Wednesday, October 7, 2009


     Miruku means milk, and pan means bread (it comes from the Portuguese, since Portuguese sailors apparently have the distinction of introducing bread to the Japanese, and thus beginning a wonderful relationship). Miruku-pan means milk bread, but does milk bread even exist as a name for a type of bread outside Japan? It's one of those things that is so common and so much a part of food culture here that it's hard to remember whether I had heard of it before.
     In general, milk bread is a soft, squishy, slightly sweet white bread or roll. The miruku-pan from the Mont-Thabor bakery, however, is a superior creation, the epitome of all milk breads:  so moist that it leaves hardly a crumb, so sweet and rich that spreading it with anything is completely unnecessary, and coiled into a cinnamon-roll shape, so that the golden crust glazed with still more milk and sugar has seductive ripples, hills, valleys, and gorgeous variation in color. Once you start to uncoil, it's hard to stop until you've eaten the whole thing.

     I often have the problem, when I go to a Japanese bakery, that I want to buy everything there. Then I spend way too much time deciding what to get, and usually end up buying too much to eat in one day anyway. The nice thing about Mont-Thabor is that even though they have a wide array of tempting baked goods, no other bakery has anything as nice as their miruku-pan. Since I can get good an-pan, fruit-filled tarts, and almond croissants elsewhere, I know that I'm going to get miruku-pan when I go there for a treat (I also buy my regular sliced bread there, as I wrote about earlier). Miracle of miracles, I can be in and out the door in under five minutes.
      The bakery knows, too, that miruku-pan is its biggest draw. It's the poster child on the sign in the window, it's the first thing you see when you walk in the door, and it's clearly the best-selling bread they make. There's a chalkboard on the wall behind the counter that tells what time fresh-from-the-oven bread will be available, and while most types come out once or maybe twice a day, miruku-pan is guaranteed to be yaki-tate (just-baked) just about every hour. A still-warm roll of soft, sweet, pull-apart-able bread - who could ask for anything more?

No comments:

Post a Comment