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It’s time for another trip to the northwest suburbs — I’ve run out of shokupan. Even with all the hearty artisanal breads available in the city, I often crave this incredibly soft, fluffy white Japanese bread that probably has absolutely no nutritional value. But who wants to eat loaves of handcrafted organic 37-grain health bombs all the time?

Shokupan (roughly translated as “eating bread”) is light, chewy, and satisfying. It’s even fun to look at — the golden brown loaves take the shape of the rectangular boxes they’re baked in so the slices turn out almost perfectly square.

The bread is commonly sliced thick like Texas toast, but I prefer mine sliced thinner like conventional loaves of bread. It’s perfect for grilled cheese; the shokupan browns beautifully and evenly, with nice crispy edges. I also enjoy it toasted for peanut butter and honey sandwiches (and regular PB&J) or soft for my current favorite — sliced hard-cooked egg, watercress, and mayo. And the thick-sliced version is great for french toast.

It’s available at the fobbily named Pastry House Hippo at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights. If someone knows of a place that sells shokupan in the Chicago, please let me know!


  1. Cat wrote:

    I love the fact that it’s called “eating bread.” :)

    Contrast that with my friend’s term for bread with too many fancy and chunky ingredients: “potpourri bread.” It conjures up just the right mental image of bread filled with inedible tree bark and such. ;)

    Friday, October 12, 2007 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  2. Cat wrote:

    Also: that hippo is ADORABLE.

    Friday, October 12, 2007 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

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