Bodai Moto-Zukuri Saké

Bodai Moto-Zukuri Saké

In December I visited the Terada Honke Brewery ( in Chiba Prefecture in Japan, where they make incredibly delicious 100% wild fermented saké using very traditional methods and no pure strain starters. I spent a day observing, tasting, and talking with brewmaster Masaru Terada, the 24th generation brewmaster there. (See photos of my visit there at

Masaru-san described to me a simple ancient method of making saké, which he called Bodai-Moto-Zukuri that sounded so simple I had to try it as soon as I got home. I’m very pleased with the results!

Saké brewed at home in two weeks without any special equipment. In a bottle from Terada Honke Brewery, where i was told about this method, Bodai Moto-Zukuri.

Saké brewed at home in two weeks without any special equipment. In a bottle from Terada Honke Brewery, where i was told about this method, Bodai Moto-Zukuri.

The only ingredients are rice and water. I used 1.5 kg/3 lbs of rice altogether to make about 3 liters/quarts of saké. Some of the rice is in the form of koji, molded rice; see Art of Fermentation for info on making koji, or buy it.

The whole process took about 2 weeks.

The only equipment you need is a vessel with a capacity of at least 6 liters/1.5 gallons, and two cloth or mesh bags with mesh fine enough to hold rice.

Steam 500 g/1 lb rice.

Fill mesh bags: Transfer the steamed rice to a mesh bag, and place 500 g raw rice in the other bag.

Submerge: Fill vessel with 2 liters dechlorinated water and submerge the two bags of rice. The cooked rice will decompose into the water, providing nutrients for the yeast and bacteria on the raw rice.

Gently massage bag of cooked rice for a few minutes each day.

Taste after a few days. It’s time for the next step when it’s bubbly and starts to taste a little sour. For me this took four days.

Remove bags of rice from the water, and retain liquid that drains from them.

Steam the soaked raw rice.

Cool until still warm but comfortable to the touch.

Mix warm rice with 500g/1 lb koji, as well as the original cooked rice that has been soaking. Mix the three different forms of rice together thoroughly.

Return rice to water in vessel.

Stir daily.

Ferment 10 days to 2 weeks, tasting periodically.




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18 thoughts on “Bodai Moto-Zukuri Saké

    • Don’t know the brand, but sticky rice from Thailand is what I used. I steamed it for about an hour and a half in a bamboo steamer lined with cotton cloth.

  1. Hi,
    It looks great, it just want to try this..
    Which variety of rice have you used for the steamed and raw rice parts?
    Japanese use special type of rice for sake making, which contains less proteins and fats than regular rice and is furthermore polished to various extent depending on the sake grade. I saw some recipes recommending glutinous rice.
    Any feedback is greatly appreciated! 🙂

  2. hi,
    Thank you for your great article.
    you mentioned vessel.
    What exactly did you use?
    What method did you use to clean it before you start?

  3. Thanks for the great post and instructions!
    My question is: once you mix the three rices, when you put them back in the vessel do you need to use a bag again or is it ok to just put them in water without anything to contain them? If so, do you need to filter the sake in the end?
    Thanks a lot!

    • When I mix all the rices together, I return them to the fermentation vessel without any bag; then, a filter the sake through a mesh after the fermentation.

  4. You write that you got 3 liters of sake from this recipe, but only use 2 liters in the initial soak. Do you add more water for the ferment? Thanks.

    • The fermentation breaks down the rice, so the volume of solid residue is very small and most of the rice becomes part of the sake, increasing the volume beyond the water you start with.

  5. Hey Sandor, I am late to the game apparently but am totally fascinated by this method. I have my first batch two days into the mash phase. I am wondering: why do I need to stir? All other alcohol ferments I have ever done (that should stay alcohol) take place in closed vessels to avoid the wrong microbes and keep your alcohol from flying away or being gobbled up. Why doesn’t this take place here? I am imagining it has something to do with the lactic acid.

    • The reason sake needs to be stirred is that as the fermentation builds, the carbon dioxide produced lifts the rice solids above the liquid. Stirring mixes the rice back into the fermenting liquid, so it continue to break down and fortify the sake. As long as the fermentation is fairly vigorous, the surface will always have carbon dioxide displacig oxygen at the surface, so aerobic vinegar organisms cannot take hold.

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