ON THE GRIND
tends to have a spongier texture than most table rice, and has a particular ration of fat and proteins on the outside, with a concentration of starch at the centre.
The removal of the outer husks of the rice grain in the milling process is the beginning of sake production.
Rice doesn’t play as important a role in the flavour of sake as grapes do in wine. Sakamai’s ability to perform as a vehicle for the other ingredients of sake making is how it shines.
For example, a variety of sake rice that can absorb the right amount of moisture, cooperate and be penetrated by koji, and interact with various types of yeast is more prized than a type that will yield specific aromatics of strawberries or white flowers. Most quality sake production begins with milling, or polishing, grains to at least 70 percent – a polishing rate called seimaibuai. When sake rice has a polishing rate of 70 percent, it means each grain of rice has been polished to 70 percent of its original size.
It is important to note that the more a sake is polished, the more material is needed for the final product. And there