Why is Japanese toast so thick?

This is one of the few mysteries I’ve never found and any possible explanations at all for. Particularly mystifying is why a six-inch thick piece of toast with ice cream on it is considered a treat, but I also can’t imagine why anyone would want a loaf cut into just four slices. How much jam would you need to make that edible??

I wonder if the information in my last post provides at least a partial explanation – if there was a surplus of wheat flour but a lack of other things like jam and butter after WWII, people might have got a taste for real doorstops. Might also explain another mystery – “pizza toast”.



  1. Jeffrey said,

    October 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Why is Japan’s toast so thick?

    How about because the bread is sliced to thick?

  2. T2 said,

    November 1, 2012 at 2:14 am

    One idea that might be connected to that is because Japanese bread tends to be pretty soft compared that of the western countries.
    Apparently, when Japanese people started baking the typical “shokupan”, they baked it so that its softness would be similar to rice.
    (Since rice is our staple food)

    Anyhow, if you make thin toast out of it, you end up with a crispy cracker like toast… but Japanese people want something softer and more substantial to eat like rice, so maybe that’s why they tend to cut it really thick?

  3. crella said,

    December 1, 2012 at 3:30 am

    I don’t like American toast bread, it’s thin and either gets too crunchy or doesn’t hold up with jam or something on it. I like Japanese toast, a 5-mai-giri size. Don’t know why they make toast as thick as Bibles but like it.

  4. alexcase said,

    December 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

    For me it feels too much to put on the amount of jam that I’d need to actually taste it. Come to think of it, it does feel indulgent to have such a thick piece of toast, and that could tie into the fact that it was a luxury

  5. alexcase said,

    December 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I’m a 8-mai man, by the way – which would be thick-cut back in the UK but is often the very thinnest in Japanese bakeries (10-mai when it is available is too thin even for me)

  6. crella said,

    December 2, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Our local bakery does 4,5,and 6 only. When I want to have peanut butter, lemon curd,or pizza toast (homemade sauce of course) I get 4-mai. Love it!

  7. Rick said,

    December 3, 2012 at 5:56 am

    I love the thick Japanese toast, wish I could get some in the west, short of buying unsliced and slicing it myself…
    As for the contradiction that the thick slices come in short loaves, this I do not understand.

  8. alexcase said,

    December 3, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Good question. Might tie in with my theory of it originally being a luxury.

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