Thursday, January 24, 2013
I discovered a new rice variety today.
This is Yumeikkon rice, sakamai rice hybridized about ten years and grown here in Fukuoka. We wash, then soak this rice for about 30 minutes versus just eight for Yamadanishiki. This is due to the hardness of Yumeikkon versus relative softness of Yamadanishiki.
The parents for this sake-brewing rice are Reihou and Yamadanishiki.
The term sakamai refers to the 80-100 varieties of sake brewing rice versus standard table rice. I have much to learn, but I can tell you this much: sake brewing rice is not yet grown commercially in the USA and this is one disadvantage to all US brewed sakes.
Why is Japanese sakje rice, AKA, sakamai, better for those who love premium sake?
A picture says a thousand words. (Courtesy of Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association)
On table rice, anything that is not starch exists (typically) on the outside of the grain. This includes, but is not limited to, proteins, lipids, minerals, fats, albumins and ash.
When premium sake is achieved, the toji (master brewer) polishes the rice before brewing such that with sakamai, impurities that are not sakamai are largely removed.
I look forward to sharing more of what I learn about rice and sake as I spend my time living and working as a Japanese sake brewery in Fukuoka, Japan!