Japanese Food
There are two types of amazake:
1) Sake kasu (lees) + water + sugar
2) Koji (rice malt) + water + cooked rice (either uruchi mai (ordinary rice) or mochi gome (glutinous rice)).
The former is easier to make because it does not require fermentation, while the latter requires fermentation. I’ve been familiar with the former since childhood (and I’ve never been a big fan of it), but I hadn’t had the opportunity to try the latter until the International Festival held at IUJ the other day. It was surprisingly sweet although it contained no sugar.
In present Japan, amazake is usually a winter beverage, but according to Wikipedia, it was a summer beverage in the Edo period, and was drunken to fight off natsu bate (summer fatigue).
Amazake contains nutrients comparable to those of drip infusion, so is called “nomu tenteki” (lit. drinking drip infusion), and is also called “sougou vitamin zai” (lit. multivitamin supplement).
1) 酒粕(さけかす) + 水 + 砂糖
2) 麹 + 水 + ご飯(うるち米か、もち米)
Today, I made my very first attempt to make the latter type of amazake. I bought a pack of 400 g koji.
今日は、後者の甘酒を初めて作ってみました。400 gの麹を1パック買いました。
Most recipes call for both koji and cooked rice (1:1), and many recommend using mochi rice because this results in sweeter amazake.
Referring to several recipes, I decided to use koji only, with no cooked rice.
1 liter water
400 g koji
Thermos bottle
1. Break koji into individual grains.
(I did so while leaving the koji in the bag, so I didn’t have to touch it with my bare hands.)
麹 400 g
1. 麹を一粒づつにします。
2. Put koji in thermos bottle.
2. 麹を魔法瓶に入れます。
3. Bring water to a boil, cool down to 70oC, and add to thermos bottle.
4. Check the temperature. It should be in the range of 55 to 60oC.
5. Check the temperature occasionally, say, every 2 hours. If it’s lower, transfer to a pot, heat, and return to thermos bottle.
4. 温度を調べます。55~60oCの範囲になるはずです。
5. 温度を時々(2時間に一回)調べます。低ければ、鍋に移し、加熱し、魔法瓶に戻します。
6. Amazake will be made in 8 hours. Bring to a boil to stop the fermentation.
6. 8時間で甘酒ができます。沸騰させて発酵を止めます。
1. When I combined koji and water in the thermos bottle at 14:00, the temperature was 53oC.
At 16:00, 55oC
At 18:00, 52oC
At 19:30, 52oC
I added some (about 100 ml) 70oC water in an attempt to raise the temperature, but I managed to increase it to 53oC.
At 21:30 (7.5 hours later), 52oC
I tasted the amazake, and thought it was not sweet enough. I transferred to a pot, heated to 60oC, and returned to the thermos. I will keep the amazake in it overnight, and see what it will be like tomorrow morning.
2. My wife also tasted it, and said it was good, very similar to the amazake her grandmother used to make.
3. I will not boil the amazake to stop fermentation. I think I’ll simply put in the fridge. I have another thing to do: making bread with the amazake.
4. If allowed to ferment, amazake would turn into sake and eventually into vinegar. 
1. 私が14:00に麹とお湯を混ぜた時は、温度は53oCでした。
70oCのお湯を少し(約100 ml)入れて、温度を上げようとしましたが、53oCに上がっただけでした。
2. 妻も試飲し、「美味しい、昔、おばあちゃんが作ってくれたのとよく似ている」と言ってました。
3. 私は甘酒を沸騰させて発酵を止めることはしません。単に冷蔵庫に入れるつもりです。他にすることがあるので。この甘酒でパンを作ることです。
4. 発酵し続けると、甘酒はお酒に、最後にはお酢になります。
To be continued.

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