Many sake breweries are long-established companies with over 100 years of history.

Many sake breweries are long-established companies with over 100 years of history.  
Sake brewed from rice, the prototype of sake, is said to have originated in the time of legends until the Heian Period (794-1185). “Sake” started to be distributed as a product from the late Heian Period to the Kamakura Period (1185~1333). 
The Sino-Japanese Wars (1894-95) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5) are said to have been fought using taxes raised from sake (30 percent of the total tax revenue).

The top ten breweries with the highest total sake production output are as follows: 
1. Hakutsuru Sake Brewing Co., Ltd. (approximately 60,000 kiloliters)
2. Gekkeikan Sake Co., Ltd.
3. Takara Shuzo Co., Ltd.
4. Ozeki Co., Ltd.
5. Nihonsakari Co.,Ltd.
6. Koyama Honke Syuzo Co.,ltd.
7. Kizakura Co.,Ltd.
8. Oenon Holdings, Inc.
9. Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing Co., Ltd.
10. Konishi Brewing Co., Ltd.
Hyogo prefecture produced the highest sake production volume in Japan at 28 percent of the total national output, followed by Kyoto, Niigata, Akita, Aichi, Hiroshima, Fukushima, Saitama, Nagano, and Fukushima prefectures, in that order. 
日本酒の原型となる米を原料する酒の発祥については、神話の時代から平安時代まで諸説があるが、平安時代の後期から鎌倉時代(1185 年~)にかけて、商品としての「酒」として流通し始めたといわれている。
蔵元生産高 上位10社は、
#alljapannews #japanese #japanesesake #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (a collaborative sake pairing event held in an Italian restaurant)

By Ryuji Takahashi
I’ve authored several articles on collaborative projects that served sake with Italian cuisine in an Italian restaurant. The theme of this project was to determine if sake pairs well with Italian cuisine. 
Our venue was the usual restaurant “Karibe-Tei” in the Shimokitazawa area. The menu selections to be paired with sake took time to select. Thanks to the many helpful suggestions from Chef Karibe, Italian menu items with a Japanese twist were selected for pairing with sake. The restaurant was filled by word-of-mouth only without any promotion on social networking sites, indicative of the high satisfaction among guests who attended past events. For sake, seasonal selections from spring to early summer were selected along with traditional sake selections. In total, eighteen bottles of nine different sake selections were prepared for the event. 
The menu items served were: “Amaou Strawberries and High-sugar Tomato Caprese,” “Sicilian Potato Salad topped with Salted Cuttlefish,” “Smoked Firefly Squid from Toyama Prefecture and Clams,” “The Season’s First Bonito Carpaccio,” “White Asparagus with Grilled Anchovy Garlic Sauce,” “Thawed Oysters from Iwate Prefecture sauteed with Bamboo Shoots,” “Sakura Shrimp and Mustard Flowers Spaghetti topped with Herb Breadcrumbs,” and “Beef Hind Shank alla Romana with Saffron Risotto.”
It’s difficult to determine from the menu names alone if some menu items have a Japanese flavor. Japanese seasonings such as soy sauce were used in sauces to add Japanese flavor. For this reason, sake bottles emptied the fastest during this event out of all past events. I heard that recently, many restaurants in Italy serve Japanese-style Italian cuisine, an encouraging trend that also inspires a novel approach to serve sake. 
Japanese sake industry professionals can propose pairing sake with various cuisines worldwide to encourage various world cuisines to be prepared with a Japanese flavor for better pairing with sake as an innovative approach to introduce Japanese cuisine overseas. This collaboration concluded successfully with no incidents - all participants were full, tipsy, and quite satisfied. Someone said that loneliness and an empty stomach was not good for people. Delicious food and alcoholic beverages are sought in every country worldwide. It may not be too far in the future that Japanese culture becomes even more popular worldwide, sake enjoys the same popularity as wine worldwide, and sake appears on dinner tables worldwide.

#alljapannews #japanese #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


How various sake is classified

Due to the implementation of the Liquor Tax Law revised in April 1, 1992, the long-standing Japanese sake “Classification System” was abolished. 
The Sake Classification System refers to the classification of sake according to a set of regulations applying different tax rates, with the classification (as Super-high Grade, First Grade, and Second Grade) certified based on the inspection results by the Regional Liquor Tax Council per National Tax Agency. The regulations per classification is broken down to Super-high Grade: “Excellent quality,” First Grade: “Good Quality,” and Second Grade: “Special Grade, not equivalent to First Grade.”    
However, there is a major defect in the Classification System. This is because Japanese sake not submitted to the National Tax Agency for inspection is all automatically classified as Second Grade. This Classification System generated a contradiction where the sake quality of Second Grade sake produced by small and medium-sized regional sake breweries are competitive with Super-high Grade and First Grade sake by major sake breweries when actually sampled. The Super-high Grade sake was abolished early as a special measure during a transitional period on April 1, 1989.   
Since the regional sake boom around 1975, consumers became familiar with Ginjo, Junmai, and special sake brands. However, independent rules partially exist within the sake industry over the differences between each sake (such as labels indicating the terminology used for production method, quality, and food ingredients, etc.), however, there are no organized regulations to govern these differences. Therefore, according to the revised Liquor Tax Law, the notification “Standards for Manufacturing Methods and Quality Indication for Sake” was issued by the National Tax Agency as a guideline for quality pertaining to the Classification System on April 1, 1990.      
This set of standards classifies Japanese sake into “specific class name of sake” and sake other than the specific class name of sake (ordinary sake) based on differences in food ingredients and production methods. All sake sold commercially is classified into one of these two categories.   
The specific class name of sake refers to Ginjo, Junmai, and Honjozo, further classified into eight types according to differences in production method, quality, etc.: Ginjo, Daiginjo, Junmai, Junmai-Ginjo, Junmai-Daiginjo, Tokubetsu-Junmai, Honjozo, and Tokubetsu-Honjozo. Based on objective standards such as food ingredients and production methods, consumers can now determine differences in sake quality and characteristics. 
The points of production method and quality regulating the specific class name of sake are ① Rice-polishing Ratio, ② The use of distilled alcohol, and ③ whether the Ginjo method was used or not during the production process.   

 しかし、この級別制度には大きな欠陥があった。というのも、国税局の審査に出品しない日本酒はすべて自動的に二級酒に分類されてしまっていたからだ。そのため、たとえば地方の中小蔵の二級酒の酒質が、実際に飲んでみると大手の特級酒や一級酒に匹敵する、といった矛盾を生むことになったのである。ちなみに、特級については移行措置としてひと足早く、 平成元年4月1日から廃止されている。 
この基準は、原料や製造方法などの違いによって、日本酒を「特定名称酒」と特定名称酒以外の日本酒(普通酒)とに分けたもので、市販されている日本酒はすべて、特定名称酒か普通酒のいずれかに属することになる。 特定名称酒とは吟醸酒、純米酒、本醸造酒のことで、これらはさらに製造方法や品質などの違いによって、吟醸酒、大吟醸酒、純米酒、純米吟醸酒、純米大吟醸酒、特別純米酒、本醸造酒、特別本醸造酒の8種類に分類されている。これによって消費者は、原料や製造方法といった客観的基準をもとにして、日本酒の品質の違いや特徴を判断することができるようになったわけである。 
#alljapannews #daiginjo #flavor #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #junmai #sake


Sake Nation “Noto Peninsula Earthquake and Sake Breweries ④”

By Kosuke Kuji

The Noto Peninsula Earthquake occurred in the “Noto Peninsula,” home to one of the three most renowned Toji (Master sake brewers) representative of Japan, and many Noto Toji (Master sake brewers of the Noto Toji Guild) to date. 
The Noto Peninsula Earthquake occurred on January 1, 2024. Breweries preparing to brew sake since September or October customarily take the New Year Day off and send their Toji home for the holiday. Toji take only the New Year Day off and return to their breweries to continue brewing sake until March or April. Many Toji were home this year to celebrate the New Year day.
Then, the earthquake struck. The damage was so extensive that every Noto Toji was hurt and couldn’t return to their breweries to continue brewing sake. 
The disaster left some sake breweries that sustained no damage without their Toji who could not return. Therefore, their scheduled sake production took a drastic hit in production value or was halted altogether. 
Although the earthquake was unfortunate, sake breweries in the Hokuriku region that sustained light damage did not hesitate to take on the added hardship of providing support to other major breweries that sustained significant damages. The road to recovery stretches far ahead. 
To our customers in North America, please continue to enjoy sake brewed in the Hokuriku region. Sake in the Noto region is not completed yet, but please enjoy large volumes of sake brewed in other Hokuriku regions and Niigata prefecture. The best way to provide the strongest support to the afflicted sake breweries is to enjoy their sake. 
Thank you very much in advance for your much-needed support.

#alljapannews #earthquake #japanese #japanesesake #noto #sake


The history of sake is said to have started when rice farming became widespread during the Yayoi period

The history of sake is said to have started when rice farming became widespread during the Yayoi period (400 BC~300 AD) and produced rice. 
Earthenware from the Jomon Period (14,000 BC~1,000 BC) excavated from the mountains of Nagano prefecture in 1956 contained wild grape seeds, indicating wine was the first beverage consumed in ancient Japan, not sake. 
Sake brewing started between the 5th~10th century BC during the Yayoi period (400 BC to 300 AD), when rice farming was adapted. Sake during this time was produced by chewing rice in the mouth, returning the chewed rice into a vessel, then fermenting the chewed rice, a method called “kuchikami sake” (“mouth-chewed sake”). 
Also, sake brewing is said to have started as a task performed by shrine maidens. 
Kuchikami sake produced during this period is thought to be the origin of the current sake brewing process. Kuchikami sake is produced by chewing starchy food (like rice or grain) in the mouth to generate saliva. Amylase enzyme in the saliva converts starch into sugar, and wild yeast ferments the sugar to produce alcohol. 
As rice farming became widespread, rice is offered to deities as an expression of gratitude for the rice harvested each year. I also received some leftover sake served as an offering for rice harvested this year. 
Although the tradition of kuchikami sake is no longer practiced in Japan, this tradition remained in Okinawa until Awamori became popular.
#alljapannews #japanese #japanesesake #sake #yayoi #yayoiperiod


Tokyo Jizake Strolling  (The Daikanyama Shopping District)

By Ryuji Takahashi

With spring fast approaching at the end of March, an event titled “The Daikanyama Shop Association” featured many shops selling niche merchandise at “Daikanyama Address 17dixsept” in Shibuya district, a shopping center located right next to the Daikanyama Station. Our shop selling local sake was also invited and participated for two days during a weekend. The “Daikanyama Address 17dixsept” is a shopping zone located inside an urban shopping complex, consisting of a 36-floor tower above ground on the site of the former Dojunkai Daikanyama Apartment, a housing complex consisting of approximately 500 homes, the Daikanyama Sports Plaza, etc. 
Dix-sept translates to seventeen in French, named after their lot number 17 in the Daikanyama district. Four shops lined up in a shared space on the facility premises and sold merchandise not usually sold by the tenants to take a new approach to customers who utilize the facility.  
Retailers that participated for two days consisted of my local sake shop, an Asian variety store, a flower shop, a vegan shop on one day, and a specialty gift shop the next. It was rumored that the timing the cherry blossoms will bloom could be announced early in the week of the event, and the weather was forecast to be sunny for cherry blossom viewing. Since Daikanyama is close to Meguro River, a renowned spot to view cherry blossoms, my shop narrowed down our merchandise to only two sake sets for flower viewing – a set of five aluminum cans of Nihonsakari sake with plastic champagne glasses and a three-sampler Nagatorogura sake set. Unfortunately, the rumored announcement on the timing the cherry blossoms would bloom never occurred, ultimately announced two weeks after the event.  
Not only did the cherry blossoms not bloom during the weekend of the event, but it also rained with low turnout, both significantly contrary to expectations. Other shops near each other welcomed regulars from other shops. My shop also benefited from their customers since most of the sake sets I prepared sold, and the weekend ended with decent sales.  
I had many takeaways from my first attempt at selling merchandise in the chic Daikanyama shopping complex. Staff members shopped at each other’s shops, and I also became friendly with the shop owners. My onsite pop-up shop was personally a fruitful experience. If I was to be greedy however, I think the facility needs to think of ways to enliven the event. Eventually, I think lining up sake breweries to organize “The Daikanyama Sake Shopping District” would be an interesting idea if I’m asked to participate again.       
東京地酒散歩(The 代官山商店)
 春の訪れがもうすぐそこまで来ている3月の終わりに、代官山の駅のすぐ側にある商業施設「代官山アドレス・ディセ」にて「The 代官山商店」と銘打った渋谷区のニッチな物販店を集めたイベントが開催された。地酒を販売する当店にも声がかかり、土日の二日間参加することとなった。代官山アドレス・ディセは旧同潤会代官山アパートの跡地に建設された代官山アドレスという地上36階建のタワーを始めとする約500戸の集合住宅とショッピングゾーンや渋谷区代官山スポーツプラザなどから構成される都市型複合施設の中のショッピングゾーンのことである。ディセとはフランス語で17の意味らしく、代官山の17番地にあることから名づけられたとのこと。その施設内の共用スペースに4店舗並べ、日頃のテナントとは違う販売をすることで、施設を利用する人々に新たなアプローチをしたいといったイベントの様であった。
二日間出店するのは地酒販売の当店と、アジアン雑貨、フラワーショップ、日替わりでビーガンショップとセレクトギフトショップであった。イベントの週の前半に桜の開花宣言が出るとか出ないとかで、週末はお花見日和との情報があり、代官山という立地上、花見の有名スポット目黒川も近いことから、当店は完全に販売商品をお花見セットに絞り、日本盛のボトル缶5本セットにプラシャンパングラス付きと長瀞蔵の3種飲み比べセットの2アイテムのみに特化し販売を行なった。しかし、蓋を開けてみると開花宣言予測は大きく外れ、週末になっても宣言が出る事は無く、結果開花宣言が出たのは2週間後であった。                                                        イベント当日に桜が咲いていないだけでなく、2日間雨が降り、施設の来店客数も少なく、大きく予想を外すこととなった。他店は元々の店舗が近隣ということもあり、常連客らしき人達が来ていたので、その流れに便乗させていただく形となったが、用意していた酒は殆ど売れ、結果オーライで二日間を終えることが出来た。渋谷の端っこからオシャレな代官山への初チャレンジで、学びも多く、店舗間での買い物もあり、他店のオーナーとも仲良くなり、個人的には意味のある出張出店だったが、欲を言えばもっと盛り上がる為に、施設側の打ち出し方を考える必要があると感じた。いつかは酒蔵を並べた「The 代官山日本酒商店」なども面白いのではないかと思う。まあ、次回以降も声がかかればの話なのだが。
#alljapannews #daikanyama #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


All-season Sake Brewing

A sake brewing plant equipped to produce sake year-round is called “all-season sake brewing,” or “all season sake brewery.” Also, the production of sake year-round during all four seasons is also referred to as “all season sake brewing”. Currently, all major sake manufacturers produce sake in plants equipped with these facilities. Since the mid-to-late Edo Era (1603 ~ 1868), sake was mostly produced during the winter season, ever since the custom of “traditional sake brewed only in the winter” was established in Itami and Nada. This is because the temperature to ferment mash and the suppression of bacteria from proliferation was more easily managed during the winter season.         
Traditional sake production still practiced in various sake breweries to this day is brewed using sake-brewing methods applied during the winter sake production season. However, as sake production became rapidly modernized during the Meiji Era (1868 ~ 1912), research started to continue stable sake production throughout all four seasons. Attempt to produce all-season sake brewing started towards the end of the Taisho Era (1912 ~ 1926), and already made practical in Hawaii, even before the war. However, all-season sake brewing during this era was done using traditional brewing methods as is, with sake production possible only four or five times a year. 
Major developments towards all-season sake brewing started after World War II, when various devices started to be introduced into the sake production process.       
As sake-brewing facilities became more mechanized, the need to increase both the mechanical operational rate and productivity became apparent. Therefore, automated all-season sake brewing with mechanized brewing process became urgent; and year-round, large-scale sake production started in 1965. During the midst of a high economic growth period from 1955 to 1965, many breweries started to significantly mechanize their brewing facilities. Major sake manufacturers competed to construct all-season sake brewing, drastically increasing production capabilities.    
To make all-season sake brewing possible, the same sake production environment as the winter season that is operational year-round must be constructed within the plant. These plants are equipped with air conditioning facilities that use freezers to maintain low-temperatures suitable for sake production. During the summer season, with high temperatures and humidity, dehumidifying the air, eliminating bacteria, and sterilization is necessary in addition to cooling the temperature due to concern for contamination from the outside air. All-season sake brewing is possible in much greater volumes, and labor is also made more efficient. Especially in recent years, automated operations advanced to management controlled by computers, enabling sake production without master sake brewers or other skilled sake production workers, eliminating the tasks handled by overnight and holiday workers.         


年間を通じて酒造りをできるように設備された酒造工場のことを、「四季醸造」または「四季醸造蔵」(略して「四季蔵」とも)という。また、四季を通じて酒の醸造を行なうことも、同じく四季醸造という。現在、大手酒造メーカーはすべて、この設備を擁する工場で生産を行なっている。 江戸時代の中期から後期にかけて、当時の酒の主生産地であった伊丹、灘で「寒造り」が完成されて以来、日本酒の醸造時期はずっと冬季が主体だった。冬の寒い時期のほうがもろみの温度管理がしやすいし、雑菌の繁殖も抑えやすい。現在も各地の酒蔵で続いている伝統的な酒造りは、すべて寒造りの酒造法で行なわれているといってよい。しかし、明治に入って日本酒造りが急速に近代化するとともに、四季を通じて安定した酒造りを可能にするための研究が行なわれるようになった。 四季醸造の試みは大正の未頃から始められ、ハワイでは戦前から実用化されていた。しかし、この時代の四季醸造は伝統的な醸造方法のままで、 年に4、5回ほど酒造りが行なえるというだけの程度でしかなかった。
酒造工場の機械化が進むにつれて、機械の稼働率を高め生産性を上げる必要が出てきた。そのため、製造工程を機械によって自動化した四季醸造の実現が急務になり、昭和35年に初の本格的な四季醸造蔵が誕生した。30年代後半から40年にかけては高度経済成長期の真っ只中であり、多くの酒蔵で設備の機械化が大幅に進んだ時代である。大手酒造メーカーは競って四季醸造蔵の建設を進め、生産能カは飛躍的に増大した。 四季醸造を可能にするためには、まず年間を通して工場内に冬季と同様の環境をつくり出さなければならない。酒造りに適した低温を保つため、このような工場では冷凍機を用いた空調設備を備えているが、高温多湿の夏季には外気からの雑菌混入の恐れがあるから、冷却すると同時に、空気の除湿、除菌・滅菌も行なう必要がある。 四季醸造は大幅な増産を可能にしただけでなく、労働面での合理化にも大きく寄与した。とくに近年はコンピューター制御による自動化が進み、杜氏など熟練酒造技術者なしでの酒造りや、夜間・休日の人手による業務の廃止などを実現している。
#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake #sakebrewery


Sake is brewed from yellow koji. 

The most important part of brewing sake is the brewing methods used – first koji, second yeast, and three-step method. 
1:Process the ingredients: Polish, wash, and soak the rice. 
2:Prepare koji: Prepare the koji. 
3:Yeast starter: Prepare by cultivating quality yeast using steamed rice, koji, and water to brew sake. 
4:Prepare fermentation-mash: Apply the three-step fermentation method to divide the water, steam the rice, and prepare malted rice in three steps. 
5:Fermentation (aged fermentation mash)
6:Press the mash: Press the aged fermentation mash to leave the sake lees. 
7:Precipitate the sediments (in fresh new sake): Precipitate the sediments to the bottom and extract the clear sake. 
8:Filter and pasteurize the sake (heat the sake to sterilize and prevent deterioration in quality)
9:Store, mix, and dilute the sake with water (add the mother water and mix with sake)
10:Bottle the sake
Sake brewing is a biotechnology that utilizes the functions of microorganisms, maximized by the skills and experiences of brewery workers. 
造りかたは、 最重要点、一麹、二元(酒母)、三造り
1:原料処理 玄米を精米し、寝かし、洗米、浸漬
2:製麹  麹(こうじ)をつくること。
3:酒母 (しゅぼ)日本酒の醸造のために、蒸した米・麹・水を用いて優良な酵母を培養したもの
4:醪(もろみ)造り、 水・蒸米・麹米を、三段に分けて仕込む(3段仕込み)
6:上槽(じょうそう) 熟成したもろみを搾る。酒粕が残る

#alljapannews #japanese #japanesesake #koji #sake #sakebrewing


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (restaurant Jinsei Sakaba inside the New Shinbashi Building) 

By Ryuji Takahashi

Shinbashi is a renowned business district where many shops line the streets, reminiscent of the Showa era (1926-1989). One venue familiar to many is the New Shinbashi Building, a large multi-tenant shopping mall on the Hibiyaguchi side of Shinbashi Station, occupied from the first basement floor to the fourth floor by many restaurants, a ticket broker, massage parlors, and shops targeting businessmen. Some call it a mall for old men. The Shinbashi Station west exit started as a black market after World War II and evolved until the current New Shinbashi Building was constructed in 1971.             
The interior of the retro, chaotic mall is long cherished as a mecca for businessmen. Many new commercial buildings were constructed recently to lease retail space to swanky shops featured on TV. The New Shinbashi Building built over fifty years ago offers a heartwarming nostalgic ambiance of the Showa Era, not felt in new stylish buildings. The basement of the New Shinbashi Building is home to many restaurants that serve alcohol during business hours on weekdays. Since I had a day off during the week with nowhere to go on my day off, I walked many rounds inside the basement floor of the New Shinbashi Building like a migratory fish.    
I saw “fans of alcoholic beverages” here and there partaking early in the day. I started to ponder ordering a glass of beer when a female restaurant worker greeted me and said, “We’re serving alcohol right now.” I quickly accepted the invitation and entered the restaurant “Jinsei Sakaba.” What a suitable restaurant name for me, I thought. The worker said, “If you want to enjoy more than one drink, all-you-can-drink is a better deal.” I quickly agreed and selected the 1 hour all-you-can-drink option for 980 JPY. First, I ordered draft beer. 
The cold beer was delicious after walking around inside the mall.       
The food menu listed Chinese style izakaya menu items. I ordered a chilled wakame seaweed salad. My appetite switched on as soon as I took the first bite. I ordered another glass of draft beer, then fried gyoza, Japanese-style omelet with spicy Pollack roe, and fried rice. All menu items were delicious, and the food was served quickly. I got into a lively conversation with the restaurant staff as I ate, and the first hour passed quickly. Of course, I exceeded my time limit and ordered several green tea highballs and shochu highballs. 
Two hours of fun passed quickly before I realized it. The food was delicious, the restaurant was comfortable, and the price was economical at this wonderful restaurant. The New Shinbashi Building is home to this excellent restaurant, currently under consideration for redevelopment due to deterioration. Although it would be sad to see this retro and chaotic ambiance close their doors, changes in the local landscape are inevitable in any era, surely, “all that remains of a warriors’ dream.”  

#Shinbashi #alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Rice suitable for sake-brewing determines the fundamental flavor of sake 

Non-glutinous Japonica rice is used to brew sake, also consumed as a staple. Many rice varieties are grown in Japan, all suitable to brew sake. Rice most suitable to brew sake is referred to as “rice suitable for sake-brewing.” 
The variety of rice suitable for sake-brewing must satisfy three conditions: Large grain size, white core, and low protein content.  
The most representative brands of “rice suitable for sake-brewing” are “Yamadanishiki,” “Gohyakumangoku,” “Miyamanishiki,” “Omachi,” etc. However, the production volume is nowhere close to the volume in demand to brew sake. Rice suitable for sake-brewing is difficult to grow compared to common rice. For example, “Omachi” rice is large in grain size and an excellent variety of rice large in grain size. However, long rice stalks fall over while harvesting, making it difficult to harvest by machine. Therefore, the crop acreage does not increase, with some varieties like Omachi rice decreasing in production volume year by year, which raises the cost. Thus, a significant volume of common rice is also used as sake rice.   
The grain size of brown rice varies by variety. The grain weight of 1,000 grains of brown rice uniform in grain size is referred to as “1,000 grain weight.” Rice with grain weight of 25 g or greater is notably referred to as “large grain size” compared to common brown rice with grain weight between 20~22 g. While rice, large in grain size, with a white core in the center and a moist appearance is referred to as “large white core rice.” The white core consists of coarse grains of starch. If this core is large, koji mold propagates easily, which grows koji easily in the white core, an important aspect of koji preparation.  
Also, water penetrates easily into the core of large white rice grains. Steaming rice hardens the outer grain and softens the inside, which makes the preparation of yeast starter and fermenting-mash easier.     
Also, rice contains protein and fat. These components are required to brew sake (for example, umami flavor unique to sake is derived from amino acids created by koji mold breaking down protein). However, an excess amount of these components will compromise the flavor and aroma. Many of these components are contained in the surface layer of rice grains that get polished to brew sake.    

 代表的な品種は、「山田錦」、「五百万石」、「美山錦」、「雄町」などだが、その生産量はすべての酒造需要をまかなうにはとても及ばない。酒造好適米は、一般の飯米に比べて栽培がむずかしいということもある。たとえば、大粒米のなかでも「雄町」は米粒が大きく優秀な品種だが、茎が長いため結実期に倒伏し、機械での刈り取りがしにくいという欠点がある。したが って、作付け面積はなかなか増えず、雄町のように年々減少している品種もあり、価格も高い。そのため、一般の飯米もかなりの量が酒米として使われているのが現状といわれる。 
玄米の粒の大きさは品種によって違う。粒の揃った玄米1000粒の重量を千粒重というが、 一般の飯米の玄米が20~22gであるのに対して、25g以上のものを特に「大粒米」または「大粒種」と呼ぶ。そして、 大粒種のなかでも、粒の中心部(心白)が白くうるんで見えるものを「大粒心白米」という。心白はでんぶん粒が粗い部分で、これが大きいと麹カビが繁殖しやすく、麹造りの重要なポイントの1つである破精込みが容易になる。酒造好適米の検査基準では、心白の発現率は80%以上である。
また、米にはたんぱく質や脂質、灰分が含まれている。これらの成分は酒造りに必要(たとえば、日本酒独特の旨みは、麹カビがたんぱく質を分解してつくるアミノ酸に由来する)だが、多すぎるとかえって、味や香りを損なってしまう。これらの成分の多くは米の表層部に含まれているため、 酒造りでは必ず米を精白するわけだが、米の内部にも少ないほうが酒の質への影響がより小さくなるわけである。 
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