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Koji Making, the Core of Sake Brewing

Sake is mainly made from rice containing neither sugars nor yeast, so it requires a prior process to make sugars and yeast from rice. The first important process is making rice koji. The rice koji converts starch of rice into sugars, creates minerals of nutrients for making yeast active, ferments moromi and at the same time creates original aromas of sake, and plays all kinds of roles by taking on various forms for each brewing step. Koji making requires an elaborate process but is very important being the top priority as seen from the common saying of sake brewing, “first koji, second moto and third tsukuri (main mash). ”
Koji mold is a widely known mold thanks to popular Japanese sake comic books. It has three types; yellow, black and white. Generally, the yellow one is used for sake and added to steamed rice to grow bacteria inside the rice. The black and white ones are used for shochu.
Yellow koji used for sake brewing. It is green. The process is called tanegiri (inoculation of koji spores).