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Can someone analyize this Mochi making process?

With a mochi addicted daughter, I've sought to make my own Mochi at home. I'm talking about the kind of mochi usually eaten on New Years day...the kind made at various Mochitsuki events, pounded sweet rice.

Originally, I hoped to purchase an electric Mochi Machine similar to a bread machine but have been unable to locate one. All online sources are completely sold out. I've emailed Zojirushi and they've discontinued theirs. After searching the internet, I came up with this site

http://www.popsynth.com/

which suggests a method of combining the rice cooker and the bread machine. After 3 batches, I've had limited success. Each batch yielded a mochi cake that was way too moist when cooked. Each time I soaked the sweet rice overnight. When cooking the first batch, I drained the water till it was probably 1/8" over the rice. I cooked it in the rice cooker and let it steam an additional 15 minutes before putting in the bread machine. When I took it out and shaped it, it was exciting because they looked great. When I went to cook them, they blobbed out into a shapeless form of goo. So I decided to freeze them. That didn't help. They just hold too much moisture. So the next batch, I reduce the water to just level with the rice. I ended up with the same results, froze them again, same thing. This last batch, I drained out almost all the water. You couldn't even see the water in the rice. 3 cups rice and maybe a cup of water. When the rice cooker turned off, it was still crunchy on the top portion. I put it in the bread machine anyway. The machine pounded out most of the crunch but still, it's way too moist.

When I buy the mochi, it is usually frozen. I put it in the microwave turning it over once during heating ....cooking it until it puffs up. When I remove it, it's still round, holding it's shape, so that I can run it under water and then roll in sugar and kinako mix. The home made stuff is just too moist. If I reduce the cooking time to the point where it remains in it's round shape, it's just too gooey. I usually throw these into donburi and let them soften. When I try this with the home made ones, even from frozen, they just kind of goo out, dissolving into the donburi broth, which defeats the purpose.

Any of you mochi connoisseurs have suggestions? I even sent my hakujin husband to Mitsuwa the last time he was in Orange County on business to look for a machine. They don't know when they'll get any in.

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  1. I think homemade mochi recipes turn out mochi that just isn't meant to be toasted. I don't know what the process is that gets the ones you buy (they're just plain round disks, right?) so hard and firm, but maybe it's just not reproducible at home. I looked at the site you posted and it looks like they are also making the softer-type mochi, which will definitely get gooey if you try to toast it. But you could just roll those in kinako powder.

    My mom used to make cocoa, poi, coconut or butter mochi and they were all very yummy for snacking out of the pan. But for those mochi disks you like to toast, you may just be better off buying them and storing them in the freezer.

    1. I know...that's what I'm thinking! But you know me! Well you don't know me!....when I find something I like, I always try to come up with a home made version. We do roll them in kinako but you can barely keep them in round shape, they're so moist. I'm clueless on this one. I figured there'd be someone who'd made them without a machine, electric or old fashioned! Thanks leanne for your reply!

      1. I used to make mochi with the "hammers" and a granite bowl. Rice was washed and soaked over night and put into wooden trays for steaming, the rice was not cooked in a rice cooker with water. We used to meet at a nursery that was heated by steam, a pipe was run from the boiler to an improvised steamer. The boxes were open, top and bottom, a layer of dowels and a bamboo mat kept the rice in the box. Three or four boxes were stacked, someone kept time, the bottom box would be removed, a new box put on top. There was a cover for the box on top, and a bleached rice sack was over each box. The rice from the bottom box was "tasted", if it was done, it was dumped into the granite bowl, if the rice wasn't done, it was put back in the stack. So, instead of cooking the rice in a rice cooker, try steaming in a double boiler.

        I looked at the link, the mochi pictured would have not passed the "Obachan's" approval, and the picture of the "pounded" mochi looked too wet. Someone would dust their hands with rice flour and dust the pounded rice with flour and pinch off balls of mochi, there were ~10-15 people around a table, to receive the pinched off balls and shape them into mochi, one sort of spun the balls while they rested on the table. The "pinching off" had to be learned, done properly there would be no seams/rough spots on the top of the piece, we did not roll a tube and slice off pieces. To pinch off a ball, a circle was made with thumb and forefinger and the dough was forced or pushed through that circle, then twisted or pinched off.

        Similar to working bread dough with flour, work your pounded mochi with flour. I don't make bread, but often buy pizza dough from a pizzeria, the pizza dough I buy would be too wet for mochi, the picture of the pounded mochi in the link, looks wetter than the pizza dough I buy.

        When the rice is being "pounded" in the bread maker, the steam is captured and returned to the mochi, when I used to make mochi, the steam evaporated.

        The granite bowl broke ~30 years ago, a replacement couldn't be found and a machine was purchased. For a couple of years, there was still a gathering, but there was nothing to do. Instead of making a year's supply for 4-6 families in late December the machine is now shared by 2-3 families.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Alan408

          Wow...what an informative reply! what a shame about the bowl! My family owned a grinder that they would loan to the church for the annual mochitsuki. I have no idea who ended up with that or what they did with it. When you say you purchased a machine, do you mean an electric one? Do you think steaming it in a double boiler would reduce the amount of liquid in the rice? If so, how long would you suggest steaming it? I've thought about maybe spreading the rice out on a sheet pan to cool and maybe get rid of some of the excess steam. Maybe if I do that and leave the lid to the bread machine open it would work?

          1. re: mrsmegawatt

            When you say you purchased a machine, do you mean an electric one? ~1980 the granite bowl broke and for the next year's batch a "machine" was purchased, it was electric, put in washed/soaked rice, depress a lever (button), and wait, balls of rice cakes came out an opening, they were shaped and laid out on a dusted table for cooling. Are you letting your mochi rest before using ?, maybe that helps reduce the moisture ?. It is a commercial duty machine, something a mochi shop would have, 5 lbs of rice.

            Do you think steaming it in a double boiler would reduce the amount of liquid in the rice? If so, how long would you suggest steaming it? Our steam process allowed for excess steam to vent out, towels for absorbing condensation so I feel wet rice was to be avoided. I only remember two people who tasted the rice for "doneness", it must have been a learned task. Keep using the rice cooker and see below.

            I've thought about maybe spreading the rice out on a sheet pan to cool and maybe get rid of some of the excess steam. Maybe if I do that and leave the lid to the bread machine open it would work? I think spreading out the rice is a good idea if you cook in a rice cooker, if your bread machine will knead when open, then that is a good thing to try too.

            I live in San Jose CA, we have a manju shop, I don't remember seeing plain mochi in their cases, they do offer kinako. There are several locations in my area selling frozen mochi year round, and the church around the corner sells plain mochi in December.
            Kinako costs $1.10 each, frozen is ~$2 per dozen.

            I will send a couple of emails to the people (2) I know who have machines , I will post their responses.

            1. re: Alan408

              The Manju shop here charges $3 per pound. It's not much really. I would just like to learn to make it on my own just in case their situation should change. There have been times when I've gone downtown to get 6 or 7 pounds and have stood in line behind someone who buys everything they have. I'm standing there thinking "What the heck is my daughter going to eat now?" Those are the times we resort to bacon/weenie fried rice. She loves that too.

              Thank you for all the answers/suggestions. You are a wealth of information. I will think about everything you said for my next batch. When you talk about the test for doneness, it reminded me of one time when I was at the church with all the older women. It was Mochitsuki day and they were trying to teach us teens the pinch and form process in making the patties. I'll never forget them squeezing and pinching that hot rice like it was nothing. We were all screaming "ouch ouch ouch" while they all laughed. Great memories!

              1. re: mrsmegawatt

                I received responses from the mochi machine owners.

                The big machine has been retired, its owner is in his late 80s. "No, I don't use it any more, everybody is gone" was his reply.

                The other machine was purchased in 1993 from Marukai in Gardena, CA, cost was $202.76. Cooks up to 10 cups of rice. The brand is "Tiger" and the owner recommends it, "I would recommend it and by now I'm sure things might even be improved with this type of machine."

                1. re: Alan408

                  Thank you so much Alan. I've pretty much abandoned this method of bread machine/rice cooker. I tried one more batch, reducing the water. I spread the rice out till all steam was gone. I left the bread machine lid off so that all steam would escape. It was the same result...wet dough. So then, I really took the time to knead in more mochiko. The end product was the same. Flavorful but way too moist. For now, I will continue to purchase from our local shop which at times can be hit and miss. My friend daughter lives in Irvine and her boyfriend works at Marukai. She says she will have him take a look for me.

                  I really thank you for your research and input. So very nice of you!

                  Oh yes... last night I made lumpia for dinner. Just for kicks, I sliced up one mochi cake into 3rds. I had it in the fridge so it was beginning to harden. I rolled them up in the lumpia wrapper and fried them too. I mixed some shoyu and sugar for dipping. They were different...fun!

                  1. re: mrsmegawatt

                    Mochi satahoyu...oishi

            2. re: mrsmegawatt

              My mom is an expert. I kept making the same errors and this is what she told me: first, you did right: Soak your mochi rice overnight. Next day, DRAIN FOR AT LEAST 1/2 HR... Then steam. to do this, you have to use like a bamboo steamer over 4 cups of water(for 4-5 cups of sweet mochi rice, drained) Or you can use a regular double decker style steamer, but the electric steamers (the kind you can steam veggies and fish, etc) allows too much water through it. When that it cooked, the grains will look sorta transluscent...you can then put it in your bread maker, I guess. My old panasonic mochi maker does not steam properly, so after steaming on the stove, I use the mochi maker to pound it. My mom can judge by looking at the rice if it needs a little more water, and she sometimes adds 1/4c salted water... I just add 2 T water, and that usually is enough. Being korean, when the mochi is bouncing in the machine in a ball stage, we lift it out and place it in a shallow pan lightly coated with sesame oil. Then we let it cool. You can, however, lift it into a plastic pan, and shape using katakuri, or potato starch. Good luck... hey, isn't that the whole point of mochi???

            3. re: Alan408

              leave the bread maker open, if using one.

            4. Last time I was in the US I looked for and found a mochi maker (in a big Korean - Asian grocery store in Washington DC). It was HUGE (and pricey) so didn't bring it back.

              1. They make hand-cranked mochi grinders, anyway, if not "complete processors" for not THAT much money. Saw some at Mitsuwa for under $50, but it may be a seasonal item. You didn't see anything like that online?

                1. Interesting.Thanks Mike...I'll take a look

                  1. NB: When I say "grinder", that's what it looked like from the outside, more or less, I'm not sure just how the mechanism works (grinds, kneads, ?) and don't remember the name on the box. If they normally just get them in for the holidays, maybe they'd be able to order one if you specifically ask.

                    1. If you're still looking for the mochi machines I've seen them at the Soko Hardware stores in San Jose & San Francisco. Try calling them.

                      565 N 6th St
                      San Jose, CA 95112
                      (408) 294-3190

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rilkeanheart

                        Thanks! I'll do that!

                      2. I was at the Gardena Marukai today and asked about a mochi maker for you and for myself. I have been wanting one for a long time. The appliance guy said that all the major companies have stopped making them and Tiger is the only one left. I asked him when he thought they would get them in and he said they said August, but he wasn't too optimistic. He also said that the other machines cooked, pounded and finished the mochi with one push of the button, but the buttons on the Tiger one had to be pushed after each operation. He gave me the look like it's not as good as the Zoji's or the Panasonic ones. He said maybe wait for a new model ? My favorite Komochi is from a shop on Jefferson Blvd. in L.A. called Kinokuni.

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: mochi mochi

                          mochi mochi...this topic suits your name! I have seen the Tigers online and it does look to be that way. They have lots of buttons. I'm glad you told me about that, it's something I didn't realize. I've had a preorder in with Amazon for a used one. Apparently they post it on some board in case someone has one to sell. I wish Amazon would take their advertisement for the Panasonic off their website since it's no longer available. I sure would like to see one in person to make an informed decision. My son is going to SF in April. If he goes by Japantown, I may have him look for me. According to rilkeanheart above, they have them at the hardware stores. I think they're out there somewhere, just hiding!

                          1. re: mrsmegawatt

                            Sure does, love mochi...My way of saying moshi-moshi. I will keep my eye out for you and me! Do you live close to the L.A. area?
                            My husband leaves for Fresno on Sunday, I may have him look out that ways too.
                            I tried to order the Panasonic one at Amazon... just recently. Sad.

                            1. re: mochi mochi

                              I actually live in Clovis which is just outside of Fresno. Our local manju shop is called KogetsuDo and it's at 902 F street. Their mochi and manju is delicious. They are closed on Wednesday and Thursday..or maybe Tuesday and Wednesday. I can never remember! Around the corner is Central Fish which is the local Japanese food store. They have gifts upstairs. I always check for the Mochi machine but they never have it, just rice cookers and hot water dispensers. At Central Fish, they have a cafe connected to it. It's pretty packed at lunch. Lots of local police eat there. Lots of homeless in the area too. The cafe attracts a lot of people...it can be good depending on what you order. Kijima in Clovis is a good place to eat if he's interested. Jack the sushi chef is a kick!

                              1. re: mrsmegawatt

                                mochi mochi and mrsmegawatt, I grew up in Fresno, my mother and aunts in Clovis (Miyamoto). I grew up in the 50s when Central Fish was in the West Side near the Fuji and New China Cafes and across the street from the Japanese Department store. My cousin Elaine started the first Oishi in the Farmers' Market. Please keep me posted if anyone finds a mochi machine.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Wow Sam! It is a small world! The Fuji cafe is still there. The deparment store has been closed for about 5 years now maybe. It's a sad story about Central Fish. The owner was murdered by a former employee, young kid who came back late one night to rob him I think. It was a horrible thing. I remember him at the store, he and his wife. They sold the place but the wife is still around. I think she advises but I don't think it was sold to family. Next to Kogetsu Do is a cute little thrift store, run to support the Nikkei Foundation. My daughter loves going in there. All the ladies are so nice to her..it makes her miss her great grandma. "Asian Treasures" it says on the sign! I always tell her that she's an Asian Treasure! Fresno and Clovis are both wonderful places! I don't know Miyamoto's...if they are still here. It's a small world after all!

                                  1. re: mrsmegawatt

                                    Guess my husband doesn't have to shop! Very small world. Thanks for the chowish tips for Fresno. I will tell him.

                                    1. re: mochi mochi

                                      mochi mochi....

                                      http://www.hotbuyselectronics.com/ite...
                                      Looks like they have one in stock. It's the same one shown on this website....
                                      http://www.buy4asianlife.com/eshop/id...

                                      As far as I can find out, Panasonic and Zojirushi have stopped making them. Our manju shop is back in full production, so we're in luck. I'm hesitant to purchase this one since I can't touch it! What do you think? I thought I'd post so you can see since I knew you were looking for one too.

                                      1. re: mrsmegawatt

                                        I went to the Tiger site and tried to read the instructions for the maker. I am having problems with my Adobe Reader or something because it loads part way and then when I scroll down and then back up the text disappears. HUH? Oh well, I think I want to wait and check them out at Marukai after summer. The appliance guy seemed to think that the Tiger was a hassle because you had to check and push a button for each cycle. I also saw something about hardness of your mochi... setting the pounding to longer or harder in the instructions, but when I scrolled back up it disappeared. Maybe you'll have better luck at their site.
                                        http://www.usa.tiger-corporation.com/...

                                        1. re: mochi mochi

                                          Okay...your adobe is doing better than mine. Mine tells me to load the Japanese language pack. I have no idea how to do that. My page was completely blank. Post a new thread if you're ever able to find one and let me know!

                                          1. re: mochi mochi

                                            If you email me (see my profile) I will email you (and anybody else) back a complete copy of the tiger manual - in word (doc) and pdf. I've used my tiger for several years without any problems.

                                            1. re: applehome

                                              wow! maybe if you could verify the process for us. I think the thing with the Tiger is that you have to push the button between every stage...is that correct? Whereas the Panasonic is a one touch setting. All this talk may be for nothing as it's our understanding that the Panasonic and Zoji are no longer being produced. Are you happy with yours? We are currently unable to find one. We did find one online but we'd like to see it, touch it etc.

                                              1. re: mrsmegawatt

                                                I used to spend about a hundred dollars in mochi every December - get the still soft 9x12 sheets home and cut them up into small rectangles, then wrap them individually and store them in the freezer. I think that the longest I made it through the year was about September - then we'd yearn for the next year's run.

                                                Since we got the machine, not only can I have fresh mochi any time I want. Come New Year's, I am the supplier for the whole extended family - I make batch after batch before New Year's, and send them to my relatives. Nobody buys the sheets at New Year's any more.

                                                I grew up watching my father help my uncles pound the motchi every year at my grandmother's house in Yokosuka. I remember the ozoni that all the aunts used to help with on New Year's Morning. It's still the first thing I eat on the new year.

                                                The Tiger works very well. You soak the rice overnight (at least 6 hours), but then you have to drain it thoroughly before putting it in the machine. The machine steams the rice automatically and shuts itself off, like any other rice maker. It is a real steaming unit however - the water goes into a well at the bottom, so that the rice itself is not re-soaked in the water. You do have to push the pound button and then when you think it's ready, you have to turn it off - it will not automatically turn off. You can learn to gauge the softness that you like by watching the dough. The two controls are the time and the amount of water - the instructions explain pretty clearly. You can put the hot mochi in a cutting unit that comes with the maker (see the amazon page) which helps you cut individual round pieces, or you can roll it out flat in the top cover, which comes with a handy wooden roller, then cut into rectangles after it sets a bit.

                                                It's as good - and fresher - than the store bought sheets. Is it as good as the traditional stuff pounded by my dad and my uncles? Only my 50 year old memories can attest to that comparison.

                                                1. re: applehome

                                                  Applehome I know this is a very old post however I am hoping that you would be able to tell me where I could purchase The Wooden Roller that is used to cut mochi in rectangles and also can be used to roll them into small balls. Here is a video of the item I am looking for (you will see this item at the end of the video Thank you in advance for all of your help) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR_mtF...

                                                  1. re: fambam115

                                                    Not a clue. Maybe one of our regulars in Japan would have a source. Suama Mochi, as is mentioned, is like daifuku, made from rice flour (mochiko or the pre-cooked shiratama-ko) and not pounded out from steamed glutinous rice, as are the rectangles that are eaten in a savory way - grilled till they puff and form a crispy skin, then a shoyu dip and wrapped in nori. That's the mochi I grew up with as a kid (a New Year's treat) - and it's still my favorite way.

                                              2. re: applehome

                                                I know your post is very old, but I have been trying to get a copy of the Tiger manual and can't find it anywhere. I have also emailed Tiger. I have a Mochi Tiger Mochi machine and am trying to figure it out. If you are able to still email a copy of the manual I'd be very grateful. Thank you Jolie

                                                1. re: jmzgl

                                                  No problem - I have scanned it and it's a PDF. Just email me and I will email you a copy right away. My email is in my profile.

                            2. For 10 years I've been going to my Japanese-Hawaiian friend's home for his annual family mochitsuki. After what he's taught me-I don't think there are any "short cut electric" machines that are going to give you the "traditional" mochi results you're looking for. He's got a mochi grinder (must be 50+ years old-belonged to his parents) with a 1 1/2 horsepower electric motor and a gas steamer he he built that can steam 30 pounds of rice at a time. Looking at his machine I'm sure back in the old days those mochi machines were meat grinders. Rice is washed and soaked for at least 12 hours and steamed for almost one hour. In about 3 hours with everyone helping they can make mochi out of 120 pounds of rice. He's also got a 200 lb. granite usu that he brought all the way from Hilo and they'll pound a few batches by hand.

                              His son brings back this fantastic peanut butter mochi from Oahu and brings it to the Mochizuki. One day I was looking at the ingredients label and my mochi expert friend said that its made from mochi flour, so might be worth a try to experiment.

                              1. I live in the countryside in Japan now. I often help my in-laws make fresh mochi, using both the traditional hammer-stone bowl method and using a machine. I will explain a bit about the machine and you may be able to come up with something that will work.

                                the machine itself is powered by a motor that, from the looks of it, just shakes a round bowl very quickly. The bowl is shaped much like a standing mixer bowl. The shaking is somewhat of a circular motion. After the rice is cooked, it is placed into the bowl. It naturally sticks together and is turned over and over on its own. Water is added occasionally, depending on the consistency. Sometimes a rice scooper is used to push the rice that sticks to the side of the bowl back into the ball of mochi.

                                After its finished, it is divided into segments, depending on the desired size. the ball of mochi is placed atop a sheet of saran wrap, and then flattened out with a rolling pin. another sheet of saran wrap is placed on top and then the whole thing is rolled until any air pockets are removed. It is cooled at room temp and then put into the freezer for later.

                                Anyways, I was thinking that if I explain that the machine we use is basically just a round bowl (oh, it also has a lid) that is shaken vigorously, you may find some method to do this yourself, i.e. a standing mixer that shakes the bowl itself, without attachments.

                                btw, a good snack is made by slicing the mochi very thinly and then deep-frying it to make mochi chips.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: gaijinboy

                                  gaijinboy, you really made me laugh at the end--your name and your appreciation for deep fried mochi chips (something I never could have dreamed up in a million years) seemed to come together. Please don't be offended. Are deep fried mochi chips now common in Japan?

                                  1. re: gaijinboy

                                    yes, I'm wondering about the deep fried mochi chips also. Being that mochi can be moist, wouldn't that cause a splatter? are they dredged? So this must be done when they are just fresh and cooled? hmm.. made me think of something similar senbei..arare. Interesting.

                                  2. Hi,

                                    I just got back from Hawaii and Marukai Wholesale Mart on 2310 Kamehameha Hwy.,
                                    Honolulu, HI 96819, (808) 845-5051, told me that they usually get their small shipment of mochi-makers in around October or November every year. They run approx. $300.00 + and they usually give out 1 day passes since its a member warehouse.

                                    In response to the concern about the mochi hardening too fast, has anyone tried adding vegetable oil? When my mom makes the Neen Gow for Chinese New Year, she does use the mochi flour and states that the reason why her Neen Gow is really soft is because of the amount of vegetable oil she adds to it. How much - I don't know but I've seen recipes that add 3 tsp vegetable oil to 7 cups of mochi flour. I think my mom adds more than that. Understand that it doesn't stay soft for ever.

                                    1. mrsmegawatt
                                      I just looked at my Marukai ad and the Tiger mochi maker is advertised at $168.98 model #SMUA18U Made in Japan. I am still toying with the idea of buying it even though I know I have to push buttons! I love mochi.... I would think they have mail order.

                                      1. The Tiger link for Operating Instructions given in cone of the comments worked for me and I was able to view and print out the pdf for the Tiger Mochi Maker, here is the same link again:
                                        http://www.usa.tiger-corporation.com/...

                                        In the instructions, under Pounding it says as follows:
                                        1) Push the "POUND" switch button without the lid after removing the lid. The rice in the middle starts moving.
                                        2) Rice pounds about 10 minutews
                                        -Pounding too long makes Mochi too soft
                                        Helpful Hint - Mochi Hardness Adjustment
                                        -To make a somewhat hard Mochi Loosen steamed rice to let steam out, and then start pounding
                                        -To make rsomewhat soft Mochi When rice is pounded to about 70 - 80%, sprinkle water on the pounding Mochi.

                                        Looks like original poster may have "pounded" for too long in the bread machine? Good luck everyone, I will be trying a friends Tiger Mochi machine for the first time this week.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: yvette

                                          I have a Tiger which I haven't used for a while because I lost the instruction manual during a move. So these instructions were exciting to find. Thank you! Can someone tell me the rice and water amounts? I think there used to be a measuring cup, but that's gone too. What I used to do was use brown sweet rice, mixed with about 1/3 millet - and it was absolutely scrumptious steamed with vegetables, or with a splash of a good soy sauce, or spread with a little peanut butter. But to make it with brown rice and millet, I had to let the machine cool down after the cycle was finished (because it's meant to pound a lot less for the standard white rice), add a little extra water, and start it again to get it to keep pounding as much as the brown rice required. I'll need to experiment again to get it right, but right now I just need to get the standard measurements. Sure would appreciate any help. Thanks!

                                          1. re: yvette

                                            Whoops! I was so focused on the recipe that I forgot you'd posted the link to the instruction manual - I'll go look there. Thanks!

                                            1. re: yvette

                                              Did the download and it worked like a charm. Thanks again!

                                            2. I think the problem with the runny mochi is due to cooking the rice in a rice cooker rather than with just steam. As someone else mentioned, mochi machines like the Tiger place the hot water boiler beneath the bowl so that only steam touches the rice. Same thing with the steamers used to steam rice for traditional mochi making using an usu and kine (stone or wood bowl and mallet.) The boiling, rather than steaming occurring in the rice cooker is oversaturating the grains of rice.

                                              I suspect this based on past experience. When our family changed from wood fire to propane as the source of heat, and metal steamers instead of the traditional wooden boxes, we ran into a couple problems. The increased heat and more open structure of the bottom of the metal steamers caused the boiling water to splash onto the bottom of the rice (at least that's what we deduced since this couldn't actually be observed.) The batches of rice that were pounded ended up producing runny mochi that would sag a _lot_after being shaped.

                                              The old wooden steamers sat on a wooden lid over the old pot which had a single hole, which minimized splashing onto the rice. I guess the "grouchy Japanese old men" who ran the mochi making had it all figured out!

                                              To test our theory, we placed an empty metal steamer between the pot and the lowest steamer that was filled with rice (we have 3 steamers stacked over the pot.) Voila! No runny mochi.

                                              If anyone is thinking that it may be caused by the overnight soaking of the rice, I doubt that. Our family soaks/rinses for 3 nights instead of the 1 night that most people have mentioned and haven't run into the problem except as mentioned above.

                                              Another point of reference: Compare sekihan (azuki beans and mochi rice) made in a rice cooker to sekihan made in a steamer (one of the mochi rice steamers is used to cook the sekihan.) The rice cooker sekihan is wetter, even though both are fully cooked and made from the same ingredients.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: anykine

                                                i too am looking for a mochi machine in GB not a chance though! the thing is i want to make the soft daifuku. does anyone know if it can be made using glutinous rice cooked in a mochi machine or can it only be made using glutinous rice flour.

                                                1. re: mrsnapdragon

                                                  The soft daifuku is indeed made using glutinous rice flour, and not pounded rice (by hand or in a machine). There is the flour, mochiko, and there is the dried mix, shiratamako. They are not interchangeable, so you have to follow the recipes closely. If you do a google search on daifuku you'll find lots of recipes and youtube videos of people making some.

                                                  Here are some recipes:

                                                  http://japanesefood.about.com/od/japa...
                                                  http://japanesefood.about.com/od/japa...

                                              2. I didn't read the entire thread so my apologies if it's been mentioned. My mom makes her mochi from sweet rice flour and I believe she combines that with a little bit of chestnut or taro flour. It took her years to perfect the perfect recipe and although it's may not be the most authentic it's pretty darn good.

                                                1. I know this is an old thread, but having just made my first batch of mochi with ordinary household tools, I thought I'd provide an actual recipe (well, sort of) for anyone wanting to tackle it for New Years. Note - this is definitely the Japanese sort, not the firmer Korean rice cakes.

                                                  I used 2 cups of sticky rice (Sho-Chiku-Bai® Sweet Rice from Koda Farms), washed it for about 2 minutes, then covered it with cold water and soaked it for about 14 hours.
                                                  I then drained it and spread out the rice on a dish towel atop a tray, patting it dry until it was barely damp. [This actually made it TOO dry - I had to add water in the final stage, so would just drain it the next time.]
                                                  Steamer was an ordinary tall saucepan, with a mesh strainer that just fit it, and a lid that fit just inside the strainer so there was some but not too much steam leakage. I put the soaked, drained rice in the strainer, put about an inch of water in the saucepan, stacked the two parts, spread the rice up the sides of the strainer to try to even out the thickness all around, and put the lid on.
                                                  Steaming took about 20-25 minutes [less might have been needed - wasn't going to gamble on its being undercooked], and during that time, I took the lid off a couple of times and flipped the rice so that the part closest to the strainer was turned to the inside and vice versa. When it was done, all the rice was translucent, had no crunchy or powdery bits, and was just a bit chewy (not squishy like regular rice can get).
                                                  "Pounding" took about 25 minutes on the dough cycle in an old Breadman machine - I stopped the machine just short of its full 15 minute first kneading cycle because I was concerned that the motor was overheating. Everything was OK, so I restarted it from the beginning and ran it through until it stopped at the end of that first cycle. I'd say 2 cups raw rice is about optimal for a bread machine whose largest loaf is 1.5 lbs, and the prepared mochi is approximately half of a commercial sheet of mochi.
                                                  End product looked right, acted right when I tried to persuade it to flatten out (ie sticky and reluctant to settle!), had the right texture and stretch, and passed muster with my Japanese husband when we toasted some and ate it fresh. He's picky, having had it originally prepared back home in the traditional way by hand, then over here both made commercially and in a home mochi machine.

                                                  Have fun - it turned out to be much easier than I expected!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: hymncat

                                                    Only thing I'd add is that I heat the bread bin in my breadmaker up first before pounding the mochi rice in it. I do this by pouring in boiling water, leaving it to heat the container then drain the water and give it a quick dry. The piping hot cooked mochi rice is added and the kneading cycle selected. This lets the mochi rice stay hotter for longer which helps it get smoother and might help the bread machine from overheating as it's easier for the motor to paddle through hot rice.

                                                  2. I think you've confused your types of mochi. The pounded hand-made type is supposed to be rather sticky and chewy. I've never heard of toasting this type of mochi. The kind that is frozen - that you toast and that puffs up is not the same thing. It's another product altogether, made industrially. I think it's sort of like comparing pancakes to a baked cake - they are just not the same thing. I think the dry - round or square mochi sheets are likely made of rice flour, not pounded glutinous rice, but I'm not sure how to make them.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: lokidog

                                                      Not sure what you meant, since people have been toasting, and even pan frying, pounded mochi for years. By pounded, I mean with an usu and kine, or with a mochi machine/bread machine. If "puffs up" means blistering, the pounded mochi can definitely puff up, although that seems to depend the consistency (the softer it is, the more likely it is to blister.) If too much water was added during pounding, the mochi can even become runny when toasted/fried.
                                                      Have you tried toasting, or pan frying in butter, then either dipping it it in shoyu/sugar, or covering it with half and half kinako and sugar? I could eat that every day.

                                                      1. re: lokidog

                                                        I guess I sort of mis-stated a bit - the kind I think the original post was talking about and desired to make was kiri mochi - flat squares or rectangles usually bought in packets, sometimes frozen. Either this or she has never had freshly made mochi? She (I'm assuming from the name) talked about 'cooking' them - right after pounding and shaping them. That is not what you do with fresh mochi - at least by people I know who make it, especially at new years. After pounding it's done - no cooking necessary. They may cook it later after it's solidified for awhile - especially by putting it in soup the next morning. The round mochi 'balls' - may be toasted, but I've always eaten them like they are, fresh and soft, - usually filled with something. After researching this a bit - the kiri-mochi is an air-dried version of mochi. I think it could be made from properly made mochi (not too moist) just by letting it dry. What I was trying to say was that mochi is supposed to be sticky and soft when first made, especially by hand. It's the old mochi - dried a bit and no longer with that great texture that frying and broiling are used, and a sort of whole different texture is achieved (crispy outside - chewy inside). I've left mochi set in the fridge for awhile, and I think if I fried it - it would work (but not with the fillings). The kiri mochi I've seen in my health-food store is really dry - not at all sticky - and needs to be cooked in some way. Here's an alternative method that makes it without pounding. http://blog.wagashi-net.de/2012/02/ho...

                                                        1. re: lokidog

                                                          Sorry, my mistake too. It's literally been years since I read the original post. For kinako mochi, I actually like it where the outside is crispy from the frying, but the inside is gooey, which happens when you use fresher mochi. The kinako/sugar sticks better to the gooey mochi. My wife has fried the an filled mochi (pounded), and that tastes good too.

                                                          That's a neat method that you found, for making mochi w/mochigome w/o pounding.

                                                      2. steam the rice, do not cook the rice as you normally would, after soaking the MOCHI rice, then draining it for 30 minutes, you do not want the rice to touch water until the pounding process, at that time (in the bread-maker) add water, one tablespoon at a time until it is chewy, enjoy! I almost forgot, cornstarch! Plenty of cornstarch, on everything the mochi touches after leaving the bread machine, including your fingers! A wooden rolling pin, and a wooden cutting board with plenty of cornstarch works best! Eat the first misshapen one yourself, you know to make sure, it is what you remember.