If you're not familiar with 'Shokupan', it's time to get well-acquainted. Because it's a life-changing loaf of bread.
Shokupan is the soft, fluffy white bread you've seen floating around Instagram and in your dreams late at night. The bread is commonly found in Japan, where either the 'yudane' or 'tangzhong' methods are used to make the bread.
In Melbourne, it's being done a little differently.
Most Melburnians have hunkered down and kept quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Quentin Berthonneau—the man behind Prahran Market's Q le Baker—has used the time to work on a sourdough Shokupan, the first of its kind on the market in Melbourne.
"Two years ago I tried a shokupan loaf from Satoshi who owns Little Cardigan and supplies St Dreux, I was blown away by the softness of the loaf, it was just too good to be true. I thought to myself, if only I could do the same but without the yeast and through a long natural fermentation." said Quentin.
"The shelf-life on the sourdough version is so much longer due to the natural bacteria. The very long fermentation at room temperature (2 days from start to finish) gives the crumb it’s crazy lacey texture and the Japanese method “TangZhong” which involves cooking flour and water together into a slurry gives the bread it’s fluffiness and softness."
Quentin's Shokupan is available exclusively to customers (join the wait list here), but he plans to teach business owners and chefs how to make their own in future.
"It’s actually not that hard and doesn’t require too much equipment or hands-on. It’s just a long process and I’ve developed a way to do it quite easily."
Check out the video below for the full process on Quentin's Shokupan.
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Image & video credit: David McKinnar