The opening of the small but cosy bakery, Woodlands Sourdough in Serene Centre late last year, has reinvigorated our love for artisan breads.
Anyone who has ever tried to bake a good loaf, especially sourdough, will know how difficult and time consuming it is to do it well. So imagine our delight when we came across this bakery run by husband-and-wife duo Mr Chalith Kariyawasam and Ms Nurhasanah Johari.
The couple, who are former engineers and self-taught bakers, used to churn out gorgeous loaves of sourdough out of their home in Woodlands (hence the name Woodlands Sourdough) to sell at pop-up farmers’ markets, as well as for their bread subscription service. So by the time they set up shop in November last year, they had already amassed an adoring fan base of carb-loving foodies who laud the bakery for its wonderfully authentic European-style breads and pastries – all made to exacting techniques, with the best possible ingredients and a whole lot of love.
On average, the bakery rolls out about 70 loaves a day on weekdays and 90 loaves a day on weekends.
Explaining how they share the workload, Chalith says: “For now, Nur does all the breads, while I handle the pastries, cookies and everything else as Nur is very particular about her bread.”
The breads are all made with organic Turkish and American flours, and some of the must-try items include the Basic Country Loaf (S$6), Seeded Loaf with Sunflower, Flaxseed and Sesame Seeds (S$6.50), and Porridge ($6.50), which comprises an array of grains such as barley and millet, depending on the availability.
There is also a small selection of bakes such as rye hazelnut almond brownie (S$5) and banana walnut tea cake (S$5).
Another highlight here is the naturally leavened pizzas, which are only available on Sunday nights (5pm to 9pm or till the dough runs out). Done Neapolitan style, all the pizzas are meatless but are extremely flavourful.
How it all started?
Our love for baking inspired us to open this bakery. Back then, we were baking breads almost everyday as we were determined to get that perfect crumb and crust – there was so much bread in our kitchen that we had to keep giving them away to family and friends so we could bake more bread. As such, it led us to think that maybe we could set up shop and sell these loaves. We started out selling our loaves at farmers’ market at Loewen Gardens, and offered a bread subscription service – both were hugely popular!
What’s so unique about your offerings?
We offer exclusively naturally leavened (no commercial yeast) breads that are all freshly handcrafted every day. We are very much into wild fermentation so sourdough breads are an extension of that.
There are more and more artisan bakeries in Singapore offering sourdough bread – what sets your offerings apart from the rest?
Our techniques – using a high percentage of wholegrain stoneground organic flour, as well as creating sufficiently hydrated dough.
We are basically reintroducing old world techniques into our bread baking. We want to show that the simplest of ingredients coupled with patience and time, can yield a superb product.
What or who inspires these creations?
We draw a lot of our inspiration from bakers in the US, specifically those in California – these bakers are onto quality and nutrition rather than quantity. The one baker that inspires us most, however, is Chad Robertson of the famous Tartine bakery in San Francisco.
Which are the must-try items on your menu?
Our toasts. We offer an array of spreads and toppings on our country loaf variety, some of the popular choices include the Hummus with Za’atar and extra virgin olive oil (S$4), Sage Cream Cheese with Berry Compote (S$4), Nut Butter with Honey and Sea Salt (S$3.50), Vegemite with Butter and Cheddar Cheese (S$4), and Peanut Butter with Sriracha Hot Sauce and Lime (S$4).
We aim to make the best breads that we possibly can, and hopefully we will be able to bring in a wider variety of flours to try out for our breads.