Archives for posts with tag: Sake

Besides making miso and soy sauce you can use koji for making amazake and sake rice wine.

All you need is some rice koji, rice and a warm place. About half as much koji as rice.

Cook the rice to the point where it has a mushy consistency. Let it cool, then mix in the rice koji. Add enough water to maintain the thin mushiness.

Now put it in a warm place for 8 hours. I put mine in the heat cabinet along with the koji that is in the process of growing. Instructions for making amazake recommend keeping the temperature at 55 degrees centigrade, but the 30 degrees I have works fine. It just takes a little longer.

Taste it after 8 hours. If it is sweat enough, harvest. if not, let it continue to ferment in the heat for a few more hours or as long as necessary.

When it is done, you can heat it up to boiling point to stop the enzyme action (the amylaze is breaking down the starches of the rice into simple sugars) and keep in the refrigerater.

Amazake can be eaten as it is or used as a sweetener. You can use it in cookies, cakes, shakes, smoothies, puddings and much more.

If you let it continue to ferment, wild yeasts will gradually turn the sugars into alcohol. After filtering out the solids you’ll have sake.

I prefer the sweet to the alcohol.

Step 8

The evening of the sixth day

It is time to package the koji that has been drying for two days. In plastic bags it will keep for years in the coolness of the food storage room of the cellar. I will probably use it up within a half a year.

The 800 grams of rice has now become 700 grams of rice koji full of enzymes. Amylase which catalyses the breakdown of starch into sugars, lipase which facilitates the breakdown of fats and protease for the breakdown of proteins. Perfect for making soybeans more palatable as in miso and soy sauce fermentation.

This 700 grams of koji will make as much as 3 kilos of miso. It can also be used to make amazaké rice pudding and saké rice wine.

And that brings us to the end of one koji making cycle.

However, the next batch of rice koji that has been growing these last two days is ready for harvest, and the third batch will now be put to soak. This succession of procedures will continue for the next few weeks.

While the snow falls outside and makes the skating difficult but the skiing better, I laze around the house reading. I have also gathered all the stuff needed to make koji – the key ingredient in miso making. Koji is a controlled mold growth on grain. It is rich in enzymes used for breaking down soybeans in the production of various kinds of miso and soy sauce. It is also key in sake making.

For the next few days I will go through the steps of koji making. It takes three days to make each batch.

– the heat cabinet
– steam cooker
– mold growing containers
– pots and pans and strainers etc.

The main thing:
– rice
– tane koji

I use ecologically grown short grain rice that has been polished. Polishing to a certain degree makes it possible for the mold to penetrate and grow into the kernel of the rice. The source of the mold is the tane koji which I order from Japan. This is a powder – a collection of living spores of the mold Aspergillus oryzae. The spores last a long time (I have had good tane koji remain viable for more than 30 years), and germinate when the conditions of humidity and warmth become right.

The first step is to rinse and soak the rice (here 800 grams) for about 8 hours. In the meantime rinse and clean the equipment from the dust that has accumulated since the last koji making. Sometimes I have had to boil things that have become contaminated with other microorganisms.

Other kinds of rice or grains can be used, but white rice is the easiest and therefore best to start with. After making koji a number of times, one gains a feel for the right smells, taste, color, humidity and dryness that is necessary for the best quality koji. Then you can go wild experimenting with different grains or other types of substrate.