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Tokiwaya in Kitanakagusuku Village Natural yeast bread baked in a homemade brick oven
post : 2017.04.19 15:00
A friend told me, “I think I found your kind of bakery.” I rushed off to find his new found bakery, Tokiwaya, hidden away in Kitanakagusuku Village.
Kenjiro Tokiwa studied biology at college in Okinawa. “I was going to be an aquarium keeper,” he said. Now, he starts baking at 4 a.m. every morning.
What inspired him to become a baker was an encounter at Munakatadou Bakery when he was 18 years old. He had his “wow” moment with his first bite of their bread. He had always liked bread and decided then and there to get a job at the very popular bakery. He opened his own bakery, Tokiwaya on November 11, 2016 after five years of training at Munakatadou.
The shop is a bit hard to find. You may want to use your GPS. Kenjiro picked this location because he didn’t want to disturb his neighbors with smoke from the oven.
I was surprised to learn that Kenjiro himself made the 1.8-meter wide by 1-meter high brick oven. He had made this type of oven twice before, having learned by doing. He told me that he also learned many things from Mr. Munakata of Munakatadou, including the proper bread-making attitude
Kenjiro uses wood for fuel to heat the oven. It usually takes two hours, depending on the humidity and the temperature. I felt so relaxed listening to the crackling of the wood and watching the fire. It was very soothing.
Once the temperature in the oven reaches 400 to 500 degrees centigrade, the burning wood is removed and it is ready to bake bread.
Bread dough is fermented overnight at a temperature of 25 degrees centigrade. According to Kenjiro, the best flavor from wheat is brought out when you ferment the dough at a low temperature for a long time. He shapes the dough just before finally placing the loaves in the oven.
The oven conveys the heat from inside to outside of the dough with radiant heat. Compared to electric or gas ovens, bread baked in brick ovens comes out crunchy on the outside and moist inside from higher heat at shorter baking times.
Kenjiro’s wife Momoko puts out the bread right before the 11 a.m. opening time.
About 20 items, including baguettes, pastries, cinnamon rolls and plain white breads are available daily. The selections depend on Kenjiro’s mood.
Natural yeast from vegetables is used. The yeast enhances the natural sweetness of wheat and adds life energy to the bread.
Momoko is in charge of making tarts. The tart of the day was canistel with nuts. The fruit contains the sweetness of baked sweet potato and the texture of boiled egg yolk.
With all of the open tables, I decided to have lunch.
“Steamed chicken in organic tea leaves”
“Peanut banana” – handmade peanut butter and local banana sandwiches
“Tuna sandwiches” – homemade tuna paste
All look great so it might take a while to pick one.
In the end, I let Kenjiro pick one for me. He made me a Potato Salad Sandwich for me. The fluffy mashed potatoes and handmade mayonnaise went really well with the chewy bread. I noticed the aroma of cardamom coming from the bread.
The flavor of the bread is very memorable and Kenjiro’s passion toward bread is palpable. Tokiwaya can be your perfect bakery. Would you like to try some tasty bread?
Address: 531 Zukeran, Kitanakagusuku Village, Okinawa
Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Sachiko