Five places for bread
Good bread is a terrific canvas for myriad fillings to form a hearty sandwich or to dunk into a good, spicy curry. The trick for a satisfying result, however, is bread that is not soggy, unsweetened and above all, has a lovely texture. With all that in mind, Su Aziz unearths a few bakeries in Penang and is pleasantly surprised with what she finds. Here, she not only shares her discoveries but also a few utterly hunger-satiating bread-based recipes.
Among those in the know, this bakery adjacent to the Adventist Hospital on Jalan Burma is a favourite. Its name, as long as anyone can remember, is synonymous with the cinnamon rolls that they sell by the box. And it’s no wonder since their cinnamon rolls are not only fresh, the individual ones (as opposed to the ones in a box of four for RM7.50) are made out of whole grain bread and filled to the brim with walnuts and cashewnuts for RM3.50 each. However, this bakery is more than these rolls. Their sliced loaves of wholemeal or multi grain bread are ample, unsweetened and there’s even a flour-less range from RM3.30 per loaf. They slice their loaves thicker than the ubiquitous commercially produced bread and holds a firm texture instead of a soggy one.
Opening Hours: Daily, 8am to 8pm; Closed on Saturday
Recipe Tip: The thick slices of the wholemeal sliced bread is perfect when lightly toasted and accompanying moist, buttery scrambled eggs and grilled tomato halves.
Cinnamon rolls from Adventist Bakery
As you walk through Rasa Sayang Resort’s cool and elegant lobby towards their pool area, take note of the small little hut nestled among lush greens and a tall tree on your right emitting delicious, yeasty scents of bread. You’ve discovered the Rasa Deli responsible for the resort’s bread supply for all their food and beverage outlets. While you’re able to order a rich and succulent sandwich here, it’s really their bread that’s the hero. A range of gourmet bread such as dark rye, French village bread, ciabatta, multigrain, muesli and gluten free are available at a day’s notice and they cost between RM6.50++ and RM10++. They seem to specialise in a terrific crusty exterior that envelopes a fluffy but substantial centre.
Opening Hours: Daily, 11am to 6:30pm
Recipe Tip: The Ciabatta’s crusty exterior gives way to a soft centre that cushions slices of roast chicken generously spread with pesto really well. Alternatively, sautee sliced white onion until brown and top roast beef slices as fillings.
Roti benggali at Malila Bakery
Right in the heart of George Town, at the corner of Transfer Road and Jalan Ariffin is this bakery well known for their ‘roti benggali’ or roti tawar. Huge loaves of this crusty, tasteless and fluffy white bread freshly baked are displayed in a glass cabinet just outside of the bakery’s entrance daily. Each of these humungus loaves at RM7.20 consists of eight small-sized loaves at RM0.90 each. The small loaves are good as a snack. There’s a lightness to its being (so to speak) that’s both dainty and sustaining.
Opening Hours: Daily, 7am to 11pm
Recipe Tip: This tasteless bread is the perfect thing to dunk into piping hot, spicy and thick curry of any sort. It absorbs the gravy so well, offering nothing else but texture to every bite.
This bakery on the busiest stretch of Chulia Street has become something of an institution here. The bakery offers affordable gourmet bread such as walnut raisin loaf, sour dough, yogurt plait, English bloomer, ciabatta, grainy baguette, six cereal loaf and volkorn brot from RM3.80 for 250gram-sized to RM4.50 onwards for the 500gram-sized ones. While croissant, bagels and Chelsea buns are from RM1.80 each. If it’s a little daunting to find parking in the area, they offer free delivery between Monday and Saturday and deliveries are made from 2pm onwards (04-261 4641) or pop by their other branches at Tingkat Kenari 6 in Taman Desaria and at Jalan Tembikai in Bukit Mertajam.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 10pm; Closed on Sunday
Recipe Tip: Their English white bread has a texture slightly more dense than our roti potong that is perfect with jam and salted butter. You can choose to toast it but its untoasted fluffy texture seems to be what kids prefer.
Grainy baguette at Rainforest Bakery
Cold Storage Bread Counter
Easily accessible on lower grounds of shopping malls such as Gurney Plaza and Island Plaza, the gourmet bread corner of this supermarket offers a staple such as wholemeal, rye bread and rustic sour dough from RM12.50 per loaf and inexpensive baguettes at RM2.30. They may not have the more complex sort of gourmet bread but their small selection is fresh, substantial and sufficient for daily consumption.
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am to 10pm
Recipe Tip: The baguette tend to go hard by the third day. Slice it at 1cm thick and you get great canapé base and they then keep really well. The other idea is to spread salted butter atop each slice, finely crushed garlic and sprinkle paprika powder before chucking a tray-full under low-medium heat oven for a few minutes. Then, voila! You’ve got crispy garlic toast that’ll keep for days in an air-tight container.