Traditional Culture of Japan - Portal site of traditional crafts and culture

Sake lees is beneficial: good for health and beauty


In making sake, as much as 30–50% of the outer layers of the rice is polished off. With so much of the rice removed, the portion of the rice actually used in making sake is quite small.


Also, when the moromi mash is pressed at the end of fermentation, the liquid expressed from it is fresh sake. But what happens to the solid matter left over after the sake is extracted? Is it all thrown out? As a matter of fact, it can all be reused.


Sake lees is beneficial
It is said that brewery workers have lovely hands. However, it can be very stressful working at a brewery. At the busiest period, there is little opportunity to sleep. Despite that, the workers’ skin retains its moisture and looks attractive.


This is because there are ingredients used in sake production that are good for one’s health and appearance. The sake lees (sakekasu), in particular, is beneficial.


After the moromi mash is made, it is pressed in a machine. Sakekasu is the residue remaining in the machine after the sake has been expressed from the moromi. The sakekasu can be used just as it is. It can also be allowed to ferment for several months in a container. Sakekasu can be used as a medium for pickling fish, or it can be used as an ingredient in cooking.


Because of its beautifying effect on the skin, sakekasu is used in bathwater additives and cosmetics. Sakekasu left over from the production of quality sake by well-known breweries is much in demand and often sold out.


There is no waste in the brewing of sake
The removal of the outer layers of the rice grain for the purpose of sake brewing is called seimai. The rice polishings are called nuka (rice bran). Nuka is used in making various foods such as rice crackers.


Also, as mentioned above, the sake lees is used in cooking and for cosmetic products. So there really is no waste left over in the production of sake.


Sakekasu is sometimes sold on its own when it is intended for use in cooking. Some people use it for making snack foods like cookies and pancakes. So the ways of using sakekasu are many and varied.

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