Chefs’ Voices | 05
Vice President, Head Baker
What are the challenges in making gluten-free breads in general?
Breads made with 100% rice flour, buckwheat flour, and other gluten-free flours have a rich and resilient texture. Since there isn’t gluten, though, it takes some research to determine a good way to give volume to the bread. If you add something like a gum to the recipe, it unfortunately tends to make the flavor a little bland. As we do more and more experiments day after day, I keep asking myself whether it’s better to aim to make the texture and flavor closer to those of bread made with ordinary wheat flour, or instead to try to perfect a unique taste and texture for gluten-free bread that helps it stand apart, establishing its own distinctive place in the bread world.
Please tell us the reason why you find Japanese rice flour appealing.
Since the rice flour is an agricultural product from my home country, I personally feel some special pride when I’m using it. But we actually tested using a lot of different kinds of rice flours, and when we found one that was really well suited for hard breads, that was a big part of our motivation to start making more breads with rice flour. We also succeeded in activating natural yeast from rice flour, and while it’s fermenting, out comes an aroma that’s quite similar to Japanese sake, which I find charming.
How easy/difficult is it to work with Japanese rice flour?
When you make bread dough from a water roux with Japanese rice flour, the dough develops a wonderful stickiness that helps it hold together and makes it very easy to work with.
What are the consumer reactions to your products (breads, cakes, baked goods) made with Japanese rice flour?
The reactions to the products in the French market have been fascinating. We’ve discovered that the
same kind of rich texture and crispness that Japanese customers enjoy is popular with French consumers
as well. They don’t seem bothered by a little bit of stickiness in the texture, and in fact, many of
them like that aspect of it.
We’ve been getting a lot of requests for these products from our customers, so we actually have plans to expand our sales of them to all of our shop locations as regular products.
Products made using Japanese rice flour
Le Pain Sans blé
Gluten-free loaf bread. It’s baked with natural yeast produced by the shop itself from Japanese rice flour.
This chocolate-flavored bread is great as a treat for children. It’s made mainly with Japanese rice flour, along with cacao, almond flour, and rice syrup. Yoshimi Ishikawa came up with the recipe herself. It’s baked with natural yeast produced by the shop itself from Japanese rice flour.
This bread filled with bits of dried berries is just-right for breakfast. It’s made mainly with Japanese rice flour, along with corn flour and dried fruit such as berries. Yoshimi Ishikawa came up with the recipe herself. It’s baked with natural yeast produced by the shop itself from Japanese rice flour.