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Koko Bakery Features French Bread and Japanese Pastries

By S. Mathur

Koko Bakery may have been founded only in 2016, but it is already pulling in rave reviews. The artisan bakery in Newton, MA is unusual both in prioritizing quality over profits, and in its menu, which features French/ German bread and Japanese items.

"In Boston you don't see many bakeries that sell both French and Japanese items," Nobuko Maruyama, owner and baker, said. "Also, we make everything fresh every day, and we put a lot of love into our products! We do small batch production, and we produce special items every week or two."

Maruyama learned her craft in the best settings: a popular chain bakery in Japan, the Japonais Bakery in Brookline and independent bakers in the Boston area. She has worked at the Boston Harbor Hotel, The Langham Hotel, and the MIT catering department. She loves bread, especially the French baguette. She developed her love for artisan baking and French bread in particular at Annarosa's in Salisbury, and rounded out her professional training at King Arthur in Vermont. French and German breads are deceptively simple, According to Maruyama.

"French/German bread are made by simple ingredients such as flour, salt and water," she said. "It looks easy but it is very difficult to make stable condition of bread every time. Every batch has to be carefully controlled, and I am always anxious before pulling the bread out of the oven!"

Maruyama's favorite menu items are the Azuki Milk pasty and the orange fruit danish. Customers look forward to a delicious and mouthwatering array of pastries and sandwiches every day. The pain chocolat and beef curry bun are intriguing and satisfying, as are the red bean buns and the creme brulee toast. Staples like chocolate or almond croissant, cream puff, country bread and deli rolls with ham or egg salad are equally delicious.

It helps that the staff are friendly and helpful, and the bakery logo is a cute laughing shiba inu dog. The dog is modeled on Maruyama's own pet Kuroko, and the bakery's name is a composite that borrows from both theirs. Another unique feature is that everything is made by hand, every day.

"Nowadays, most of big name bakeries use frozen dough or pre made things," Maruyama said. "I understand it's easy, costs less, and has more stable dough, but it lacks flavor. I don't like the idea of just focusing on profitable products like them."

Clearly the customers appreciate this philosophy. Most have already become regulars, and word of mouth is making the small bakery a neighborhood and Boston sensation.

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