There are three main purposes for producing Kohji. The first is for atomizing starch and protein. As mentioned before, starch needs to be transformed into sugar, and this transformation requires an enzyme called amylase, which is produced by kohji. When rice is chewed for a while in the mouth, it naturally develops sweetness. This is due to the fact that the amylase in human saliva converts the starch into sugar inside the mouth. Kohji acts in the same way. Additionally, it also produces an enzyme called protease. This converts the protein contained in rice into amino acid.
THE HISTORY OF SAKE
The purpose for producing Kohji
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Thirdly, Kohji adds flavour to Sake. Different Sakes can have different tastes even when they use the same ingredients. If the smell is different, then the taste is different because sugars, amino acids, and fragrances are generated as by-products during the fermentation process. The flavours of Sake change in accordance with how those elements are generated. In wine production, the different cultivars of grapes are emphasized but the cultivars of rice are not emphasized in Sake production. This is because the most important element in producing Sake is not the rice but the Kohji. Accordingly, the taste and quality of Sake varies according to the person producing it. In addition, aspergillus is a type of microorganism called true fungus. The technology which uses true fungus in fermentation is seen all over the world but Kohji is only used in Japan. Rice malt is designated as “Japanese fungus” due to its nature, which is suited to the climate in Japan.
Second, Kohji plays the role of providing nutriment for yeast. It acts as “starchÞsugar” but it doesn’t complete the process of Sake making. Yeast needs to be added to transform “sugarÞalcohol.” Rice malt converts sugar into alcohol, a process called “fermentation.” Yeast produces energy using sugar and produces alcohol as a by-product. In short, just as we use sugar as an energy source for our vital activity, yeast uses sugar as its energy source. Kohji is needed in order to provide the sugar source to the yeast.