Well over the weekend I decided to try my hand at making Amazake. Amazake is a no alcohol or low alcohol sake that is sweet. Amazake is also reported to have many health benefits as well. It is supposed to be good for skin, hair, has lots of enzymes to aid digestion, can aid in weight loss,is a probiotic, and has lots of B vitamins to give you an energy boost.
There are two ways to make Amazake. The non-alcoholic way is to use rice, rice koji and water and let it ferment for 8-12 hrs. The second low alcohol way is to mix sake kasu (pressings from the production of sake), water, and sugar. Since sake kasu is left over from the production of sake it does have some alcohol content to it. I went with non-alcoholic method for my kids to try.
The first thing I did was gather the ingredients. Rice koji was going to be the trickiest thing for me to get since it really isn’t available at supermarkets near me. I did pick some up at Mitsuwa Japanese supermarket when I was on the road. I was also able to find it on Amazon if I was in a pinch.
Also, I read that temperature control is the key to Amazake.
From the many recipes and articles, I read you want to keep it at about 140°F or 60°C. You can’t really go above 140°F or the koji will die and you can’t get to low with the temperature or it will stop fermenting. I was thinking how I was going to do that. My first thought was to use my rice cooker. I thought I could use the warm function on it. From what I read you could use that but it was too hot so you would need to leave cover open and cover the bowl with a cloth and monitor the temperature. My second thought was maybe my Crock-Pot on warm. That runs about 140°F. I also thought about using a sous vide. I could ensure it would keep the temperature. I did not have a sous-vide. As I investigated buying one, I ended up finding a slow-cooker that had a sous-vide function. My Crock-Pot had been
around a while, so I decided to upgrade.
The first step was to wash some rice. I then cooked a few cups as normal in my rice cooker. Once it was done I let it cool down. I then took 1 cup of the cooked rice and added 2.5 cups of water (600ml) in a glass storage bowl. I mixed it a little bit. Once it the temperature was around 120°F I added 1 cup of the koji rice and mixed it thoroughly. Once I felt it was thoroughly mixed, I put the covered glass bowl inside my crockpot using the sous vide function. I had the crockpot filled with water heated to 135°F. I figured the temp would go up and down a few degrees as the crockpot kept the temperature. I mixed it about 4 hours in and let it ferment overnight. It fermented for a little over 11 hrs.
Well I think I got impatient and probably could have let it ferment a little longer. I ended up with what looked like gruel that tasted sweet. It remained about the same amount of sweetness. I then let it cool off a little but and put it in a blender and smoothed it out into liquid that looked pretty much like milk. I put it in some ball jars and store them in my refrigerator.
I have been using it to make smoothies with fruits and vegetable. It does give me a nice energy boost around lunch time when I drink it and tastes great. I also drank it by itself warm and I also enjoyed it.
My wife has taken a little bit of it and uses it in baths as well as puts it on her face. She says it is making her skin nice and smooth. She said it has worked better than some store-bought lotions. I think her skin feels smooth and I will take her word for it. My kids also tried it and said they like it.
Well this venture into amazake has been fun and I will continue to make it and enjoy it as part of my diet. If you have an interest do not be intimidated. Just get in the kitchen and try it. It could be a beverage you and your whole family will enjoy. Since if you make it with rice, koji rice, and water it will be zero alcohol and since it is sweet the kids will enjoy it as well.