I first went to Japan in my early twenties. Both naivety and pretension led me to think that Japan had managed to get bakeries wrong. Too soft, too sweet, too fluffy – not serious bread like a rustic Italian loaf or an artisanal French baguette. Who bakes frankfurters into into buns themselves?
Um, a genius.
A little older and wiser, I returned and was delighted too see a Japanese bakery again. This time Kate found a bun with a hash-brown baked onto it, Japan’s bakers are working hard to fulfill the carb-on-carb ethos. An excellent treat for a morning Shinkansen ride.
I now find myself missing Japanese bakeries. There’s one bakery in Wellington that does Chinese-style baked goods, but I still felt like tackling this one myself. It was unlikely I’d find the hash brown bun anywhere in New Zealand, and I could also have free reign on toppings & fillings (such as vegetarian sausages). I used the New York Times Japanese Milk Bread recipe, wrapped some sausages, placed some hash browns, and adjusted the leavening and baking times to suit small buns. It worked a treat. I won’t suggest they’re as good as the ones in Japan, but they’re definitely reminiscent. And I’ve now spent the whole day eating Japanese-style baked goods without having to leave my house.