Place of origin
Brem is the traditional fermented food or fermented beverage from Indonesia. There are two types of brem, brem cake (solid) that is usually eaten as snack from Madiun and Wonogiri, and brem beverage (liquid) made of rice wine from Bali and Nusa Tenggara, but mostly known from Bali. The time of the appearance of brem in Java is estimated about 1000 A.D., based on investigations in the old Javanese inscriptions and literature.
Brem beverage consumed and holds important use in temple ceremonies of Hinduism called Tetabuhan, an offering beverage for Buto Kala (lit. Kala the Giant) in order to evoke harmony. Brem can be either white or red depending on the proportions of white and black glutinous rice used in production. Brem liquid is very sweet to semi-sweet, yet acidic and contains alcohol with varying degree, usually from 5% to 14%.
Brem cake is produced in two small villages, Wonogiri and Madium. This kind of brem is believed by Indonesian consumer to be important for stimulating the blood system. It is also reported to prevent dermatitis, probably due to the presence of significant amounts of B vitamins produced by the microorganisms. This product is consumed as a snack and not daily available in the family.
Production of Brem
Liquid brem is made from fermented mash of black/ white glutinous rice (known as Ketan) using a dry-starter called Ragi tape. Glutinous rice is soaked and drained, steamed for 1 hour, and then cooled down. The cooled rice is then inoculated with Ragi tape and amylolysis begins. A honey-like rice syrup settles in the bottom of the malting vessel. Following 3 days of conversion from rice starch to sugar, a yeast culture is added and alcoholic fermentation begins. Alcoholic fermentation typically goes on for two weeks.
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