Discover the sweetness of amazake
Amazake is the product of an enzymatic reaction that breaks down the starch of a grain (typically sweet rice) in a simpler sugar. It's the same chemical reaction that would occur in our stomach thanks to our digestive enzymes. In this case, the enzymes are contained in the koji (see the section about koji).
Amazake is an alkaline fermentation (i.e. with basic pH) originating in Asia (China and Japan) whose manufactureisreassembled at the time Kofun in the Wa peoples (250 to 538 After Jesus Christ). Its existence is recounted in the "Nihon-Shoki" (or "Chronicles of Japan"), one of the oldest books recounting classical Japanese history and the origins of Japan. The term "amazake" means "sweet sake" since the drink is the very first step in the manufacture of this alcohol. Amazake, however, contains no alcohol and rather has a floral taste, quite neutral and naturally sweet. It is mainly consumed asa hot or cold drink, traditionally served during NewYear's Day celebrations (still today). In popular culture, it is credited with many nutritional and cosmetic virtues.
To make amazake, three ingredients are needed:
Rice: 3 cups (750 ml)
Water: 3 l. (fresh spring water if possible)
1. Cook the cereal according to our usual method. If you want an amazake with a texture similar to oatmeal, you can put slightly more water for cooking.
2. Allow the cereal to cool to 57degrees Celsius (not above 59 degrees Celsius). If the cereal is allowed to cool to room temperature it is not serious but there is a greater risk of contamination.
3. Add the koji and the water and mix with the cereal.
4. Put into a rice cooker, cover with a coton towel, and let the cover slightly opened by putting a chopstick to block the cover.
5. Keep fermenting at a temperature slightly below 60 degrés for 6 to 20 h, using the « keep warm » function of the slow cooker. Depending on the proportion of koji and the incubation temperature, the enzymatic process will be longer or shorter.
You can now enjoy your amazake which should be sweet and warm, sometimes slightly bubbly. It keeps for a week in the fridge but taste could change (amazake will slowly turn sour as the sugar turns into alcool and lactic acid).