Sake is different from other wine fermentations in at least two main respects. First, as noted above, fermentable sugars are absent in rice, the sake substrate. Thus, it is necessary to provide exogenous enzymes, in the form of a koji, that can hydrolyze starch to simple sugars that the yeasts can ferment. This part of the sake manufacturing process, therefore, shares similarity with the beer-brewing process, in which malt is used to convert the starch (in barley) to simple sugars. The other major difference that distinguishes sake production from wine is that the saccharification step just described and the actual ethanolic fermentation step occur simultaneously or in parallel. In other words, nearly as soon as sugars are made available by action of koji enzymes, they are quickly fermented by sake yeasts.The implications of these parallel processes will be discussed below.
The sake-making process starts by preparing a rice koji (Figure 12-6).There are actually several different types of sake produced in Japan, based in part on whether alcohol is added, but mainly on how the rice used to make the koji is milled (or polished). In general, the whole or brown rice is milled to remove 25% to 50% of the surface material (containing the germ and bran), which is necessary since the fat and protein components are undesirable. Next, the rice is rinsed and soaked for several hours to achieve about 30% moisture. The moist rice is then briefly steamed (<1 hour) and cooled to 30°C to 35°C.About three-fourths of this rice is removed and cooled further to 5°C to 10°C for later use (see below). The remaining fourth is used for making koji.
To make the koji, the rice is inoculated with about 0.01% of a tane koji (see above) or an A. oryzae spore culture.The material is incubated
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