First step is to weigh out your ingredients so that you have the correct ratio and rate of fermentation.
Add the warm water to the cooked rice and stir to break up clumps.
Add the komekouji to the cooked rice water mixture and gently mix until evenly distributed.
Add this mixture to your yogurt maker (or rice maker with the lid open) and allow to ferment for a minimum of 12 hours mixing 2-3 times at even intervals to ensure even fermentation.**
Dilute the amakouji 1-1 with water to make amazake (sweet sake), or use in place of any other sweetener for a sweet and slightly fermented layer of flavor.
** While fermenting it’s important that you maintain the temperature at 55- 60 degrees C max
(131-140F). Too cool and it won’t ferment properly, too hot and you’ll kill the kouji and it won’t
ferment at all.
You can use different types of rice which will result in different flavors and aromas. For example, jasmine rice, basmati rice, or even a bowl of mixed grain rice (zakkokumai) which has grains mixed in! All of these variations will result in a slightly different flavor and character of amakouji which will help things keep interesting throughout the year.
Use a thermometer to check the temperatures for the water, cooked rice, and yogurt maker/rice
maker if using.
The longer you let the amakouji ferment, the sweeter it will get.
You can taste the amakouji at around the 12-hour mark to see how far along it is, if it’s your first time, I’d recommend fermenting at least 2-4 hours past (14-16 hours total) so that you don’t end up with any funky flavors and a very sweet amakouji.
Although it is fermented, you should use or freeze it within a week. Beyond that, you may notice liquid starts to separate and/or may grow mold.