Baking From The Heart with Jason Loo
Above YBR is one of our best kept secrets: a small-batch bakery, called YBR Bakes. YBR Co-founder and coffee guru JASON LOO takes a fresh tray of tart crusts out of the oven while senior barista DAVID CHUA and barista LEE ZONG CHENG prepare the next batch of pastries. Together the YBR Bakes team makes a range of fresh mouthwatering tarts, puffs, cupcakes, scones, loaf cakes, every day. We catch up with Jason during his break.
What does baking mean to you?
JASON LOO: Baking was actually my first plan when I stepped into the F&B industry. I have a sweet tooth, and i love desserts. After I finished high school, I started my journey in a bakery and qualified as a pastry chef. I knew straightaway that i really enjoyed not only eating desserts and pastries but making them!
What inspires you to explore, develop and ultimately choose the flavours that you use? What makes you say: “Yes! This is what I want to make!”
My concept of developing desserts is simple: I bake something I personally love. I’m also a big fan of “comfort flavours” and doing them right. This is why, in the current YBR Bakes menu, you’ll see classic items such as scones and banana loaves. These are textures and flavours that many people know and love – but in our case, we also add a personal touch that makes our pastries unique and different from others out there.
What spurred you to start YBR Bakes?
It all started during the Movement Control Order period as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. I thought that sweet pastries would be a good addition to the YBR menu, with a focus on smaller items that we can choose and pack into a pastry box as a gift or to take home to share with family-members. I think we all deserve some extra sweetness to help get us through these tough times.
YBR Bakes is a small-batch bakery – why is that important?
Because we bake in small batches each time, we are able to maintain a strong amount of control in terms of quality and details. It also allows us to ensure the freshness of each product from raw ingredients all the way to when they come out of the oven.
We prepare and assemble our baked goods every morning – most times the ingredients need to be prepared fresh and we cannot keep them for more than a day (for example, our strawberry tart uses fresh fruits). We also limit the quantities we bake in order to ensure there is minimal wastage. In the afternoon, we start preparing all the other items so that we will be ready for the next day’s baking.
What would you recommend to a first-time YBR Bakes customer?
The Financier. This is a classic French teacake using brown butter (in terms of cooking and caramelising the butter) which gives it its nutty aroma, as well as lots of almonds. It has a slightly crusty exterior, and is moist and buttery inside.
But we’ve got a big selection – so don’t hesitate to ask us for recommendations and drinks pairings too!