Sweet Memories: Na Young Ma of Proof Bakery

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Sweet Memories is a new blog series on Good Food where Chloe Chappe talks to local chefs and bakers about the flavors and memories that inspired their food. This week Chloe talks to Na Young Ma of Proof Bakery.

Chloe Chappe: Is there any dish from your childhood or past that you make in your bakery today?

NYM: My mom used to make us very simple salami sandwich growing up. She would put dry salami, mayo, and thinly cut lengthwise pickles on toasted white bread. I haven’t had that combination since I was very young, but I remember it so well and I knew that I wanted to make a salami sandwich at the bakery. We make ours a little bit more sophisticated with wine cured salami, butter, chives, manchego, and arugula.

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CC: Are there any specific smells or ingredients from your past that have influenced your current creations?

NYM: Nothing in particular. I didn’t grow up eating much sweets or baked goods. We would often have fruit at the end of a meal. I think this has influenced our products to be fruit forward if possible with less sugar. Many items when we recipe test, we automatically reduce the sugar.

CC: If you could eat one meal from your past over again, what would that meal be? Why?

NYM: I lived in Japan for a year in my early twenties and it was definitely the beginning of my culinary education. It was a fun place to discover so many new flavors and dishes. I would probably want to eat many meals that I had there throughout my year. From amazing soba and tonkatsu to convenient store sushi to my favorite chain restaurant Mos Burger, where they put a hamburger patty in between grilled rice patties and would come with wasabi french fries.

NYM: When we first started baking there, a lot of the equipment was from the original Dutch American, including the oven, mixers, and sheeter. We did very little to change the back and just started using the same equipment, which was covered in flour and memories of so many bakers.  Being in a place that had been a bakery for years was really special because we felt like we were continuing something that had been part of the neighborhood for so long. So many people came in when we opened and said that they used to go to the Dutch American as a kid. Our style of pastries is very different from what the Dutch American bakery made, but I hope we are still offering the same level of comfort through our baked goods.