Wishing all Singaporeans a Happy National Day and thank you to all our international friends for joining us in celebrating this joyous occasion! 2019 is Singapore’s 54th National Day, and it is also Singapore's Bicentennial, marking the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore.
Compared to many other nations, Singapore has a relatively short history. It is incredible to think about what we have achieved in these “short” years and we have so much to be thankful for. Beautiful green spaces, clean drinking water, accessible public transportation, diplomatic ties with the international community and the list goes on.
Yet, it has become an inside joke that Singaporeans love to complain. This might be because we have developed a high level of expectation of all stakeholders, be it the government, private corporations, and even of each other. We should also turn these high expectations on ourselves and think not only what the society can do for us, but also what we can do for the society.
This year’s National Day theme “Our Singapore” is a reminder of this simple reality. It is “our” Singapore - triumphs and failures, they are all ours to bear. Singapore is only as great as the people, families, and communities that exist within. Our ability to be gracious to one another, live in harmony, and thrive as a society that takes care of all its members is our defining strength. Be thankful for all that we have and to strive for a better tomorrow, together. That’s our wish for all of us.
So to mark this special day, we have decided to make these lion bread and lined them up close to each other to symbolise Singapore’s togetherness through it all! The lion is symbolic of the name “Singapura”, first given by Sang Nila Utama 700 years ago.
We will be using the roux method that will give this bread the soft, fluffy texture we are used to for Asian breads. This basic recipe can be used to make the dough for any number of breads that you like, you just need to pair them with your desired filling or topping!
Ingredients for the water roux: bread flour and boiling water.
Ingredients for the bread dough: bread flour, plain flour, instant dry yeast, sugar, egg, water, salt and butter
Ingredients for decoration: mayonnaise, chicken floss, melted chocolate, mini edible hearts
The first step is to make the water roux mixture, by mixing the bread flour and boiling (or really hot) water together until you get a smooth, thick mixture. Refrigerate it overnight and take it out of the fridge an hour before you make the dough.
Next we will prepare the dough! Add in the bread flour, plain flour, yeast, sugar, egg and water. We like to use instant dry yeast as it is much easier to handle especially for beginners!
Mix at slow speed for 2 minutes and add in the salt and knead for a minute. Pause the mixer to add in the water roux mixture and continue to knead for 3 minutes before adding the butter.
Increase to medium speed and knead for 25 minutes or till dough is no longer sticky and lifts from the wall of the mixer. If your dough is still sticky after 25 minutes, no worries! Just continue kneading as the time required depends on your mixer speed which might be different from ours!
Perform a windowpane test by pulling out some dough and slowly stretching it out until it is thin enough for light to pass through. If the dough tears, knead for a while more.
If your dough passes the windowpane test, it is ready for the first proof! Knead the dough into a smooth round ball by tucking the sides in from the bottom.
Place it in an oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave it in a warm area for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, your dough should have become much bigger, so remember to use a much bigger bowl than the original size of your dough! Poke the dough to release the air in the bread. (Can I say this is one of the most satisfying part of bread making?)
Flour your hands and transfer the dough onto your floured table top. Knead it to get a uniform dough ball and then divide it into 40g portions. You can also roll it into a cylinder and use a dough cutter to portion out the dough.
Repeating the step of tucking the sides of the dough in from the bottom, shape each small dough ball into a nice, round shape.
#Tip: If you want to put filling inside your bun, this is where you roll out each small dough into a slightly flat circle, place your filling such as ham, otah or mushroom cheese in the centre and roll up the dough. As the original 40g dough ball is rather small, we recommend that you use a bigger size of 50-60g of dough that will make wrapping the filling easier!
Place your dough balls on a lightly floured baking sheet, making sure there are some spaces in between each ball as they will expand over your second proof! Proof for 70 minutes.
Brush each bun with an egg white wash and bake in a pre-heated oven at 185°C for 6-8 minutes.
Give your buns about 15 minutes to cool before decorating them. Cooling them down makes them easier to handle and your liquid decorations will not melt off your hot bun!
Smear mayonnaise on the edges of the bun where you want the floss mane to go! Then we packed on a generous portion of chicken floss all over the mayonnaise.
For our facial details, we melted some chocolate in the microwave and filled them in a piping bag. Cut a small hole in the tip of the piping bag to help you make fine details. We also used two tiny drops of chocolates to help adhere the tiny edible hearts for hairbows!
And you are done!
This bread recipe was provided by our talented home cook Linda who loves to cook and bake for her family. She made these adorable lion breads for her kids and she also encourages you to fill up these buns with filling such as ham, otah and mushroom!
Wishing all a Happy National Day and a restful weekend with your loved ones!
Get the full recipe below!