I love making amasake. I think it is super easy and so much more delicious than any store bought ones I have tried.
When I make amasake myself, I decide the quality of flavor I want depending on how much rice koji I use and how sweet I want it depending on how long I let it incubate. I use less rice koji than you will see in many amasake recipes. Feel free to play with the amount as you get more experience making it. You can also play with the length of incubation. The longer the rice stays at a warm temperature, the sweeter it gets, up until that fine line when it starts tasting a bit too ripe.
I have actually never let my amasake go too far and it occurred to me with this last batch that I should at least explore that area a bit. I could leave a smaller jar incubating, tasting every hour or so to see how sweet it gets before it goes over the edge. I’m going to try with the next batch. I’ll need to start early in the day so I am done testing before it’s too late into the evening. Amasake is definitely an all day process. You can also start it in the evening before going to bed and wake up to fresh amasake. I do it during the day because I like being able to check it and stir it up every few hours while making it.
This was my first try at 100% millet amasake (minus the rice used in the koji). I have a not so secret love affair with millet and I am thrilled to have another delicious way to enjoy it. I frequently make Homemade Rice Amasake and Millet-Rice Amasake, but I have a very fond memory of a friend’s homemade millet amasake and I didn’t have a recipe and it has taken me a while to try to make it.
Millet can be a tricky grain to work with because it can be a little dry at times and doesn’t always stay as soft as other grains. I like to puree my amasake when it’s done, because I like it smooth. I think this is even more important for the millet amasake and if you have a high powered blender, just turn it to high and let it go for a while until super creamy.
2 cups millet, rinsed and drained
8 cups water
2 moderate pinches sea salt
6 Tbsp rice koji
1. Add millet, water and sea salt to a large heavy bottom pot. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low to simmer. Place a flame tamer under the pot if you have one. Let simmer for at least an hour, stir near the end to make sure millet isn’t sticking to the bottom. Add a little more water if necessary. Continue cooking until all the liquid is absorbed and millet is very thick and creamy.
2. While the millet is cooking, get your jars ready. I find glass mason jars work best and this recipe fits two half gallon jars plus a smaller pint jar. I haven’t found it necessary to sterilize the jars, but I do make sure they are very clean. Set up your incubator using the instructions here or use any system that will work to keep the jars of millet at a consistent warm temperature.
3. When the millet is done cooking, remove from heat and take the cover off. Stir the millet for a minute or two to increase creaminess and help dissipate some of the heat. Put a candy thermometer in to check the temperature of the millet.
4. When the temperature of the millet drops below 150° stir in the rice koji until it is completely dispersed. Fill the jars moderately full. I like to leave some room in each jar so it is easy to stir the millet as it incubates.
5. Continue the process using the steps outlined here, to incubate it, check for sweetness and bring to a boil when done.
6. When the amasake is done, you can choose to leave as is or puree it. Feel free to add a little water while pureeing to get the consistency you want. I usually like to leave it thick. Millet amasake is particularly good with berries or other fruit on top.