I saw and replied to a post asking about the use of Koji in breadmaking, but I am posting this time, because I think it may be an interesting topic for some readers.
I will discuss two Japanese bread making techniques that I am familiar with.
1. The use of Koji grains, and 2. The technique known as Yudane.
1. Koji (rice grains cultured with Aspergillus oryzae) is used in the production of Sake, and also Miso (it will give off an smell of alcohol as it ferments), however it is not used by itself in making bread (to my knowledge at least)
Koji is used to create a rice starter called Sakadane, which is a process in the making of Sake, and which has been used as an alternative starter for bread baking since bread was first introduced to Japan.
Using Sakadane for bread making creates a very soft crumb.
2. Yudane is a Japanese method of mixing flour with boiling water into a paste, and then leaving it to autolyse. This also aids in the production a soft texture, and works very well in tandem with Sakadane, but I have also used it in creating lovely soft western style loaves as well.
BTW - There is a another method called Tangzong (I assume from China) in which one actually cooks the flour and water into a roux, but Yudane does not require cooking.
Now, for the lowdown on Sakadane. Like any sourdough starter, creating your Sakadane will take a little time, but once you have it, it can live in the fridge and just needs refreshing whenever you bake a loaf, or maybe around once per week.
There is a good video to be found here which I would recommend to get you going. I’ve shown the details as provided by usami in the video below, in the attached photo. I would recommend you use Medium grain white rice, as that is the kind generally used in Japan.
As this post is pretty long now, I will follow up with a recipe I have developed using both Sakadane and Yudane in my next post.
By the way, I got Koji grains posted from Meru Miso (Australia), but you may find them at a health food shop or check online for somewhere in your country.