“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts!” This quotation is credited to a man who knew a little bit about food – American chef, cookbook author, teacher and television personality James Beard. Beard was a staunch advocate of cooking which incorporated fresh, wholesome ingredients. As such, it is safe to say that Beard would agree that all bread is not created equally. On the one hand, you have commercial bread, that which dominates the market and, quite frankly, leaves much to be desired. On the other hand, you have what can be aptly described as “proper” bread, bread that nourishes, satisfies and reminds one that life is essentially good and is something worthy of celebration. In 2016, wife-husband team Mia and Mike Russell started a small bakery, Baker Bleu, in Elsternwick with the intention of creating ethical and delicious sourdough bread for all Melburnians to enjoy. In 2019, after being lovingly and overwhelmingly embraced by the local community, the Russells moved their facility to a much-needed larger space in Caulfield North. “In today’s fast-paced world, Baker Bleu tries to bring back the joys of real bread.” With Baker Bleu as your trusted guide, prepare to say goodbye to commercial bread and hello to the genuine article.
Delicious, ethical sourdough bread, pastries and groceries are the Baker Bleu raison d’être. The company considers itself an essential part of a strong local community of farmers, producers, restaurants and cafes. The highest quality ingredients form the foundation of the Baker Bleu product, and its team continues to generate the utmost respect for the planet, producers and products created. This respect, coupled with a generous dose of patience – a necessary ingredient, as the primary process incorporating the ancient techniques of long-fermentation sourdough requires 48 hours to complete – results in an offering that is meant to be shared and enjoyed. Make no mistake, this is a bona fide labour of love, the fruits of which connect the past with the present by utilising all-natural ancient grains and embracing modern baking innovations. It could even be argued that this particular bread contains a direct ancestral link; for, this is the food on which the evolution of humanity has inextricably been built!
Baker Bleu, Prahran
Baker Bleu, Prahran
Baker Bleu, Prahran
Since sourdough plays such a crucial role in all things Baker Bleu, it is important to understand what makes it particularly special. To begin with, sourdough is a traditional bread-making technique dating back to Ancient Egypt. The bread is leavened with natural microorganisms, or wild yeast, versus commercial yeast. This technique results in a naturally fermented food that contains gut-benefitting probiotics. Furthermore, the 48-hour fermentation process – as mentioned prior – assists in the bread’s digestion. Generally speaking, naturally produced lactic acid decreases what’s called phytic acid, improving the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Finally, sourdough possesses a lower glycemic index compared to commercial bread due to its natural acidity. Considering the plethora of health benefits, it is easy to understand why sourdough is the go at Baker Bleu. Its taste and texture are unsurpassed, as well. The team’s preference for a dark crust is indicative of a long fermentation process, a bread tip worth saving, and the carmelising of the natural sugars. The dark crust produces a richer flavour and chewier texture, which provides a pleasant contrast to the moist crumb. Interestingly, the pre-industrialisation of bread favoured darker loaves. Do with that what you will.
Remember, it is never too late to discard the average for the sublime, to quit old habits and start anew, particularly in relation to the enjoyment of life and the maintenance of health and wellbeing. This is to say, plainly and simply, people deserve to eat proper bread. Embrace the unique flavours and health properties of heritage and heirloom wheat – including emmer, khorasan, spelt, purple wheat and einkorn – as well as ancient non-wheat varieties, like rye, barley and oats. Baker Bleu feels immensely grateful and privileged to provide bread to the local community. Take advantage of their generosity and treat yourself, once and for all, to the real deal. Visit Baker Bleu at 3/546 Malvern Road, Hawksburn Village.