Home Sweet Home is a column dedicated to the talented people baking up a storm at home.
Sembawang sesame bread, Commonwealth cheddar loaf, Redhill rye. These are just some novel bakes that Heartland Sourdough has created, and named, after various neighbourhoods in Singapore.
At their online bakery, co-founders Greg Yap and Lim Tjie Siew tap into local heritage to create Asian-inspired bread. This is why items on the menu come with a cheeky moniker; the pair hopes to make these handcrafted bakes more accessible to everyone. “While it is growing in popularity, sourdough is still not something that everyone understands,” shares Tjie Siew.
The close friends, who both share a passion for cooking and baking, also noticed that sourdough bread is typically only found in cafés and artisanal bakeries. According to Tjie Siew, the pair also took cues from local neighbourhood bakeries – a place where people can just swing by to pick up a loaf – when setting up Heartland Sourdough. “We hoped to translate this level of accessibility to our bakes, not only through reasonable pricing but by also incorporating local, familiar flavours,” she says. “We wanted to create a way where we can make sourdough fun and relatable for every Singaporean.”
Everything comes made using a base of organic, stoneground flours – an ingredient that the bakers found helped retain more nutrients and flavour. Doughs are also left to proof and ferment for longer periods (each takes about 16 hours to make) to develop richer, more tangy notes, and comes freshly baked upon order.
To embark on a gastronomic journey, sample the Sembawang sesame (from $10) made with a combination of stoneground white and whole grain flour, mixed with slow-roasted black and white sesame for a nutty kick. “One bite and it reminds you of eating a sesame tang yuan,” adds Tjie Siew. Or make a pitstop at the seasonal A.M.K., or Ang Mo Kio. The neighbourhood, which translates to ‘red tomato’ in Hokkien, comes well-stuffed with additions of sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste.
Beyond cheeky names, the local inspiration can be found in the flavours, too. Greg says, “We wanted to take advantage of the familiar Asian flavours, dishes and ingredients we are surrounded with and incorporate them into sourdough to create new, fun favourites experienced in a whole new way.” For instance, Leonie Longan (from $15), sweetened with Thai dried longans and red dates, is reminiscent of a sweet tea commonly enjoyed during Chinese New Year.
But not all flavour pairings work well with the tangy nature of sourdough loaves. As Greg and Tjie Siew discovered, Asian flavours are sometimes too “punchy” and “strong” – and have the tendency to overpower the taste of sourdough. Pandan extract was one such example. “We thought it would be an instant classic,” says Tjie Siew. “But after a few attempts, we concluded that the flavours didn’t meld well together.” Instead, the quick-thinking bakers decided to use pandan to create a spread. Cream cheese comes suffused with fresh pandan and gula Melaka to make for an unusual chendol cheese spread ($18).
And while juggling a full-time job with their baking commitments might prove challenging, the two are heartened at the support and response that Heartland Sourdough has since gotten. On their future plans, the pair hope to one day fulfilled their dreams, of running a physical bakery stall located, of course, in the heartlands.
HOW TO ORDER Head over to @heartlandsourdough and drop them a DM to order. Its latest creation is two Christmas bundles ($88) that come filled with breads, cookies, truffle butter, and more.