28 May, 2020

Daily bread: the local artisan bakers nourishing us from the inside

Whether it’s supporting your local sourdough bakery or learning to make it yourself, people are turning to traditional breads because not only do they taste amazing but they are better for our health.

 

Recent discoveries indicate First Nations Australians were turning seeds into flour for breadmaking over 36,000 years ago. The origins of leavened bread (using a raising agent) are uncertain but it is thought that sourdough, one of the oldest forms of leavened bread, dates back to the Middle East around 8000 BC!

The magic of sourdough is in the chemistry. A starter is used to prepare the bread for baking through fermentation, in contrast to regular bread which is made with yeast. The starter also helps to give sourdough its unique flavour.

Most artisan bakers have developed their own bespoke starter which is continually “fed” so that it can be used to create many loaves over time, or even shared. Crafting handmade sourdough is a time-consuming process and every artisan has their own unique method that has been refined and perfected over time. Each loaf takes about three days to make and is usually hand cut and shaped prior to baking.

Katie’s Jane Dough

Here on the Sunshine Coast, Katie Faulker created her own sourdough starter, “Jane Dough” in 2014 and four years later opened a small batch bakery, The Wonky Loaf, at Palmwoods.

Katie’s love affair with sourdough started when she wanted a bread that would boost her children’s gut health and raise their immunity.

“Sourdough is a nourishing and wholesome alternative to the manufactured, additive-breads found in the supermarket,” Katie says.

Katie is so passionate about the benefits of sourdough that she recently launched her Wonky School so children can learn the art of creating and keeping a sourdough starter and baking their own sour dough treats. The kit even comes with a small portion of Jane Dough, Katie’s special starter.

The Wonky Loaf now makes nine varieties of bread and par-baked pizza bases. The sourdough baguette even made the cut for Sir Elton John’s dressing room during his Sunshine Coast performances!

Benefits of eating sourdough

Better for gut health and nutrient absorption

  • Easier to digest
  • May be better for controlling blood sugar than standard white bread
  • Can be higher in folate
  • Low FODMAP

Be sure to check that any sourdough you buy is the real deal and is made using a sourdough starter. See our list of local sourdough artisans below.

Slow food that’s great for sharing

Over at Ten Acres bakery and farm in Ninderry, Melody and Jamie Flood harness the naturally occurring wild yeasts in organic and sustainable flours and slowly ferment their dough using age-old methods.

Their range includes some traditional favourites such as the Ten Acres Farm Loaf and more creative combinations such as the Raisin, Fennel and Orange Loaf. They’re also supporting the circular economy by using spent grain from the brewing process at Brouhaha Brewery in their multigrain loaf, which is a hit with customers.

Melody believes that our ancient connection to bread making and the way bread brings people together are part of its appeal.

“Bread is alluring. It’s a chance to create something from nothing. The act of sharing bread also brings people together, whether it’s family members across a dining table or neighbours over a fence. Handmade bread is a nourishing food that is appreciated and relished,” she said.

Less guilty pleasures

Contemplating how to serve a fresh crusty loaf is one of life’s less guilty pleasures.

  • At Harvest Breads, a menu favourite is the turkey, avocado and chilli lime aioli on toasted sourdough.
  • For Katie, it’s home-made toppings all the way! Her favourites are Wonky Loaf Wholegrain topped with liver pate or the Olive Loaf with hommus.
  • For Melody, nothing beats the simplicity of a 100% spelt loaf, still warm, with butter.

What’s your favourite sourdough topper? We’d love you to share in the comments below.

Where to get sourdough on the Sunshine Coast

If you’re keen to try making your own, check out The rise of sourdough at home for some tips from Sunshine Coast home bakers.

Know of another sourdough artisan on the Sunshine Coast? Please let us know below so we can update this list.

Know of an individual, community group or business doing something good for the planet on the Sunshine Coast? We would love to hear about it! Send us an email or share in the comments below.

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