When is a sourdough not a sourdough? That question was answered last week when a group of motivated foodies gathered for the launch of a book that takes the humble loaf and breaks new ground.
The self-published book was funded through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, so those in the know with the dough invited those who supported the campaign for a meal that celebrated all things sourdough.
The book, Beyond Bread and Butter, was unveiled at Winning Appliances in Kingston as freshly baked loaves of sourdough bread were broken and conversations were proved and leavened in the same way as the age-old bread.
The book is the collaborative effort of Three Mills Bakery owner Jarrod Deaton, baker Justin King and their growing team of chefs and helpers.
As the title suggests, the book goes well beyond what can be achieved by combining flour, water, yeast and a few specialty ingredients.
“We wanted to tell the story of how much time goes into making proper sourdough bread, and then what to do with bread instead of just turning it into toast,” says baker Justin King. “The most important ingredients are actually time and process.”
Justin said the first seeds of the book were planted about 12 months ago and became a constant process of proof-reading and proving what could actually be done with a loaf of sourdough.
“When you make standard bread, you put something in it and it grows. It’s flour, water and salt and you grow the culture, which becomes a yeast.
“This book shows how you can best use sourdough from the minute it comes out of the oven, through to when it becomes firm and stale. We wanted to show how to use the entire loaf, so no crumb goes to waste.”
The Three Mills Bakery adventure has grown in a similar way.
“What makes it special for me is that we started with four people, and now there’s 74. It’s not work for me,” Justin says as people begin kneading their own loaves of sourdough before the dinner started.
Before long, the proof is in the oven and the group moves to tables to begin the first of three courses that all feature sourdough.
The first course is obvious: fresh, warm loaves of sourdough with an assortment of dips. Flour suppliers, shopkeepers, book store owners and foodies were among those who quickly warmed to the conversation about all things bread.
The main course of a perfectly slow-roasted piece of pork is plated with roast pumpkin and a salty sourdough-encrusted roast potato that melts in your mouth. While being warned not to eat the salty sourdough crust, many are tempted to take a bite and soon find out that the potato tastes much better.
Dessert arrives and immediately, people think they have the sourdough element sorted. Of course, it’s in the crumble that lingers with the light brown ice cream that no one can pick the flavour of. But think again, it’s actually in the ice cream – rye sourdough ice cream that is simply delicious.
Chefs Zoe Young and Kit Carpenter say the rye sourdough is just the tip of the ice cream when it comes to what can be done with sourdough bread.
“There are so many ideas and we already have enough for a second book,” says Kit.
“We’re creating breads that are uniquely Australian with native ingredients that are more sustainable and reduce food and water waste. That kind of message isn’t new, but why can’t we make ice cream or miso from bread?
“We’re all about taking these age-old techniques and applying them in our own ways.”
Three Mills Bakery owner Jarrod Deaton was justifiably proud to see the circle of local suppliers, employees and people who have helped the bakery and the book come to life.
“It’s grown into something that I hadn’t imagined when we started out, and that’s wonderful to see, but like a good sourdough, you’ve got to let it grow slowly. You can’t force it and, for the most part, we’ve been able to let it all just happen,” says Jarrod.
“We like being tucked away in our little shop and we like being hard to find and so people have discovered us which is a nice part of the business.
“I’m super proud of tonight, but it’s really great for the team. Most of all, it’s about the experience of learning something or making a connection while also challenging people’s opinions of what sourdough can be.”
We look forward to more sourdough ice cream.
Beyond Bread and Butter is available from Three Mills Bakery.