Sweet and Savory Koji Rice Pudding

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This sweet and savory koji rice pudding is full of nuanced flavor with hints of vanilla, ginger, honey, and winter spices in every bite. Discover simple uses for koji rice that transform a basic pudding to a restaurant level dining experience.




  • Ingredients for Koji Rice:
  • Ingredients for Koji Rice Pudding
    • 50g (1/2 cup) Koji Rice
    • 250g (1 cup) Milk
    • 25g (2 Tbsp) Sugar


  • Digital Bread Proofer of Digital Dehydrator that can go as low as 90°F
  • Bamboo Steamer
  • Glass Pyrex Baking Tray
  • Instant Read Probe Thermometer
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Latex or Ruber Gloves
  • Bowdered Sugar Shaker of Fine Sieve
  • Bowl
  • Heavy Bottomed Saucepan
  • Rubber Spatula or Wooden Spoon


Active Time: 90 Minutes Total Time: 4 Days


2 Servings of Pudding

  • Steam Rice

    Put rice in a bowl and run it under water while agitating it periodically until water runs clear.
    Cover rice with water in the bowl and let it sit out at room temperature overnight.
    Drain the rice from the water and line up the bottom of your steamer with cheesecloth.
    Add the rice to the steamer and cover with more cheesecloth and cover the steamer.
    Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium high and steam for 30 min.
    Remove rice from the steamer and spread it out to cool quickly and let rice cool to 88°F.
    Chef’s Note: It is Important to steam the rice rather than using a rice cooker or cooking it in water so as to not break the rice down too much because it will become very pasty.
  • Mix Koji Spores

    While the rice is cooling, mix the Koji spores with the rice flour.
    IMPORTANT: Before adding the koji spore mixture to the rice, make sure the rice is with 86°F and 90°F as this is a habitable temperature for the koji spores.
    Using the shaker or a fine sieve, shake the Koji rice flour mixture over the cooled rice. 
    Mix the rice with your gloved hands and repeat until all the spores are thoroughly mixed into the rice.
    Place damp cheesecloth into a glass tray, add the inoculated rice into a glass tray and cover with cheesecloth and cover with a clean damp towel.
    Chef’s Note:  Working in a clean environment is essential in making sure that no other bacteria is growing with the koji.
  • Prepare Proofing Box

    Place your thermometer into the rice so you can see what the temperature is.
    Put the entire tray into your proof box and put 2 cups of water in the box with it and set your temperature between 88 and 90 degrees.
    If using a dehydrator, set your temperature between 88°F and 90°F, put a very damp towel on top of the rice and wrap it in plastic food wrap. You will have to re-dampen the towel every 8 hours to make sure that there’s enough humidity for optimal growth.
    Check rice periodically  to make sure the temperature does not spike over 104 or it will kill the koji. Koji is a living organism that will generate its own heat which is why it needs to be closely monitored. The temperature will not usually start to spike until about the 19th hour.
    IMPORTANT: Temperature control is also very important and should be monitored closely throughout the entire incubation process. If the temperature does begin to spike you can take the tray out of your box and separate your rice into 3 even mounds giving it more surface area for the rice to cool quicker.
    Re-dampen your towel and lay it back on top of the cheesecloth and put it back in the proofer.
  • Observe Rice Inoculation

    Your rice should be fully inoculated after 60 hours. You are looking for whitish fuzz to start growing on the rice at about the 24th hour. The fuzz will grow quickly at this point for the next 48 hours.
    The Koji will also develop a sweet and savory aroma.
     If you let the rice continue past the 72 hours it will begin to flower turning a tannish yellow. Some say that at this flowering stage the flavor intensifies but I have not noticed that to be the case.
    If your Koji starts to turn any other color besides the aforementioned then your koji has taken a turn and you should throw it out immediately, thoroughly clean and sanitize your equipment and start over.
    You can use your koji rice right away or you can break it up and store it in ziplock bags in the fridge for 1 month and frozen for 6 months up to a year.
  • Create Koji Rice Pudding

    To make the koji rice pudding, start by adding the milk to a heavy bottomed saucepan and add the sugar and slowly bring up the temperature until the sugar is dissolved.
    Add the koji rice and break up in the milk with the rubber spatula.
    Bring the pan to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and stir occasionally as pudding thickens.
    Rice pudding should be ready in about 25 to 30 minutes.
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Sweet and Savory Koji Rice Pudding
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