⟨ Misc ⟩

Mom’s homemade bread

ca:san

Words / Jas Tse
Translation / Iris Heung

不花巧,只要健康的美味 —— 是我對於家、對媽媽的味道最直覺的印象。自小習慣了便覺得理所當然,是直到很後來,才漸漸明白那些簡單的料理背後帶著的心意。料理,不只是照料口胃,更有照料人的意思吧。我媽經常似是不刻意地,將她久經年月練就的獨門秘方、或從菜市場阿姨那裡聽來的料理小撇步,在我稱讚美味後便和盤托出。跟孩子分享這些秘訣,大概也是料理使人幸福的一部分。

已是兩個孩子的母親,來自日本名古屋的由加子這樣說:「生活跟麵包都喜歡簡單。」她與生於台灣宜蘭的丈夫Jordan在宜蘭開了手工麵包店「ca:san」,是日文「母親」的意思。她愛吃麵包,有了孩子後自然也想讓他們吃到新鮮美味的麵包,於是剛開始自己做麵包就是單純地想看到孩子的幸福笑容。為了天然的味道,由加子使用日本麵粉與天然酵母,時而搭配台灣在地食材,另外也自行製作酵母。「能自己做的,想盡量自己做。」由從前跑市集與提供宅配做起,當時的工作室就在家裡,2016年2月才真正有了ca:san店子,宜蘭從此便多了一個小小的地方提供溫暖人心的美味。

店子在週二至週五、雙數週週六營業,然而不開店的日子也不躲懶,週末是固定的家庭休日,畢竟遷居宜蘭是為了讓孩子在理想的環境成長,所以再忙也要預留時間與家人相處,這是讓ca:san麵包店能健康經營下去的養份。「週一送小孩到學校後,購買新鮮食材回來,有時候煮紅豆黑豆,有時候製作蜜漬水果皮,下午一個人開始準備明天的麵糰,因為我們的麵包需要低溫發酵15至20個小時,另一個人開始秤一週的麵粉以及副材料,傍晚開始準備明天的點心……」低溫發酵的過程不能急,因為是令麵包柔軟卻帶有彈性的要訣。營業的日子則打從凌晨三、四點就開始忙碌,「使用天然酵母很費工,但烤出來的麵包是無法跟短時間完成的比,我們都被天然酵母的魅力吸引住了,願意再早起也要繼續烤這麵包。」

難怪只有夫婦二人的生產線卻有強大的產品目錄,每個營業日均提供十多種麵包與蛋糕種類選擇,當天賣完便關門。「很多麵包店都是開門的時候,櫃子上沒有很多種麵包,如果我是來買麵包的人,希望眼前有很多麵包可以挑選,所以我的店也要這樣。」

做麵包與養小孩似乎都是練習,偶爾會發出「練習還不夠啊……」的感嘆。好像都在摸索那個剛好的力度,如很多ca:san食客所說的:「柔軟卻有嚼勁、每次再吃都會覺得仍是那個令人想念的口感。」

Unpretentiously rustic, simply a taste of healthiness — this is my best way to describe the taste of my mom’s home cooked meals. I was once a kid who took the effort my mom made for granted; it was only until much later did I come to realize the love behind every simple dish she made. Beyond feeding tummies, cooking actually has an underlying urge to care for others. Whenever I praise her cooking skills, my mom would generously, yet casually, share her ages-old secret recipes, as well as the little cooking tips that she has collected from the street markets. Passing down recipes to the children is perhaps one of the many joyful moments for people who enjoy cooking.

A mother of two, Yukako from Nagoya says, “Life is like bread; the simpler, the better.” Yukako is married to Jordan, a native born of the Yilan County. The two moved to Jordan’s birthplace and opened an artisan bakery called ca:san, which means “mom” in Japanese. As a bread lover, Yukako naturally wants her children to be able to enjoy fresh and delicious bread every day. The wish to see her children’s happy smile prompted her to start making bread herself. To acquire the natural taste, Yukako makes use of Japanese flour and yeast to combine with the local Taiwanese produce. She even goes an extra mile to make her own yeast. “I would like to make things myself whenever possible.” At the beginning, her home was used as a mini-workshop to produce bread for food markets and home delivery services. It was until February 2016 when she opened the actual shop, ca:san bakery finally begins to provide a physical space for the people in Yilan to enjoy the baking goods.

The bakery opens from Tuesday to Friday, as well as on alternate Saturdays. Yukako is however never less busy during the non-working days — the family moved to Yilan for its ideal environment for raising children, weekends are surely reserved for family days regardless how busy work is. This is also what keeps driving ca:san bakery to maintain a healthy business. “After sending the kids to school on Monday morning, we’d go and source fresh produce to make red and black beans, or candied fruit peels. As our bread dough needs 15-20 hours to rise at low temperature, I’d spend the afternoon alone preparing dough for the next day, while Jordan weighing out the flour and ingredients for the coming week. Around evening time, we’d start preparing the bread for the next day…”

The process of fermentation at low temperature takes time and patience, which is the only key to make the bread soft yet elastic. Their busy working days usually start at around 3 to 4 in the morning. “Using natural yeast requires very a demanding process, but the end products are far better than those using a short period of time to ferment. We are just fascinated by the charisma of natural yeast, and we’d rather take the extra effort of waking up early to keep up this method.”

The production line that only consists of the couple has a rather big product catalog, providing more than a dozen types of bread and cake on any working day. The bakery closes once all goods are sold. “Many bakeries offer only a small selection. If I’m looking for bread to buy, I wish there’s a good variety on the shelf to pick from. I want my bakery to be exactly like that.”

Both making bread and raising kids are all about practices, sometimes you’d mumble to yourself, “I still need to work more on this.” This is a journey of finding the right intensity, just like how customers of ca:san describe their bread as “tender but chewy, every bite makes you feel it is exactly the taste you’ve been longing for.”