I am so amazed at the blossoming of creativity in the F&B scene in Ipoh. Four or five years ago, one hardly heard of sourdough bread. Today, every shop or cafe that sells bread touts their own sourdough, and deciding on which sourdough to keep at home for my breakfast becomes a dilemma.
So why do I have a love affair with sourdough? Is it because they are usually crusty, robust and hearty breads that have ‘ooomph’ in them? And according to my research, it is more digestible than standard loaves and more nutritious too? They also render the gluten in flour more digestible and less likely to cause food intolerance. And good news for diabetics, they are known to have a lower glycemic index. Meaning it doesn’t spike blood sugar as dramatically.
Sourdough bread is fermented in a way that fosters more beneficial bacteria in the bread and in your body when you eat it. The bacteria and natural yeast composition will start to break down the starches found in the grains before it even reaches your stomach. That means there is way less work to be done, making it much easier on your gut.
I have a confession to make. I’ve been quite the flirt with various sourdough bread makers in town. Like a young maiden in search of true love, I have been hoping to find the perfect baker and bread to settle down with.
But alas, that is not to be.
New young bakers are popping out of the woodwork and winking at me. How can I resist?
The latest one is a homemaker called Chia Ee who markets her bread under the label of Little Yam’s Bakery.
Chia Ee’s breads are light and airy, and additional ingredients vary. Her basic bread in Little Yam’s Bakery is made with natural leavening at RM23 for plain sourdough and depending on the additions, will be more.
For Christmas I ordered two loaves, a Garlic Italian Herbs and Cranberry Almond at RM25 and another one with black olives which she didn’t have. So I promptly sent her a bottle of Kalamata olives and the loaf that came was superb. (She will soon have that ingredient).
Recently Chia Ee surprised me with a loaf that took my breath away: a Jalapeno Cheddar Focaccia. When toasted (I do like my bread toasted), the cheese crust lends a smoky umami crunch to the springy interior, with its hidden Jalapenos providing just that optimum amount of zing to the mouthfeel. Thank goodness she used pickled Jalapenos which are sprinkled very liberally instead of the fresh ones. Otherwise the bread would have been unbearably spicy. RM28.
But Chia Ee’s talents don’t just end there at sourdough.
She is also a formidable baker in yeasted cakes and breads.
I sampled her Soft and Fluffy Almond Cranberry, a big donut-sized bread (diameter 20cm). This bread is made of high protein Japanese flour, full cream milk, condensed milk, salt, yeast and butter. And of course, every bite is filled with almonds and cranberries. RM22 each.
The little “pumpkins” were most interesting. These were small Korean cream cheese garlic buns. The filling was an eclectic mix of umami and sweet, the cream cheese blending with the garlic for an unusual taste sensation. RM4.50 each.
She also makes Swiss Rolls. The “Biscoff Banana Caramel Swiss Roll” has Lotus Biscoff spread from Belgium, topped with caramelised Biscoff crumbs, drizzled with homemade caramel and a generous amount of whipped cream that makes for a delicious combination. RM25/roll (~17 cm, ~ 480g).
The Green Tea Red Bean Swiss Roll is another at the same price.
Call for more information and to order. Chia Ee is always coming up with new innovations and ideas.
Little Yam’s Bakery
(Self pick-up at Taman Syabas or Grab/Mr Speedy delivery, price charged according to the location.)