Bread is the most widely consumed food on earth whose very name itself denotes staple nourishment. Yet it is one of the foods that we have the least knowledge about, let alone where its ingredients come from.
‘Provenance’ – knowing exactly where food ingredients come from – has not been a concern of commercial bread makers…until now. Their concerns have been about the longevity of the loaf.
Have you ever wondered why some types of bread can stay on the bench without going mouldy? If you look on the back of some supermarket bread labels to check the ingredients, you might get quite a shock, as Choice explains:
“Processing ingredients you’ll commonly see are mineral salt 170 (calcium carbonate) and ascorbic acid (food acid 300 or treatment agent 300), otherwise known as vitamin C. Emulsifiers (427e, 481, 471), vegetable gums (412, 461) and amino acid 920 speed up dough handling, help sliced bread retain its shape and extend shelf life… mould retardant, calcium propionate, or 282, [sometimes substituted with propionic acid (280)] is the best-known preservative of public concern.” (Choice website)
Simple wholesome bread, it seems, had become far more complex.
Michael Klausen, co-founder of Brasserie Bread, had a different vision. Klausen started making sourdough at the Bayswater Brasserie, where he worked with Tony Papas (of Allpress Coffee). They established Brasserie Bread in 2000, aiming to fill the gap in the market for high-quality, artisan-made sourdough bread, using impeccably-sourced simple ingredients.
In July 2015, Brasserie Bread expanded to the Gold Coast, their first bread delivered to outlets two months later.
There are several factors that make Brasserie Bread different to other bakeries, Queensland Sales Manager Matthew Apps explains as we do a private tour of the factory:
“Brasserie Bread is proud to be the only bakery in Australia offering an entire bread range that is single origin produced.”
Brasserie Bread can trace the flour in every loaf, roll, cake or pastry they make back to the growers. Brasserie Bread’s range are all single origin grain breads that carry unique tastes reflecting the character and mood of the region where the wheat has been grown.
Working directly with farmers in the Southern Flinders Ranges and Gwydir Shire, their wheat is grown specifically for them, the farms chosen for their sustainable methods. There’s a synergy and symbiotic relationship between planting and production; a total produce management vision that gives flavour and production stability to the bread maker while allowing farmers to carry on traditional farming using new technological advances and sustainable farming techniques to grow the finest grain possible in both flavour and nutritional value, perfect for sourdough.
“If you visited these farms, watched their crop rotation with chick peas, sorghum and cotton to open up the soil, you’d see the difference in how the land is treated. That’s where our wheat come from. We even have Brasserie Bread’s name on the side of silos,” Matt says.
Following through with production, there are no shortcuts in the breadmaking process. Brasserie Bread’s sourdough undergoes a 48 to 52-hour production turnaround time. Using a 21-year-old lovingly tended natural yeast starter added to only three ingredients – flour, salt and water, the sourdough is left to ferment, rise and prove over two days, allowing the gluten to break down and the flavour to develop. These are all factors in making true sourdough easier to digest than other breads, giving the side benefits of flavour and texture.
Little wonder then that Brasserie Bread’s Flinders Ranges Sprouted Wheat was honoured to receive Champion Bread in the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show. Made from wheat traceable to the Flinders Ranges and added ground up sprouted wheat grains for texture, nuttiness, and wholegrain goodness, this is our favourite bread. Superb!
Why is sprouted grain important? Sprouting activates natural enzymes that not only make the grain more easily digestible, it also decreases the presence of gluten and is said to reduce the presence of ‘anti-nutrients’ or nutrient absorption inhibitors.
Education is a major component of Brasserie Bread’s mission, the Sydney factory running breadmaking classes for both children and adults, as well as team-building sessions.
Although the Gold Coast factory now produces 66 lines of baked goods distributed to outlets from boutique cafés to large hotels, Matt tells us that they are presently working on expansion of the range, trialling new flours to produce different styles of bread, such as an ancient grain bread made with emmer, and a brewer’s loaf using spent grain from Newstead Brewery (one of their customers).
While Brasserie Bread’s factory is not open to the public, Brasserie Bread is available for purchase at the following retail outlets: Manolas Bros., Ambarella Fine Foods, Barbosa Fine Foods, plus it’s coming soon to Bundall Farmer’s Market. You’ll also enjoy it at many of your favourite cafes.
1/16 Activity Cres, Molendinar QLD 4214 (Factory – not open to the public)
Ph: 1300 966 845
NOTE: This review has also been published in BlankGC.