fine, but health (especially long-term stuff, "healthy eating habits" etc) is out of scope, and we don't want to invite answers about it.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 16:49
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    The best cooking video I've seen on YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=PGhKwCq7SZk Worth a watch if you're undertaking such a monumental task.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Sep 23, 2017 at 2:42

1 Answer 1


Pretty much all the commercial soy sauces, after fermenting is done, press the mash, and the final step is to pasteurize the sauce. This not only kills mold and bacteria, it also alters the flavor in a favorable way, as well.

Cook's Illustrated: Brewing a Better Soy Sauce

For both safety and for a better homemade product, I'd recommend heating it, though I don't know enough to say it's dangerous when "raw", specifically.

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