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Homemade Amazake

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    Homemade Amazake

    The night before last I 'put up' some amazake to brew and last night I had some blueberry amazake for desert.

    Pictured is a pint bottle of it made by GRAINAISSANCE and costing well over three bucks. With costs like this the incentive to do the homemade thing is clear and I had all the necessary ingredients and stuff on hand so the immediate outlay was nil. The most expensive component for the brew is rice koji and I had some in the fridge I'd bought way back.

    This Japanese treat is mainly made for the holidays and involves the slow fermentation of cooked grain, usually rice, by 'injecting' it with a specific mold and keeping the resultant concoction quite warm for about half a day. I cooked a cup each of sushi and red rice using lots of extra water and mixed the partly cooled mass with the rice koji. Then I ladled it all into a pre-heated half gallon jar and incubated it in a water bath on the stove for ten hours to make the basic desert treat. The mold transforms the rice's starch into sugars.

    After cooling it a little, I poured the amazake into a big blender, added frozen blueberries and pureed it all into a delicious, fluffy sweet drink. This is the first time I've made amazake since about the turn of the century and it was pleasing to find that the rice koji was still vital and gratifying to know that I can still do this well enough to produce a fine amazake. Yum!
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."


    Amazaké at the
    Nakamura-ro restaurant
    The Book of Miso (p. 163)

    Amazaké (pronounced ah-mah-ZAH-kay) means literally "sweet sake". It is a delicious, creamy hot rice drink with a ", ambrosial flavor...most popular during the winter months, especially at New Year’s. Rich in natural sugars, it has long served as a sweetening agent in Japanese cookery."(1) It can be used in place of sugar in many recipes, and is especially nice for baking.
    Homemade Amazaké

    3 cups brown rice
    1 1/2 cups dry Brown Rice Koji
    A steel stemmed thermometer will be helpful to check temperatures.
    Pressure cook brown rice using 3 cups rice to 5 cups water for about 45 minutes. Or boil rice without pressure using 6 cups water to 3 cups rice for 50-60 minutes. Do not use salt in the cooking.
    • When done, stir the grain from top to bottom and transfer into a glass, Pyrex, or ceramic mixing bowl. Let the grain cool down to 110-130º F.
    • Use about 1 1/2 cups dry koji to 4 cups cooked grain. Stir koji well into the warm rice. Try to fill the bowl almost full and cover with a lid or plate to conserve heat. The mixture will tend to be thick but will thin out as it ferments.
    • Keep the container in a warm place for 5-8 hours or overnight. The temperature of the fermenting grain should stay between 115-130º during incubation. You can incubate Amazaké in the bottom of your oven over the pilot light. You can also use a hot water bath with a larger bowl, keeping the water 130-140º F.
    • If possible, stir mixture with a wooden spoon several times during incubation, checking the temperature as you go. The grain should start to smell sweet and become more liquefied as it ferments. If after 5 hours it is not sufficiently sweet to your taste, let it ferment 2-3 hours longer. When the fermentation is complete, the mixture will be sweet tasting, and the individual grains will be soft.
    • Now simmer the Amazaké over a low flame for 15 minutes to stop further fermentation. This is now your Amazaké base, which you can store in glass jars in the fridge until ready for use.

    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."