Forget Gwyneth Paltrow-inspired no-carb diets. The new ShopHouse takeaway deli concept at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore offers artisanal loaves that are too délicieux to resist. The sourdoughs at ShopHouse are all shaped by hand and proofed at least overnight. A lengthy labour of love, the breads take up to 48 hours to make from start to finish and minimum of 24 hours to get from flour to a crusty end. You’ll never find breads tasting exactly the same as these breads are made using a wild yeast starter that has been with travelling with consultant master baker Christophe Gros everywhere for the past five years. He even tenderly refers to the starter as “she”, much like a living breathing human being.
Six breads ($5.50 a loaf) are available daily, with a special for the weekend. The signature special, Wake Up Call bread was created exclusively for ShopHouse by Shangri-La and uses ingredients close to chef Christophe’s heart—Bordeaux Maraschino cherries and Valrhona 55% dark chocolate, which is made in a wine-growing region close to Lyon where he grew up.
No added sugar or butter are used in the breads, in keeping with the wellness initiative launched recently by the hotel. The one exception is the Milk Loaf which is a rich treat for the entire family available only on selected weekends as a special, with milk, sugar, butter and eggs.
- *Signature Wake Up Call – Valrhona 55% dark chocolate, Bordeaux Maraschino cherries and sourdough.
- Rustic Loaf – toasted wheat flour and buckwheat, sourdough.
- Baguette – sourdough and poolish (made from water, yeast and flour). Poolish is what creates the air bubbles for the fluffy crumbly interior and golden crusty exterior.
- Ciabatta – black olives, thyme, Italian extra virgin olive oil, semolina and sourdough.
- Walnut – toasted walnuts and sourdough.
- Multigrain – five types of seeds (poppy, black sesame, sunflower, pumpernickel, white sesame) toasted with honey to caramelise and sourdough.
Buttery Danishes To #Treatyoself
Classics like the Croissant, Pain au Chocolat, Pain aux Raisins and Almond Croissant ($3 each) are available every day. For an extra rich flavour, Pamplie AOP butter—a traditional barrel-churned artisanal butter from Normandy—is used. “Nothing can replace the feeling of holding a freshly baked croissant in your hand, inhaling the fragrance of the butter, biting into the warm pastry and hearing the flaky crunch,” adds Christophe.
The raisins in the Pain au Raisin are first soaked in passionfruit juice for a zesty burst of flavour. The French chef also shared that there are some bakers who make Pain au Amande from leftover croissants piped with almond paste the day after. The ShopHouse’s version is traditional French all the way, using Valrhona almond paste composed of 60% almonds from Provence, folded into the pastry before baking. For days when you #justcannot and a buttery flaky confectionery is necessary, there is the Pain au Chocolat, supercharged with almond cream and toasted pecans.
Weekends are made sweeter with special danishes topped with berries, yuzu and meringue, and Oreos. The chocolate cream-filled M&M Snails with their rainbow-coloured topping have been a runaway hit with children and those young-at-heart. Nutella fans say “oui!” to the Indecent Nutella Danish, where a titillating explosion of hazelnut chocolate occurs with every bite.
With 28 years of experience baking all over the world as a master baker, chef Christophe still recalls fondly the eureka moment when he finally baked a successful sourdough after over twenty tries. What makes a good sourdough? Good balance of acidity, not too sour and not too flat; deeply flavourful even when eaten on its own; baked just at the right moment of proofing for the perfect texture. Experience is vital, as an artisanal sourdough has to be proofed and shaped by hand and timings will differ due to slight differences in gluten levels, temperature and humidity. In the chef’s own words, “sourdough is very temperamental, like a woman. It needs a lot of care and attention in order to produce a consistent quality of bread.” He strongly believes in continuous learning as “you are only as good as your last baguette, so it is important to stay focused and humble”.
22 Orange Grove Road, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, Singapore 258350. Tel: +65 6213 4377