Tokyo dentist bakes bread you can really sink your teeth into

Tokyo dentist bakes bread you can really sink your teeth

A local dentist opened a bakery in Tokyo’s busy Asakusa district in pursuit of his childhood dream and now is on a quest to make the softest, fluffiest, filling-friendly bread possible.

“We are striving to offer bread that can be eaten and enjoyed by everyone safely,” said Shintaro Inoue, the owner of the Tokyo Asakusa Roman bakery.

He opened the shop in March near the bustling Nakamise-Dori shopping street. The word “roman” in the name means “romantic.”

Inoue, 48, operates dental clinics in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward and elsewhere, and that is why he puts so much priority on the mouthfeel of his baked goods.

He believes that regardless of a person’s age, his bread should be soft enough for them to enjoy eating–and it should keep them out of his chair.

“When you are advanced in age or have false teeth, you have a harder time biting and swallowing, which can make it difficult for you to enjoy eating,” he said.

He is currently enlisting the help of a nearby elderly care facility to study the flavors and bread sizes that older people like, and hopes to draw on his findings to improve his delicious, easy-to-chew bread.

Some two dozen varieties of bread were laid out for sale in showcases at the bakery, including loaves, crescent rolls, and apple pies. But the star of the show is the soft bread, which has a springy and fluffy texture and is priced at 480 yen ($3.75) per loaf, including tax.

All bread varieties available at the bakery use additive-free ingredients, including dough made from domestically produced wheat, according to the bakery’s staff.

“I feel very happy when I see many different bread varieties,” Inoue said.

The tricky part in all this is that the dough needs to be handled properly if the bread is to be baked into a soft finish because the additive-free dough is delicate.

He said his employees take great care to ensure the dough is handled “gently and carefully” when kneading and molding it.

Born to a physician father, Inoue became a dentist because health care was a familiar profession, but he has dreamed since he was a young child of one day becoming a baker.

Since he is now well established as a practicing dentist, he thought it was finally time to create a space that would make both himself and others happy.

Inoue began preparing to open the business about three years ago and took a course on how to set up his own bakery. He learned last fall about a vacant spot, so he jumped at the chance to set up shop there because the location is so convenient.

Inoue now divides his time between the bakery and his health care work, so he is not making most of the bread on his own. The daily work is largely dealt with by expert staff. But he frequently checks up on them in person to ensure the texture of the bread is just right, which means more to him in this venture than anything else.

He said he believes that the key to a person’s quality of life is being able to enjoy eating.

“You have a greater joy of life when you eat tasty things,” Inoue said. “I hope what I am doing will help you live a more fulfilling life, regardless of your age and the condition of your teeth.”

Tokyo Asakusa Roman is open from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m.