Hello from Japan!
I live in Japan, and although I loved baking bread regularly before moving here, I realize that Japan (at least Osaka, where I live) is a very different place to bake from what I am used to. I used to live in Southern California, where I had no trouble with cinnamon rolls, buns, big fluffy challah, you name it! Now that I live here (and I've been struggling with baking here now for 3 years and counting!), I find that recipes need to either be seriously altered for them to work, or I have to buy Japanese baking books. I have a few baking books that are made for use with domestic ingredients, but I'm still learning Japanese, so my kanji reading skills are not yet 100%, and it becomes really tedious to make sure I understand a recipe completely - which takes all the fun out of it.
I'm looking forward to meeting all of you, and am wondering - are there any veteran bakers who live in Japan that have success with bread, and might be able to send a few tips my way when I get stuck?
P.S. I have the same trouble with cakes and cookies. They don't rise - they tend to just sit there, goopy in the middle, and dense like a rock all around...It's incredibly discouraging, but I just found a baking supply store nearby, so I'm really excited to try again - which is why I came here! :)
This forum looks extremely active! I'm really ready to get in there and chit chat with you all about baking our favorite bread!