Have you ever dreamt of eating chewy, chocolaty, homemade cookies? Just the thought of it makes our mouths water. As news questioning the food safety outside of home is increasing food awareness, home baking is catching on in Korea. Do It Yourself (DIY) packages for home baking are springing up here and there along with the increased sales. Let us fall into the delicious and healthy world of home baking with The Granite Tower (GT)!
In English, baking is just baking; but in Korean, it can be divided into two parts, bread (called jebbang in Korean) and confectionery (jegwa). Many Koreans confuse the two terms, not knowing the difference between them. Interestingly, one of the hugest dilemmas for people in the field of baking is to choose one over the other. They make both items, but since the two are different, must have a preference.
Bread making normally uses strong flour, producing the bread normally eaten for breakfast or with meals. Loaves of bread, baguettes, and focaccia are all examples of this category of bread. Confectionery, on the other hand, is usually perceived as desserts rather than breads. It is made with finer flour, which gives a crispy texture to the products. Cookies, tarts, and pies are some examples of confectioneries.
The most famous place to buy baking related items is Bangsan Market in Jongno, a traditional Korean market. In the past, they used to sell baking products only in bulk, but as the population of home bakers increased, shops targeting beginners opened up, and now there are many such retail shops. Moreover, the good news is that supermarkets have started selling basic ingredients and utensils for baking. Shops that specialize in selling baking utensils are also increasing in number, so it is relatively easy to start home baking.
Although the increasing popularity of home baking in Korea is fairly recent, the concept of baking itself is not new to history. As the style of food in each country can differ significantly, the style of bread also differs according to country. For those seeking to become more expert bakers, culinary institutes in France and Japan are favored destinations.
As bread is the staple food in France, bread takes a prominent place in its cuisine. Baking in France developed around healthy, nutritious breads. French people do not normally add any fancy ingredients, working with only the basics. They think it is important to make bread naturally, such as leaving breads to undergo fermentation. For instance, a baguette, probably the most well known French bread, is made with just flour and water.
Baking in Italy is similar to baking in France. Italians also do not use a lot of ingredients. Some famous Italian breads are ciabatta and focaccia. They are both very light and taste slightly roasted, so both breads are usually used to make sandwiches. Japanese baking is, in general, far more detailed than that of the Europe.
Japanese bakers focus on the appearance of the bread, usually focusing on desserts. Their style is to make the exterior as sweet looking and attractive as possible. Since Japan neighbors Korea, many Koreans go to Japan to study baking.
▲ Photographed by Choi Jiyoung
As you can see from the listed ingredients, sablé is just a mixture of flour, butter, and sugar. Sablé, which is French for cookie, is a very basic cookie, easy to make and can be changed to suit the baker. It is possible to put almonds, walnuts, and other nuts, or give it some color with something like green tea powder.