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Homebrewed Sake: The Moto

Homebrewed Sake: The Moto

This is part three of a series on making sake at home, part one is here.

The next step in sake homebrew is ten days with very little to do. High time, because I was done babying that koji: we had that picnic cooler in our bedroom through two winter nights, lying beside me like a newborn.

The moto is a starter: a first step for the yeast to wake up and get going before it’s turfed into a bigger fermentation. A moto starter consists of water, yeast, koji and fresh rice, slowly fermented together in the fridge for ten days or so. All you really need to do is put it all together, then burp and stir it every so often.

Moto ingredients

  • 200g steamed sushi rice, cooled (steami using the same method as for koji)
  • 75 grams koji rice
  • 270ml cool water
  • 5g dry yeast. I used one fresh pack of sake yeast.


In a lidded container, combine all ingredients and keep in the fridge for 10 days at around 5-10°C. Keep the lid ever so slightly open to allow carbon dioxide from fermentation to escape; there won’t be a lot, as the fermentation is slow. A couple of times a day, close the jar up and shake it gently to ensure the top layer of rice is mixed in to the rest.

Over the ten days, the rice will go from looking like separate grains, to more of a slightly bubbling porridge and then soup. The scent and taste will start to be oddly reminiscent of sake, and the taste will become more acid and more bitter.

At around day ten, the moto is ready.

While we were waiting, we had a look around at other uses for koji rice, and tried dry-aging a steak.

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