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Japanese Hamster Bread: Debunked but Delicious

By terrell
October 07, 2021

Around 2016, a certain set of images went viral that featured a bunch of adorable beady-eyed hamster shaped objects on a baking sheet. People all over the internet re-tweeted, blogged, or reposted the images all over the internet with titles that used the phrase “Japanese hamster bread.”

However, for every post talking about it, there are just as many comments pointing out that it’s fake. So, which side is correct? And does Japanese hamster bread even exist?

A white and orange Japanese hamster, the motivation for Japanese hamster bread, holding a nut on a blue background

Image via Shutterstock

Well, the answer is no, but also yes. The images that Japanese hamster bread has become famous for are actually not really bread. They are adorable hamster figures created by a Japanese artist named Yumi Nakano who runs a Twitter page called ‘hamuco’. On the hamuco Twitter page, you can see plenty of her art pieces, mostly featuring her hamster figurines from creation to completion. 

So, unfortunately, the kawaii (cute) hamsters you see aren’t real, but that doesn’t mean Japanese hamster bread itself isn’t real. Japan loves hamsters, and people love making kawaii treats. Japan is also famous for bread products like Japanese sweet bread. Thanks to these factors, there are actually recipes online to create your own. 

So today, let’s quickly talk about two different versions and how to make one of them. 

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Two Versions of Japanese Hamster Bread

If you search “hamster bread recipe” online, you can easily find these two recipes. One is a translated recipe for a savory take on the hamster bread by a Japanese creator who loves to make cute Japanese bread creations. In their version, you create an adorable hamster face with raisin eyes, cute hands holding a nut, and a tasty roasted ham filling, perfect for a more savory bread treat in the same family as Japanese curry bread.

The other recipe is by a Korean DIY YouTuber and has been translated into English for any English speaker’s enjoyment. This recipe creates a cute, little pastry that looks like a hamster lying down. This one is a bit on the sweeter side with a mochi (Japanese rice cake) filling that can be changed for those who want something even sweeter. It’s even a no-bake recipe.

A Japanese hamster toy being held in front of Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto with people in the background

Image via Shutterstock

However, the second recipe lacks measurements for ingredients, so only an experienced baker can recreate it. So today, let us introduce the more savory Japanese hamster bread recipe with you today. 

How to Make Ham and Raisin Hamster Bread Rolls

Ingredients (Makes 5 Rolls)

  • Bread flour – 135g
  • Wheat flour – 15g
  • Dry yeast – 3g
  • Milk – ⅓ cup
  • Salt – 1g
  • Sugar – 15g
  • Butter – 10g
  • Egg – 1-2 eggs
  • Roast ham – 3 slices
  • Raisin – 10 raisins
  • Nuts of your choice – 5 nuts

5 balls of dough used for making Japanese Hamster bread on a black background

Image via Shutterstock

Step-by-step Instructions

  • Cut each slice of ham into 6 wedges. (Cut them all at once as a time-saver.)
  • Put all of the flour, yeast, milk, salt, sugar, and 25g of egg into a bowl and mix them together. 
  • Add the butter, then stir and knead the dough.
  • Let the dough rise until it’s doubled in size.
  • From the dough, take about 10g and divide it into 5 pieces. (These will be your hamster’s ears and hands.)
  • Take the remaining dough, divide it into five larger pieces, and roll them into balls. (These are your hamster bodies.)
  • Take one dough ball, spread it out, and place three or four ham wedges in the center. Wrap the dough around the wedges and create a triangle. Repeat for the other dough balls.
  • Take one of the smaller dough balls and cut into four pieces (two smaller ones for the hands and two larger ones for the ears). Roll the larger ones into ears and place them at the top of your hamster triangle. Stretch the smaller ones to make hamster hands and place them on the hamster body. (Feel free to put lines on the hands so they look more like hamster paws.)
  • Place a single nut in between the hands so it looks like they’re holding the nut.
  • Place your hamsters onto a baking sheet and let them rise for 30-40 minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉). 
  • Before putting your hamster buddies in the oven, brush the top of each one with egg, press on two raisins for eyes, and make sure that the nut is pressed on securely.
  • Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

There you have it. Now you know how to make Japanese hamster bread a reality in the form of a savory, tasty snack.

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