A New Idea from the Past – Amazake is a “Drinkable IV”
There are a variety of nutrients in amazake and it has been widely enjoyed, especially in summertime, to survive the hot summer days in Japan since the Edo-era. In haiku poems, amazake is a seasonal word for summer. Did you know there are two different styles of amazake?
One is “sake-lees amazake” which contains a mixture of sake-lees, water and sugar, and the other is “koji amazake” which is made only using koji and water. Koji amazake uses enzymes that are naturally produced by koji to break down rice starch into glucose instead of adding sugar; therefore, the sweetness is very soft compared to an added-sugar sweetness. One other attractive factor of koji amazake is that there is no alcohol in it so everyone can enjoy.
The Ingredients are only Koji and Water:
The Key to a Good Taste is “Rice Polishing”
The first thing that we do to make koji amazake is to polish the rice to make koji. The outer layers of rice contain components that could add an odd flavor to the amazake, so we polish the rice grains to remove it. This process of rice polishing is called “seimai,” and it is a very important technique of sake production.
Once the polished rice is washed, we let it absorb a precise amount of water and then it is steamed, after which we sprinkle the koji mold onto the rice. The koji is then mixed with water and put into a tank set to 50~60℃ where the natural enzymes in the koji are released and convert the rice starch into glucose. This sweet liquid is koji amazake.
Component Analysis Shows the Power of Koji Amazake
There are a number of scientific analyses that have been done on fermented food such as yogurt and cheese, however, there is almost no academic study done on koji amazake. Therefore, Hakkaisan decided to study koji amazake’s detailed scientific analysis to understand its components precisely and to share this information with our customers. As a result, we discovered that there are over 350 components contained in koji amazake.
The main component is “glucose” which humans cannot live without, and it makes up about 23% of amazake components. Also, koji amazake contains 20 kinds of amino acids, and about 50% of it is free amino acid which is easily absorbed into the body. All the B vitamins, except B12, which is mainly contained in animal-based foods, are in amazake as well. Hakkaisan’s study is the first in the world to find trehalose, sophorose and raffinose which are kinds of oligosaccharides, which are contained in koji amazake.
Koji Amazake Study