Blog_Amazake_Sarah_12.30.14_1When the winter cold sets in, I start to crave something warm, creamy and sweet. Amazake makes me feel cozy and festive, and it’s cultured! It also couldn’t be easier to make.

You will need Koji rice, some uncooked rice, and a warm incubation spot. I used my dehydrator, but many of the methods for incubating tempeh will also work if you turn up the heat a bit more.

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Measure out 450 grams of rice. I used white rice, but brown rice or any other grains works just as well.

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Rinse the rice and cover with enough water to cover the big knuckle on your index finger. You could measure the rice by volume and add just over double the amount of water if you prefer. I just prefer this method. No measuring cups needed!

Bring the rice to a boil, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. The rice will be fluffy and perfect. Try not to eat it! Instead, scoop it into a large mixing bowl and stir to cool. Let sit for at least 10-15 minutes, or until it cools to 130-140°F

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Now add the entire bag of koji, or 500g. Sprinkle in just a pinch of salt and stir thoroughly.

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Press the mixture into a baking pan. Stainless steel or glass is perfect. Cover and incubate at 120-130°F for about 8-10 hours. You can let it go longer for a softer koji. The smell will be sweet and a bit nutty. It really does smell intoxicating!

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Finished koji will be soft and mushy with a bit of liquid in the bottom of the pan. It will smell intensely sweet. If you have cut back on sugar in your diet and aren’t used to eating very sweet food, I suggest cutting the finished koji with some fruit, milk or adding it to baked goods as a sweetener.

Our favorite koji treat is pudding. I take about 1.5 cups of fresh, warm koji and put it in the blender with a cup of coconut milk. Add a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg (or your favorite spices) and blend until smooth. Now curl up with your favorite people and books and watch the nasty weather outside with a smile.

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