Amazake Scones are Naturally Sweet
Happy Children’s Day to all who celebrate this Japanese holiday. I believe it is officially Boy’s Day, but they call it Children’s Day. To celebrate, I made amazake scones and they are perfect with a cup of tea. (Ironically, amazake as a drink is usually served on Girl’s Day).
Without further ado, let’s talk about amazake. Amazake is a sweetened concoction made from fermented rice. In order to make amazake you need to have a starter called rice koji. This rice koji has been inoculated by the spores of a fungus called Aspergillus oryzae. Koji not only makes amazake, but it also ferments foods that make other Japanese ingredients such as soy sauce, mirin, sake, and miso paste. Read more about koji here.
Here is my amazake from this morning. It was really sweet and it had no added sugar! During fermentation, the carbs and proteins of the rice turn into sugars and amino acids. The result is a mixture that is sweet and full of “umami” a flavor enhancer.
To make a traditional amazake drink, blend the amazake with equal parts water and heat until warm. I mixed it with homemade soymilk and it was a delicious and healthy smoothie.
1 cup sweet rice or glutinous rice
500 ml water
200 grams rice koji
1. Bring the rice and water to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice cool to 150 degrees F. This will take about 30-40 minutes.
2. Rub the grains of rice koji together with your fingers. Add the rice koji to the cooked rice and stir together. Cover, wrap and let the rice rest for 8-10 hours, trying to keep the temperature around 130 to 145 degrees F.
Note: You can cover the pot with towels or set it inside a styrofoam container with hot water next to it. It is better if the temperature stays at or below the optimum temperature. If it’s lower, the fermentation will take longer. If it’s too hot, you may destroy the spores that aid in fermentation.
The recipes are adapted from Mrs. Donabe’s Rustic Japanese Cooking. Thanks Naoko-san! Also, I really want to try the Amazake Carrot Muffins from Hanna’s Bittersweet Blog. They have no added sugar and are vegan. wow.
Amazake Currant Scones
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose white flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
5 ounces amazake (about 1/2 cup), blended until smooth
3 tablespoons butter, cold and in small pieces
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup currants
1. Mix all the ingredients together and form the dough into a flat circle. (I rubbed it all together with my hands and added the currants last). Cover and let it rest for 10-15 minutes to relax the gluten. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin into a 7-inch circle that is about 1-inch thick. Cut into 8 equal wedges. Place the scones on a baking sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper. Leave about 2 inches between the scones. Sprinkle raw sugar on top of the scones if desired. Bake at 375 for 14-15 minutes or until the edges are just turning golden brown.
Mix equal parts (blended) amazake to equal parts powdered sugar. Add soymilk to thin if too thick.
Can’t wait to share with you more recipes using amazake and rice koji.
: ) Emi