I have just completed the pressing of a sake made with a bodai moto and while the story is still not complete I think this may be a good time to look at what we have so far. The bodai moto is the original method of creating a moto. As I have written before in this venue, the bodai moto was created from a sake brewing method known as bobaisen. Bodaisen was sake made using the same method used for bodai moto but there is no additions added later. For bodaisen you put all the ingredients together at the beginning and then ferment to the end with no additions. Over time it was found that adding a bit of the mash of a good brew to the beginning of a new brew helped make better sake as well as make it more reliable. As the properties of the sake improved while adding a “starter” from a good batch, this became the norm and even the first batch needed to have a starter and this push for better sake is how the method for making bodaisen became the method for making bodai moto.
Bodai moto is also called mizumoto or water moto. The name mizumoto makes a lot of sense once you begin to look at the method used and what it produces. The outcome of the first step of the method is a special water called soyashi-mizu that contains, along with the water, lactic acid that will protect the moto and the ferments made with this moto. There are also other compounds from various bugs that became active before there was enough lactic acid to kill them off. These bugs and their effect on the moto bring distinctly different contributions to sake. Similar to yamahai moto sake, bodai has its own funk.
To start a bodai moto we need to make the soyashi-mizu. Soyashi-mizu is created in the soyashi process which consists of mixing a small amount of cooked rice with raw rice and water and letting stand until the lactic acid reaches the desired strength. Now I should say that in the original process this is also key to cultivating a good yeast population. Because I will add yeast I am not really looking for this but it may also be a strong contributor to the resulting characteristics.
For this moto I used ½ cup of cooked rice, 2 cups of washed raw rice and 2 cups of water. I cooked my rice in a rice cooker, so no steaming in this case. I did this because I was thinking that they would not have been steaming their rice back then. However, I have since read some items that claim that in fact most rice was steamed. So, while I don’t really know how they cooked their rice, this version used a rice cooker. I spread the cooked rice out to cool on the counter for about an hour. I then washed the 2 cups of rice using the same process I would follow to prepare rice for steaming. I combined these with water, mixed well and let stand for 8 days with no cover.
By the 8th day the water was fairly sour. It had been bubbling a little for several days and looked turbid. Unexpectedly, this mixture produced a stink from day 3 or so that was plenty bad. It didn’t seem that this would be something we should be adding. But I forged ahead. I separated the liquid from the rice. I needed / wanted to cups of water for the next stage but I only got a bit less than 1 cup. The rice was a yellowish color. I wish I took a picture of the yellow rice.
Moving to the second stage of making the bodai moto I needed to steam the rice, add back the soyashi-mizu, the liquid and add koji and yeast. Not having enough soyashi-mizu I topped it off with water, a little over a cups worth. I added 1 cup koji to the soyashi-mizu. Then I placed the yellow rice in the steamer and steamed for 45 minutes. To my surprise, when I was done steaming the rice I opened the lid and the rice was red! First yellow and now red! I had seen nothing that would have suggested this would happen. This time I got some pictures.
This first picture is the rice still in the steamer after steaming. The white cheese cloth is just about the correct shade in this picture so the color you have here is what I was seeing. The next picture shows the rice turned over and broken up a bit. The bottom side of the rice was a little lighter in color.
Continuing on, after cooling the steamed rice I added it to the mixture. In the picture below you can see the stark white koji and the red steamed rice in the whitish soyashi-mizu.
After a week the moto had worked its magic on the ingredients. The enzymes from the koji were breaking down the rice. This can be seen in the following picture that was taken at the end of the moto period; eight days after combining with steamed rice and koji.
Following the moto and the buildup I let the moromi go for 21 days. It was still going through a pretty strong fermentation so while the time was ok the moromi was not really ready to be pressed. I pressed it anyway. In the next picture, you can see the foam and bubbles from the moromi just before I started the pressing.
Taking a closer look at the moromi after removing the foam we can still see white rice and red rice in the mixture. The moromi is just off white to the pinkish side.
I had never pressed a moromi that was this active before. The resulting sake was much thinker and creamier than usual. This makes me question my decision to press but that ship has past. Anyway the sake in the jug below shows what the sake looked like after pressing; still a slight pinkishness.
Finally, the bodai kasu below also displays a bit of pinkishness. It has more moisture than my usual kasu. It seemed to me to be harder to press. Most likely this has more to do with the liveliness of the ferment than the fact that it was based on a bodai moto. A longer moromi would have been better.
I will report on how this sake turns out after the lees have fully settled out and it has had a little time to mature. I can’t wait!