Ox The Baker
Ox Noonan bakes loaves using only four ingredients: organic flour, filtered water, salt and a leaven that dates back to the 1880s. The result is a sourdough completely free of anything artificial.
One of Ox’s signature loaves – a double-fermented sourdough – takes 96 hours to ferment. Noonan says the closely guarded recipe has “a high failure rate” and took a lifetime to perfect.
Noonan’s local suppliers include Sultana Girl, based on the NSW side of the Murray, while his olives come from the northern Grampians. Along with sourdough, pies and sausage rolls, customers can also pick up treats like Otway Walnuts’ walnut, blood plum and brandy jam, or a bottle of “living ginger beer” from the Healthy Humans range. A bright silver Victoria Arduino lever espresso machine – another nod to now-uncommon techniques – makes the most of St Ali’s new Manufactum blend.
The heritage-listed Emerald Hill Terrace location has raw brick walls and a dark wooden floor, offset by lighter sections of wall panelling and a blond wood counter. A marble workbench dominates the bakery, and a 10-seater bar along the window offers space where visitors can sip their coffee.
Noonan’s daughter created the intricate black and white mural that decorates the back wall. Its honeycomb and flower motifs are a reminder of Noonan’s previous life as a beekeeper. As a finishing touch, his mother’s antique measuring cups watch over the bakery from a high shelf.