Good evening. This is Ren MURO , a store specializing in rice koji amazake.
Today, under the name of "Amazake Craft Story", we will introduce a popular amazake brewer at Ren MURO .
Rice made for the purpose of sake brewing is called "sake brewing suitable rice", and among them, "Yamada Nishiki" is said to be the king of sake brewing suitable rice. I would like to introduce “Arimoto” who makes amazake using this Yamada Nishiki.
■ My main business is making rice crackers
Most of the amazake makers make sake, miso, and soy sauce that are related to rice koji. However, Mr. Arimoto's main business is actually making rice crackers, and he makes rice crackers using local Yamada Nishiki rice.
Mr. Nishimura, who works as a microbiological food advisor in Hyogo, requested me to make Amazake with Yamada Nishiki as a test. This was so delicious that we decided to commercialize it. However, Mr. Nishimura does not have a “muro” facility for making koji. Therefore, we decided to ask the nearby sake brewery “Ibaraki Shuzo” to manufacture rice koji.
"Yamada Nishiki Amazake" is made by Mr. Arimoto under the supervision of Mr. Nishimura using 100% Yamada Nishiki rice malt made by Ibaraki Shuzo. It can be said that Amazake is made with the cooperation of local specialists.
Reasons for using Yamadanishiki
Yamada Nishiki Amazake is characterized by the fragrant aroma of Yamada Nishiki rice and the smoothness of its drink, but the secret lies in the rice.
The rice used is called "saimai," which is the part of the rice that has been shaved to make sake. The grains of broken rice are fine and broken here and there, so it is soft and absorbs water easily. It is said that this is partly gelatinized (gelatinized rice starch) by frictional heat.
That's why you can achieve a smooth and refreshing drinking experience. Also, broken rice is easy to swell and has a crispy texture, so it seems to be perfect for making rice crackers.
In the first place, Yamada Nishiki is a suitable rice for sake brewing. Each rice suitable for sake brewing has different characteristics, and Yamada Nishiki is a soft rice that is very soft. Therefore, it is easy to absorb water and easy for koji mold to enter and propagate, so it is easy to make koji and is popular with sake brewers.
The freshly made koji mold is just like Tianjin sweet chestnuts, and is very delicious. It seems that children may pinch the snacks.
For these reasons, Yamada Nishiki is suitable for making rice malt, and it is also suitable for amazake.
■ Observe the manufacturing process of Yamada Nishiki Amazake
We interviewed Mr. Arimoto from Arimoto, Mr. Nishimura from food advisor, and Mr. Ibaraki from Ibaraki Brewery. Thanks to everyone's kindness, I was able to remotely observe part of the manufacturing process of Ibaraki Shuzo's koji room and Arimoto's Yamada Nishiki Amazake.
The first is Mr. Ibaraki's koji room. In order to breed the koji, a heater is used even in winter, and the environment is always maintained at 30-40 degrees.
First, the steamed rice is spread on a cloth in the koji room and cooled to a temperature where the koji mold can be touched. Next, sprinkle koji mold spores on the rice and let it sit for the first day. On the second day, as the koji mold becomes active from early in the morning, it is moved to a wooden box and stirred by hand about once every three hours to keep it constant.
The finished rice koji is left in the freezer until it is needed. They prepare 100 kilograms of sake at a time, and they prepare it once every two days, especially from October to March, when sake brewing is popular.
The koji mold used is the koji mold from Hishiroku in Kyoto, which is also available at our store. Mr. Ibaraki, who is a chief brewer, says that "the characteristics (the temperature range in which it is easy to grow) differ depending on the koji mold," so he is currently using Hishiroku's koji mold, which he is accustomed to using.
Next is Nishimura-san and Arimoto-san's amazake factory. First, water is added to Yamada Nishiki crushed rice used for amazake, and then it is cooked by heating it with steam using a double pot. When the rice is cooked, add more water to make it like porridge.
Yamada Nishiki's crushed rice has very small grains and is pure white. It's so pretty, and just that alone seems to convey the deliciousness.
Usually, amazake is made by adding koji to the cooked rice all at once, letting it sit overnight while maintaining a warm temperature to saccharify, and then packing it into a container. However, here, 90% of the cooked rice and 10% of the malted rice are directly added to the product pack, sealed, and placed in warm water to saccharify.
According to Mr. Nishimura, this is because "this method has a higher sterilization effect." The saccharified amazake is heat sterilized with steam for each pack to complete.
This is a method to eliminate secondary pollution. Since rice koji amazake is additive-free, it is sterilized one by one instead of saccharifying a lot at once to prevent bacteria from entering the product. That's why it can be distributed at room temperature.
In this way, many people are involved in the making of Yamada Nishiki Amazake, but at the end, we received a message for our customers.
"It's been difficult these days due to the influence of the coronavirus, but I want to protect everyone's health by choosing and buying a lot of products."
“Because we are a sake brewery, we can only offer traditional Japanese fermentation technology, but we would like to continue making delicious sake and amazake with that technology and delivering it to everyone.”
Yamada Nishiki amazake is made by a team of people who are passionate about koji and amazake, full of Kansai people. We are the only store in the Kanto region that sells this product all the time, so please try it.
Click here for a list of Arimoto 's amazake
Thank you for reading to the end today.
Noren MURO Kagurazaka
Address: 1-12-6 Kagurazaka , Shinjuku -ku, Tokyo 162-0825
Phone number: 03-5579-2910
Website URL : http://noren-japan.jp/store/murokagurazaka/
EC site URL : https://koujiamasake.jp/
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/noren_muro/