Cheap & Good

Cheap & Good: Sourdough loaves from Bedok bread stall Mr Kneady's

Mr Kneady's sourdough bread offerings include (clockwise from far left) walnut, cranberry turmeric and rugbrod, a Danish-style rye bread loaded with sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame seeds.
Mr Kneady's sourdough bread offerings include (clockwise from far left) walnut, cranberry turmeric and rugbrod, a Danish-style rye bread loaded with sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame seeds.ST PHOTO: EUNICE QUEK

I am a big fan of sourdough bread for its dense, chewy crumb and more savoury notes, especially when compared with the usual sweet and soft buns.

So when I spot sourdough loaves displayed at two-month-old bread stall Mr Kneady's at The Bedok Marketplace hawker centre, I make a beeline for them.

What I notice first is that the loaves are not too big - 250g each - which is a good size for me because I don't like to keep bread out for more than a few days. Some bakeries sell much bigger loaves, which I have to portion out and give away in order not to waste them. On the other hand, I can finish these loaves in a day or two.

The selection features white ($3), whole wheat ($3), cranberry turmeric ($3.50), walnut ($4) and pumpkin seed ($3.50).

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Each 250g loaf is made with a natural sourdough starter and sea salt. The crumb is slightly chewy and moist, but not wet nor too dense. Don't worry though, you're not paying for large air pockets. It also has a crisp crust and is best eaten toasted.

Mr Kneady is owner Lionel Hor, 28, who says the turmeric flavour in the cranberry turmeric loaf can be strong. It turns out to be my favourite loaf, with a lovely deep yellow crumb. The turmeric perfumes the loaf and goes well with the sweet and slightly tangy cranberries.

  • MR KNEADY'S

  • 02-24 The Bedok Marketplace, 348 Bedok Road, open: 11am to 9.30pm (Tuesdays to Sundays), closed on Mondays, tel: 9815-5025 or go to www.facebook.com/mr.kneadys

    Rating: 4/5 stars

I also enjoy the walnut loaf, along with rugbrod ($12 for a 900g loaf), a Danish-style rye bread which comes loaded with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and sesame seeds. Every bite is filled with crunchy goodness.

Mr Hor also offers a small selection of sandwiches. While it may sound slightly pricey, he slices a whole loaf (either white or whole wheat) for the Emmental cheese sandwich ($5) and the kurobuta ham and Emmental sandwich ($7.50). I hope he offers more options in the future.

The menu also has smorrebrod (open-faced sandwiches), topped with salami and cornichons ($4); smoked salmon ($4); and goat cheese with candied walnuts ($5).

For dinner, he sells sourdough pizza ($12 each, available after 6pm). Options include Space Oddity with pepperoni, salami, mozzarella and tomato sauce; and Remedy, with creamy garlic sauce, smoked chicken, red onions and mozzarella.

I tell Mr Hor that his bread does not have a very strong sour taste and his tip is to visit on a Tuesday, as the loaves baked that day would have been fermenting since Sunday.

The other daily bakes go through a day of fermentation.

The passionate young baker honed his craft at French bakery Maison Kayser in Singapore before training in bakeries in New Zealand, New York and Iceland.

Ironically, he has a flour allergy - what is commonly known as baker's asthma. While he can consume it, he cannot inhale flour, which is why he wears a mask at work.

His condition has made it tough for him to get jobs, which is why he decided to run his own business.

I applaud his tenacity to chase his dream.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 13, 2017, with the headline 'Chewy crumb, crispy crust'. Print Edition | Subscribe