Hello, there. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I've been writing my blog mainly for my family and friends in Japan. And it was all written in Japanese. But then, after I was interviewed by Martha Kang, a KPLU Public Radio Online Journalist about my wild yeast project in December 2014 for making bread, I got lots of response from people I never met. I was really happy to see all the positive feedback I received. At the same time, I realized that making bread with yeast water is not common in the US, and there is not much information in English. So, I decided to create my website, as well as this blog to share what I know whenever I can.
I've been making bread with natural leavening or yeast water from fruits, plants, or sometimes edible flower. Ideally, if it is available, I forage them or pick them from garden. But most of the time, I get them from local organic stores or farmers' markets. While I was working in Southern California, I was making pastry, focusing on dessert, such as cookies, mousse, or cake, and not so much on bread. It was because there were already bakers working in the department, or I was the only pastry chef with no assistant for a private club with approximately 1,000 members, so the company was buying parbaked bread from local bakeries. Although I loved my life in Southern California, I felt it was time to move back to Seattle. To me Seattle is a second home town after I lived here many years ago while studying abroad.
Not too long after moving up to Seattle from Los Angeles, I got a job at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, WA. When I was there, I worked with lots of talented chefs who forage what is available in season. Every other morning, they come to work with baskets of nettles, wild edible flower, wild fruits, and seaweed. In addition, local fishermen bring fresh caught wild salmon or the inn's farmers bring freshly picked vegetables they harvest. It was very inspiring. Its fridge was filled with produce from its own garden and dairy products from local farms or some local suppliers. There were no tropical fruits from other continent or produce from different country. At that time, I was in charge of making breakfast for the guests, the staff meal (breakfast), or taking care of food for its downstairs cafe, but I could get to see how they work. That experience definitely made me change the way I eat, and the way I serve: local, sustainable, and seasonal. Moreover, it encourages me to go out there and find what is available.
Although I've made bread with raisin water and apple yeast water in California, and have been happy with the results, I was wondering which technique works the best for me, since I have seen slightly different methods by different bakers. As I was searching for an ideal method for culturing wild yeast, a beautiful photograph of yeast water caught my attention. It was a vivid red color and a purple color of jar of yeast water. Taro Hashiguchi, owner of bakery, Taro-ya, makes bread from yeasts that are available in season. His father grows flowers, fruits, and herbs in his garden for Taro's bakery yeast. I sent an email to Taro Hashiguchi to become his apprentice. A couple of days later, he replied back to me with a positive response. Since then, I have been making bread with wild yeast from fruits, flowers, and herbs. It tastes wonderful with less acidity than sourdough (some sourdough bread are not sour) and more flavor than mono-culture/dry yeast. This is my way of celebrating seasons.