When you imagine a loaf of bread, what shape do you imagine? Most people probably think of a square-shaped bread loaf, but that is not the case for the bread loaves from Tsuruyapan (つるやパン).
Tsuruyapan is a famous bakery located in Nagahama City in Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県長浜市). They are famous for their “salad rolls”, which are coppe-pan rolls with chopped pickled horseradish and mayonnaise sandwiched in between. The salad rolls and the other bread from Tsuruyapan have been loved by the people of the Omi (近江) region as their soul food for over 60 years.
While the salad rolls are the items from Tsuruyapan that are the most known to the people around Japan, the people of the Omi region also love Tsuruyapan for their specialty sandwiches. These sandwiches are made from round bread slices that have slices of fish and ham sandwiched between them. These round slices of bread eventually became the origin for the round bread loaves that are now a new staple item at Tsuruyapan.
Tsuruyapan opened their second location in 2016, and upon opening their second store, the owner wanted to provide more of the kind of bread that the people from the area liked the most. After asking for opinions from their usual customers, they decided to sell their round bread loaves that they use for their sandwiches. They created their round loaves using the same bread casing that they use in the sandwiches but changed the ingredient balance to create a more moist and fluffy texture.
Because the dough includes a high percentage of moisture, apparently they are extremely hard to deal with and can only be made by hand. By using the cylindrical cases to create the bread, the crust of the bread becomes thinner and the inside gets evenly baked, creating a fluffy texture. Other than the plain flavor, there are flavors available such as green bean, bacon, cheese, and azuki bean.
If you are looking for more than just the bread loaf itself, there are also dessert and meal bread dishes available within the bakery. Tsuruyapan opens at 7:00am and at the time of their opening, they have “morning bakes” available, which are slices of bread topped with a hearty amount of ingredients and baked in the oven along with various sauces and creams.
The shop will reheat whatever “morning bake” you purchase so you can enjoy a hot meal either on the go or in-store. The “asamaru set”, (朝まるセット) which is available from 250 yen, comes with a bake and a drink such as a latte or soup. This is extremely cost efficient so if you need to grab some food in the morning, the morning sets at Tsuruyapan are delicious and affordable choice.
The lunch sandwiches available from 11:00am are made to order so you can enjoy freshly toasted bread along with a wide range of toppings. There are approximately 12 menu items available and you can customize your sandwich by adding extra toppings such as margarine or sweet soy sauce.
One of their most popular menu items is the grilled mackerel sandwich. The mackerel is grilled with salt and topped with shiso (perilla) leaves, pickled ginger, and a homemade tartar sauce.
Apart from the sandwiches, there are also rusks for sale. There are always various flavors such as cinnamon, garlic, and matcha green tea. These are perfect as little snacks or gifts for friends and family.
The new round bread loaves from Tsuruyapan are becoming more and more popular, so be sure to check this new trend! If you are too far from Shiga Prefecture to visit the store, there is also an online store (Japanese only) where you can pick up some of the staple items from Tsuruyapan, so be sure to check that out as well!