“I don’t want people eating crap bread.”
As far as snappy mission statements for bakeries go, this one-liner from Rhiannon Moon is a good one.
Since 2017, Moon and her partner Sam Dawson have operated Bred Co, a tiny bakery selling exceptional sourdough at the weekly Saturday Albany Farmers Market. For more than three years, the two self-taught bakers mixed, fermented and baked their bread in locations throughout Albany, including after hours at the restaurant they worked at and in a space at regional business incubator the Albany Business Centre. In September, the couple opened a bricks and mortar site that made it possible for locals and visitors to score great bread and baked goods daily rather than weekly.
Bred Co looks a lot like your contemporary modern-day bakery-cafe. Display cases are stocked with pastries, takeaway sandwiches and sausage rolls. Dainty baguettes and well-burnished loaves line the wall behind the counter, the breads cleverly held in place with pins. Customers steadily trickle in through the day, some occasionally pausing to enjoy purchases and coffee at the communal blond-wood table in the cosy yet airy space, or out on benches by the pavement. And then you notice the flour stone mill in the window separating the cafe from the bakery.
Made in Austria by Osttiroler Getreidemühlen, this good-looking bit of bakery kit is an integral part of the Bred Co story. Rather than purchasing flour, most of the flour used in the bakery is stone milled on-site from whole grains: a crucial detail that produces flour that’s more nutritious and “alive” than pre-milled flour. (Think drinking freshly squeezed orange juice compared to juice out of a carton). The decision to go with a stone mill is also important. Compared to other forms of milling, stone-milling is a gentler process that produces less heat and friction.
“Cold flour is good flour,” says Dawson as he shows me the mill. “The big stones are like massive heat sinks that help keep your flour cool. That way you’re going to preserve much more nutrition and the fatty acids and esters [in the flour] aren’t going to go rancid as quick.”
The other big ah-ha moment comes from the grain itself. A chance meeting with regenerative farmers Penny and Dale Goodwin of Goodies Farm at the markets not only provided Moon and Dawson with the opportunity to source whole grains direct, it’s also allowed them to work with specific varieties of wheat and other grains: something not always possible when purchasing wheat in larger volumes. Once a week, the Goodwins drive 70 kilometres from their farm in Kendenup to Albany to deliver grain to Bred Co as well as pick up grain and coffee grounds for use in their worm farm and throughout their property.
At the moment, Bred Co bakes two single-origin sourdoughs made with flours milled in-house: a wheat flour from calingiri, a wheat strain that produces creamy tasting bread, and a flour from triticale, a wheat and rye hybrid more commonly grown as a stock feed with a sour, nutty flavour that reflects its mixed parentage. For those with an appetite for locally grown and made food, it’s hard to think of bread with a stronger sense of place than these.
Although it’s still early days for these single-origin breads and flours (Dawson: “If anyone wants to grow something interesting for us, get in touch”), Bred Co’s owners are confident there’s a demand for breads with this level of provenance.
“We couldn’t believe how good this stuff was,” says Moon of being able to work with farm-direct grains. “I wanted to show it to everyone.”
“We’re really interested in regrowing the original grain economy,” says Dawson. “The way it used to be was every town had a mill and bakers would use that flour. But then centralisation came along and all the flour was made shelf-stable and inert. We’re really keen to buy single-origin local wheat, name it, and celebrate its unique characteristics – not homogenise it.”
In addition to outstanding sourdough loaves, Bred Co also does a fine line in bakery classics. The pork and pear sausage roll, for example, is made with flaky butter puff crust, and the farce is gently worked and studded with fruit to keep things juicy. Brownies are sweet and bitter in all the right places. Blond and crisp croissants are lightweight and buttery (leftover croissant dough is formed into square “loaves” that are used to make the bakery’s cheese and ham toasties). Continental roll baguettes and an egg salad and lettuce sandwich are typical of the comforting pre-made sandwiches offered. Coffee is from Denmark roaster Stash Coffee.
1/15 Albany Highway, Albany
(08) 9842 6379
Mon to Fri 6.30am–4pm
Sat & Sun 6.30am–2pm