Starting off a day with the smell of freshly baked bread is never dull. Bartizan Bread Factory opened in Minami-Aoyama in March, a stone’s throw away from the Japanese Red Cross Medical Center. It is the first bakery project for Global Dining, founder of eateries such as Gonpachi, Cafe La Boheme, and Monsoon Cafe. Kana Omiya has been appointed as Corporate Head Baker and she is already making new friends since the kickoff, even under the pandemic.
The bakery scene is huge in Japan and a new generation of bakers are changing many people’s perspective on bread. Unlike bakeries that typically create processed bread using a decent amount of sugar, fat and oil, Bartizan, coined from thew words Bar and Artizan, offers healthier alternatives using nothing but flour, water and salt. Flour and yeast are domestically sourced, for example, from Hokkaido and Nagano, depending on the type of bread.
The store's signature bread, Bartizan Sourdough, is light on sourness, and surprisingly has a hint of sweetness without any additives. Sourdoughs are admired for being holey inside, but Omiya makes sure the holes are not too big, so that you can eat an open sandwich by hand without the toppings falling out. Recommended home toppings include apple with camembert, and bacon, cheese with mushrooms. But you should first try a couple of slices of bread at the bakery, which comes with free olive oil and fermented butter.
It’s not difficult to recognize that Omiya’s lifetime passion is to make tasty bread. The bread factory behind the counter is almost like a science laboratory where Omiya even fosters homemade yeast.
“If you listen carefully to the yeast and flour, they tell you how much water or salt is needed that particular day in that precise climate,” she says, describing her “conversation” with her ingredients. “I find it rewarding because of the difficulty and the techniques necessary to bake breads.”
Omiya earnestly explains how various combinations of flour, water and salt can make the right amount of stickiness, sourness and sweetness. “I disagree with the concept of rice flour breads. If you know the right amount of each ingredient, you can make the bread sticky, if you are fond of sticky texture.”
Grain is another best seller which normally sells out during the morning hours. It’s filled with vitamin E, not just topped but dense with sunflower seeds and grains. It uses rye flour which is cordial on the glycemic index and low calorie for those staying away from carbs.
When I asked her what flour means to her, Omiya took a moment to think and answered with a smile, “Flour is my best friend. I’m extremely excited to meet new friends too. Some are very unique, and some are sophisticated. Each kind of flour from various parts of the world has a different character.”
I tried their Tuna & Cheese sandwich (¥380) to go which was flawless. The bread used for sandwiches is sourdough ciabatta, grilled on the panini press, splendidly crispy on the outside. Coffees (¥200/cup) are Global Dining house blends which are self served contributing to less expensive pricing.
An affiliated restaurant, Bartizan Bread & Pasta, is located in Hamamatsucho serving a variety of spaghetti and wine that “plays” like a symphony with bakery items. You can also try Bartizan’s breads at 12 Cafe La Boheme restaurants in and around Tokyo, on the side of a new cold pasta lineup for this summer.
Bartizan Bread Factory
Open hours 8:00 to 15:00 (until breads sell out)
7-11-4 Minami-Aoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo
Website: https://bartizan-factory.jp© Japan Today