Last week I learnt a few things about bread. Firstly, never put bread in the fridge – a common mistake. It sucks all the moisture out of the loaf, drying it out. Ideally keep bread in a calico bag – it’s the best way to store your loaf. Secondly, not all bakers work through the night and live a crazy nocturnal existence. And thirdly, the amount of time it takes to make bread is equal to the time it takes before it starts to go stale. For Brasserie Bread, the process takes two days. Food for thought.
This knowledge all comes straight from the horse’s mouth during a grand tour of the new Brasserie Bread depot in South Melbourne, the project of a Sydney bakery that is all about making the daily loaf a quality, artisan product.
In Sydney, Brasserie is known as one of the city’s finest bakers, supplying cafes, restaurants and providores with its wares. It all began over a decade ago in Bayswater, New South Wales and today Brasserie Bread is a huge wholesale operation. But perhaps more importantly, it draws a take-home clientele that are passionate about artisan bread.
It was only a week ago that the large warehouse space – perched in an industrial backstreet next to a panel beater – opened it doors, after these Sydney bakers transported their starter by road over three days, feeding the hungry beast along the way.
A big step with equally big ambitions, Brasserie Bread have taken over 100 square metres of baking space, with five fulltime bakers on board – three for bread, two for pastry. This allows them to run a daytime operation, rather than through the night like so many bakers.
From the café, you full view out to the fiery-hot oven and dough kneader out back from a large bay window. Indeed, the Brasserie vision isn’t about keeping secrets. As much as the team love making good bread, they also love providing an insight into the process. Being privy to the production line is all part of the experience. The large, bright open dining space welcomes patrons to sample crusty bread and flaky pastries along with Allpress coffee. Sit down for breakfast or lunch (think sourdough pancakes, sandwiches or crumbed potato cakes) and pick up a loaf to take home. They are also holding bread-making classes for kids on Saturdays (soon for adults too).
Providing sliced loaves to an airline is already on their agenda from the Melbourne premises, but they plan to supply cafes and restaurants down here too, as they do in Sydney. Brasserie currently has 15 different styles of bread on offer (rye, 6 seed, brioche, quinoa & soya bean and schiacciata among them), though their sourdough is still the favourite.
And though we’ll undoubtedly be seeing more of these guys and their bread (marked by a distinctive ‘B’ insignia) around town, it’s best you check out their South Melbourne bakery for yourself. Put simply, it’s rather impressive.
150 Thistlethwaite Street, South Melbourne
1300 966 845