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Amazake Scones are Naturally Sweet

May 5, 2012

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 

Makes 8

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.

Amazake Icing

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


From → Amazake, Recipes, Rice, Snacks

  1. This looks amazing! I love amazake, but only ever have it when I go to Japan. I might try and make my own now. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks a lot. I’m glad you’re able to get koji to make it. Take care.

  2. Interesting info on amazake. And the scones look great!

    • Thanks. It’s a great alternative to those (rich) cream scones, although I like those too once in a while.

  3. Thank you so much for including my link! That was very thoughtful of you. 🙂 I also love your amazake scones- I never would have thought such a sweetener would work in these delicate pastries. I’ll have to try this now!

    • It might be a stretch to call these “pastries” but that’s nice of you to suggest it. Maybe I shouldn’t say this but a hearty biscuit might be a more accurate name. Honestly, I would probably add more amazake next time – the flavor is there but it’s subtle.

      • But amazake is subtle, so that sounds just right to me! A pastry is all in the eye of the beholder; I think you’re selling yourself short here.

  4. Hi Emi, How interesting! I’ve heard of amazake but never in scones/glaze. I love scones don’t make them very often. These looks delicious, especially with the currants.

  5. What a wonderful idea! I never would’ve thought to use amazake for baking, though I know someone in Japan who makes bread with koji instead of yeast. Can’t wait to try these!

    • I am just starting to use koji, but the idea about using koji to make bread sounds interesting.

  6. The scones look beautiful, festive and healthy. Happy Children’s Day!
    I love your blog. Carol

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. How to Make Shio-Koji « Lettuce Cook
  2. How to Make Amazake « Lettuce Cook

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