Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bakery Review: Jin's Bakery

Jin's Bakery - visited July 19, 2013

I tried another local bakery a week or so ago.  In the yelp reviews for Paris Baguette, Jin's Bakery came up in comparison so I decided to do my own research.  For bakeries, it's best to go in the morning when the offerings are more likely to be freshly stocked as opposed to late in the day when you not only have to make do with whatever's left but it's been a longer time since it was taken out of the oven.  Considering I view a chocolate chip cookie more than 10 minutes out of the oven as starting to go stale, you can imagine how picky I am about freshness.
Jin's Bakery was smaller than I expected based on how the outside looked.  The shot above is about 2/3 of the store (not counting the kitchen area) with the remaining 1/3 being a display case with refrigerated baked goods.  But it was bright and clean and that's pretty much what you want from any bakery.
There weren't a lot of labels on the trays of baked goods so I didn't always know what I was choosing from.  Some of the things that were labeled were custard buns and sweet breads filled with red bean or sesame or taro, none of which I eat so I passed.  I ended up selecting what looked like cinnamon sugar doughnut twists, a mocha chiffon roll and a castella.  The castella was so I could have something to compare to Paris Baguette.
What I thought were cinnamon sugar twists weren't quite it.  The coating was not cinnamon sugar.  In fact, it wasn't really sweet at all.  It was almost like a cheese powder in texture but without really being cheesy in flavor.  The twist itself, at first taste, reminded me of Pillsbury biscuit dough that had been fried instead of baked - it had that kind of flavor and texture although the outside coating wasn't crisp.  It wasn't bad but it was no Stan's doughnut.  I think it took awhile to wrap my head around it because my eyes expected one taste and texture but my taste buds were sending a different signal to my brain so I experienced some cognitive dissonance on this one. I also think it's a matter of what you're used to.  I'm used to twisty "doughnuts" being sweet.  For people who don't like sweets, this would be a good option for them.
I did better with the mocha chiffon roll.  As a rule, I don't go out of my way for a chiffon cake.  Nothing wrong with it but the spongy texture doesn't win out over a pound cake or a cakey cake for me.  However, this one was pretty good: lightly flavored with mocha and not too much (barely any) frosting, which is what I like.  A hallmark of Asian bakeries is most of their offerings aren't very sweet.  I don't hold it against them but I do know what to expect.  Of the three things I bought, the chiffon roll was the best.
The castella was a bit more moist than the one from Paris Baguette but not quite in a good way.  One thing I know from my previous years of consuming mamon from Goldilocks Bakery is when a mamon is more than a day old, it starts to moisten and you can tell the sponge isn't as fresh.  What makes me leery about when it gets to that stage is it's really easy for mold to set in.  Fortunately, mold isn't hard to spot in a yellow sponge cake and I'm diligently paranoid to always check before I consume one.
The outer layer of this had the moistness that signaled this might not have been made hours before I bought it but perhaps the day before and the inner sponge was starting to have a dry mouthfeel.  It was still fine but I give the nod to the castella from Paris Baguette over this one just because the one from PB was more fresh.
The lady who rang up my order was very nice and the bakery is worth trying.  Not sure anything really compels me to return to try anything else but I'm glad I went and discovered what it's like for myself. Oh and it was also a little more expensive than Paris Baguette but by less than a dollar.  My 3 purchases at Paris Baguette had totaled to $5.60.  The three things I bought from Jin's Bakery came to $6.25.  Not enough to break the bank.

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