The frustration of not being able to buy ‘real bread’ locally prompted me to try to bake my own bread. After many batches of bread going from the oven to the garbage bin and after reading about sourdough bread I decided to give it go, baking bread the traditional way. To my delight and surprise the breads actually worked and whats more the bread tasted fantastic.
Friends and colleagues encouraged me to take the bread making one (giant) step forward, so off I went on a journey, contacting other bakers, reading about ovens, types of flour, suppliers, mills I lived and breathed bread. The decision was made that what would suit the style of bread I wanted to bake would be a woodfired brick oven.
In 2004 I made contact with Allan Scott, oven builder and sourdough bread advocate, educator and co-author of The Bread Builders. Australian born and at the time a long time resident of California, he travelled to Australia once a year to build ovens and conduct workshops. He could build me an oven in February 2005, plans were purchased and the long list of materials were ordered and delivered. The crew was assembled with bricklayers travelling from Queensland and one willing worker from Canada on her way to visit family in Canberra took a detour and lent a very helpful hand, in 7 days, 950 firebricks were laid which resulted in a fantastic brick oven being constructed.
Next step was to learn how to use this amazing oven a few trail batches of bread were either burnt to a crisp (oven too hot) or came out pale, tough and flat (oven too cold). Record keeping played an important part in getting it just right not too hot and not too cold.
Step two was to find customers and outlets for my breads, many kilometres travelled and finally a customer base was built and continues to grow. Farmers markets play an important role in supplying breads to an ever increasing number of customers who enjoy eating real bread.