Japanese Ingredients for the World’s Top Kitchens ＃08 ARTISANAL RICE-KOJI BREAD
Loaves That Go Well with Washoku
Sep 06, 2021
Though the times are always changing, there are certain timeless ingredients from Japan that will never go out of style. Yukio Hattori, president of Hattori Nutrition College in Tokyo, introduces unique labors of love—items grown and produced with care and integrity by hardworking suppliers across the country.
Takeshi Araki and his son, Kazuki, bake rice-koji bread in Saitama two hours northwest of Tokyo. “My father opened a small bakery here in 1973,”Kazuki tells us. “It soon became popular, but he got tired of using packaged yeast—he wanted to offer a healthier product. In 1983 he began experimenting with the steamed-rice koji made by Amanoya of Kanda, famous for their non-alcoholic fermented drink, amazake.
“After he figured out how to make a good loaf of bread that way,” Kazuki continues, “he was determined to make his own koji starter. He finally accomplished that in 2010.” No additives are used to aid the all-natural fermentation in what is a truly labor-intensive process. “To make a single batch of 24 casks, we’re stirring the mash 5,760 times.” From start to finish, a single loaf is three weeks in the making.