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  1. #1
    Moderator richardb's Avatar
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    Default Making rice wine/sake A trip report!

    As an amateur brewer I was interested in this thread

    http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f243/mak...ferent-361095/

    I followed a whole load of other threads and settled on sticky rice. No water . Just sticky rice and a chinese yeast ball ( about 40pence for two ).

    A very simple start. Things might get a bit more complicated later ( cold crash it ? maybe flavour it.)


    This Chinese ball yeast is rices best friend and will break down the rice to H2O and alcohol at about 20% which is as high as you can go without distilling. All yeasts are not equal . A yeast that loves grapes does not love barley this one apparently loves rice and as it kicks off at what happens to be my indoor temperature is a tiny bit like an ale yeast and I am told will give sherry like flavour to my hooch.

    Pics Day one below



    It should take four weeks.photo-4.jpgphoto-3.jpgphoto.jpg

    I shall post every Sunday with an update and photos.

    It had been four days now and my jar opens with a pop and quite complex sulphur and alcohol smell are coming out. Not nasty. There are flavours coming through which to me is odd as rice does not have much actual flavour so far as I am concerned; maybe I should savour rice more.

    Today my wifes cousin and her husband came for lunch. Cousin took a sniff and gave it

    Anyway watch this spot next Sunday for an update.

    Richard
    Last edited by richardb; 22nd Sep 2014 at 02:05.
    It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are

  2. #2
    Moderator richardb's Avatar
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    Wifey has facebooked my pics to darkest Issan. I was probably Thai in a past life according to Mae.

    Richard
    It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are

  3. #3
    Member สมาชิก PaulF's Avatar
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    Morning RichardB - where abouts in London are you ? I've searched the local Thai shops near me in Slough & had no joy finding the yeast balls......
    I'm hoping your west London so you can tell me which shop you source yours from ;-)
    Found 2 places via the internet & 1 was selling @90p per packet & the other wanted £3+ !!!

    Many thanks in advance

  4. #4
    Moderator richardb's Avatar
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    Hi Paul, I picked them up from a Chinese shop in Wood Green N22.

    I am sure I will pass by in the next week. PM me your details I will post you a couple. If its a whole lot you want pm me your mob and I will text you with the price for a big bag. I remember they came in packs of two ( cheap ) and a big pack.

    Richard
    It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are

  5. #5
    Member สมาชิก PaulF's Avatar
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    Richard you're a star !!!!

    Have PM'd you with my details ;-)

  6. #6
    Moderator richardb's Avatar
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    Ok Folks Sunday review will come as promised but in the interim a note of caution.

    Basically dont start brewing at least with the yeast that I pictured till I can confirm I got the right yeast.

    My fermentation stopped yesterday. I moved my jar to an internal cupboard and it has started again ( I think) .

    Maybe temperature is crucial.

    Fingers crossed . But maybe just maybe I am using the yeast to make this ( surely its the same yeast just fermented less but I cannot be sure till its done):

    http://carolynjphillips.blogspot.co....nted-rice.html

    I cant see that it is a different yeast ( or the same yeast but fermented just for a few days ) but I cant read chinese. I will have a chat with the friendly shop owners over the weekend.

    If I have made an error this is what I have ( from the link above )

    It looks and sounds lovely but Saki/rice wine it is not.

    "The first time that I heard about Chinese fermented rice, it was from a fellow American student in Taipei. She told me with singular excitement that she had just seen people there eating rice wine soup for breakfast. And that she had tried a bowl. And that it was really, really good.
    Intrigued at the thought of enjoying a hot toddy some time between getting up and yet another day of slogging through my impenetrable Chinese textbooks, I sped down to the alley she had described and ordered a big bowl of jiuniang dan, or fermented rice with a a poached egg. Sweet, perfumed, and definitely alcoholic, this was sheer heaven. I broke out in a big sweat and turned up for class with a shiny red face, happier than usual to be where I was, and very sure of where I was going to dine the next morning.



    Then I discovered that this could be served with little rice balls - sort of like bits of mochi - at the Beijing-style shop, or with sliced rice cakes (niangao) at the stand run by a guy from Ningbo, or with larger rice balls stuffed with ground black sesame at the Shanghainese place, or in a bunch of other ways. Once I had gotten over the sheer novelty of this spectacular winter breakfast, I looked up and noticed that the locals usually clutched something crunchy in their one hand while spooning up the sweet soup with the other. Yet another instance of enlightenment descended upon me. Yes, of course, I thought... hard with soft, crunchy with chewy, plain with sweet, cool with hot -- all the Chinese principles of yin and yang right there before 8 a.m.
    Rice wine yeast ball softening up


    When we returned to the States, one of my first orders of business was to make big crocks of homemade fermented rice throughout the cold months. Toe warming and chock-full of what must be nothing short of massive amounts of alcohol-induced endorphins, we not only had bowls of this hot sweet soup for breakfast and as late night snacks, but also started to use it in such marvels as the Sichuan-style fish with spicy bean paste (la douban yu) that became nothing short of heavenly when fermented rice was used instead of rice wine.


    And what is particularly endearing about homemade fermented rice is that it is incredibly easy and cheap. The only unusual ingredient is the yeast, which you can get from almost any Chinese grocery store, and which keeps practically forever as long as you close it up in a Ziploc bag and freeze it. (Do note that if it's kept outside, such as in a pantry or cupboard, it will often turn buggy; check the yeast carefully before you buy it, and only take it home if the yeast is a pure white with no suspicious dust clinging to the bottom of the bag.)


    You can of course probably buy jiuniang already made in the refrigerated section of your favorite Chinese grocery store. But it's expensive that way and of course never as good as homemade. Besides, if you have a big batch of it sitting in your fridge, you will have many more opportunities to enjoy it.


    I have made this for years and have finally perfected the technique. When I started out, every Chinese recipe I read informed me in no uncertain terms that the rice should be fermented v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. So, I did what they said and watched as batch after batch lost out in the race between yeast and mold. My secret that I am about to share with you is this: get the yeast off to a roaring start, and there will be no contest at all. Once the yeast has taken over the jar -- preferably in less than 24 hours -- the rest of the fermentation process is pretty much clear sailing.


    Fermented rice yeast
    The other caveat that I can't stress enough is that everything that touches the fermented rice at every stage must be absolutely clean. If there is even a whisper of oil or contamination anywhere along the way, the whole batch could go south in an instant. So, wash every utensil and rinse them clean, including bamboo steamers, cheesecloth, and of course your hands. If some steamed rice hits the counter instead of the jar, just eat the wayward grains rather than risk throwing away the rest of the rice.


    After the rice has started to exude liquid, it will smell faintly yeasty and fruity, but not yet alcoholic; that will take a couple more days of fermentation.

    As the yeast grows, it will release lots of carbon dioxide, which will create bubbles in the rice and cause the mass of steamed rice to eventually float, and the jar will need to have a safety valve to keep it from exploding. For this reason I put a couple layers of cheesecloth and a sheet of plastic wrap between the jar and the lid, and this also keeps any curious fruit flies from invading my precious horde.



    The way I get the yeast to take off so quickly and subdue any errant mold spores that might try to make headway is threefold:

    - First, I use a bit of cornstarch and sugar so that the yeast can have something to immediately feed on without waiting for the rice to break down into manageable bites.


    - Second, I use boiled, filtered water so that the rice mixture stays clean clean clean.


    - And finally, I put the inoculated rice into a very warm place for the first 24 hours, by which time fermentation will have begun. I've been refining this recipe for fermented rice for over three decades now, and it's the best you'll find anywhere.



    And, as I discuss in a later column, Fermented Rice Deja Vu, I've hit upon an easier way to steam the rice. Rather than use the bamboo steam baskets outlined below, this rice can be done in a rice cooker! This saves lots of trouble and time, and it works like a dream; see the Modern Method below for more about this.


    Both Shanghai and Beijing lay claim to fermented rice, and it's used throughout most of China, so it is one of those things that are almost universally Chinese and seems to have worked its way into the good graces of just about every cuisine that allows alcohol.

    It can be enjoyed as a simple hot soup with nothing more than a quick boil with some water and sugar -- and this is also terrific chilled as a Chinese summer aperitif -- or with an egg cooked in it, or with those rice cakes or rice balls I mentioned above, but try it too in savory dishes, in almost any place that calls for rice wine, for the grains can be strained out if needed. You can also turn this into any number of magical dishes, from fish to pickled cucumbers.



    Feel free to double or triple this recipe once you get the hang of it. The directions are very detailed, but you will find that it is not at all hard after the first time around. Versatile, cheap, easy... this is a great recipe to master, and you also get to look incredibly competent cooking away with your own homemade hooch."

    I am inclined to think that it is the same yeast and my batch just got a cold as we keep the windows open a lot in my house but cant confirm till its done .

    Basic failure of constant temperature control otherwise known as no airing cupboard .

    On the other hand the above breakfast could become the "builders breakfast " of choice with some crispy bacon.

    Anyway further update on Sunday with pics.

    Richard



    Last edited by richardb; 26th Sep 2014 at 00:58.
    It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are

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