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Wonderfully moist & fluffy. Breads by [Ohcho Shokupan Shikinaen] (Naha) is prepared with carefully select ingredients and house-made, sweet malted rice koji.
post : 2021.05.26 06:00
Have you ever tried any of the popular “high quality” breads that have become increasingly popular?
Some people might not have tried any, thinking, “What? ¥1,000 for a loaf of bread…?” But these high-quality breads are prepared with extra care in the selection of ingredients and how they are made, and with the first bite, you can really tell the difference. I hope all bread-lovers and casual bread lovers will try it sometime.
The Ohcho Shokupan (meaning “dynasty bread”) Shikinaen opened on March 28, 2021, right next to the admission booth at Shikinaen, a royal garden that is registered as a World Heritage Site along with several other historical sites in Okinawa. This high-quality bread specialty shop is jointly operated by Imai Pain, a bakery located in Maaji, Naha City, and the Maaji neighborhood association.
Yosuke Imai, the owner of Imai Pain, and Hisashi Kaneko were involved in the development of this special Ohcho bread. They finally perfected their recipe after numerous trials and errors.
“Okinawa’s tourism industry is hit hard due to COVID-19, but because we’re going through hard times, we wanted to do something for the community. The Shikinaen Gardens is a popular spot for tourists, but during these times, we hope that this can encourage the locals to come by,” says Imai-san.
Available at the shop are two types of bread, the Kokuo-no Shokupan (“king’s bread” available for ¥900/loaf and ¥450/half a loaf), which has a rounded top inspired by the shape of a king’s crown, and the Ouhi-no Budopan (“queen’s raisin bread” ¥864/loaf).
Normally, the amount of sugar used for high-quality breads are double the amount used for regular bread, but for the Ohchopan, Kaneko san says, “We wanted to make a kind of bread that wouldn’t burden the body even if you eat it every day, and also to make them with local Okinawan ingredients. So, instead of sugar, we make our own sweet rice malt from the rice malt we get from Nakasone Kojiya, and mix that into the dough.”
Kaneko-san continued, “By adding malt, the dough gets a slightly brown coloring and can burn quite easily. To bake the breads nice and white, we bake them at very low temperatures over a long time, which is almost unheard of in regular breadmaking.”
On the day you buy the bread, enjoy it without toasting to enjoy all its flavors and texture. The king’s bread is moist, fluffy, and delightfully chewy. The malt brings out the gentle sweetness and aroma of the flour.
If you can’t finish the whole loaf on the first day, cut up into slices and wrap each one in plastic wrap before storing in the fridge. The king’s bread really goes well with honey, so cut your slices thick, toast, melt some butter, and drizzle some honey on top for a little taste of heaven.
The queen’s raisin bread, shown above, is made with two types of raisins that have little acidity and sweetened with brown sugar made on Tarama Island. When you lift this luxurious bread, you’ll feel the weight of the raisins, about 200 grams per loaf, that are generously spread throughout the whole loaf. The more you chew, the rich flavor of the raisins and the warm sweetness of the brown sugar will delight your palate. The dough is moist with a perfect bounce and texture. The queen’s raisin bread isn’t just great for breakfast, but you’ll also love it as a tasty snack.
Ohcho Shokupan Shikinaen opened with a splash, with customers forming queues from the very first day to get their hands on their wonderful breads. The shop has continued to gain popularity so much so that they often sell out. In the near future, they’re planning on introducing seasonal breads, too. You can reserve their bread by phone, but if you’re swinging by, I recommend that you get there early in the day to pick up their fantastic breads.
Ohcho Shokupan Shikinaen
Address: 421-7 Maaji, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 10:00 to 17:30 (April-September), 10:00-17:00 (October-March)
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi