Soft white sandwich bread gets a bad rap. Health nuts extol the virtues of breads packed with grains and seeds. Food snobs prefer crusty artisan loaves and consider white bread an affront to their delicate sensibilities. Well, I say white bread absolutely has its place in everyones kitchen. Sandwiches such as egg salad, BLT, grilled cheese and PB&J simply arent the same without white bread's soft, formfitting goodness.
Now I'm not talking about any old white bread here. I've tried almost every grocery store brand and none approaches Japanese shokupan, also known as milk toast or milk bread. It only takes one aromatic whiff to let you know how radically different it is from its spongy Wonder Bread cousin. Shokupan is an intricate series of airy and buttery layers. The golden crust is just thick enough to provide some structure without having to run interference if you're eating it untoasted. When it is toasted, the bread resembles a crème brulee with its shattering crust and creamy insides. It's a beauty to behold.
Many local Japanese and Korean bakeries make some version of shokupan. Although each bakery has its own twist on the shape, height and size, the insides are always intoxicatingly similar.
Check out the list below to find a shokupan bakery near you.
BAKERY CAFE MAUM: 7130 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-263-7447; and other locations. www.bakerycafemaum.com.
JOLI KOBE BAKERY & BISTRO: 5600 Roswell Road. 404-843-3257; 1545 Peachtree St., Suite 115. 404-870-0640. www.jolikobe.com.
MOZART CAFE AND BAKERY: 5301 Buford Highway. 770-936-8726, and other locations.
TOMATO JAPANESE GROCERY: 2086 Cobb Parkway, Smyrna. 770-933-0108; 7124 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Norcross. 770-263-7838.
WHITE WINDMILL BAKERY AND CAFÉ: 2550 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. 678-584-0000; and other locations.
(Photo by Jennifer Zyman)
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