The last few months have given us a whole new appreciation for sourdough and those who make it. It’s not easy getting that perfectly crisp crust and balanced tartness. In fact, it’s quite hard. “People came and bought one or two bags of flour [during lockdown], but on the third time they’d just buy bread,” Berkelo founder Tom Eadie tells Broadsheet.
With business a little quieter than usual thanks to coronavirus – and the 40-odd restaurants he services temporarily closed – Eadie thought it was a good time to open the corner-store concept he’d been thinking about for a while.
Just a short stroll from Chica Bonita Manly, the new shop is the fourth Eadie has opened. (The other outposts are in Brookvale, Mosman and Mona Vale.) It’s stocked with fruit from Block11 Organics (usually found at Carriageworks Farmers Markets); house-made sourdough pasta; an assortment of teas made from dehydrated produce such as pineapple sage, native river mint and rosella (a hibiscus-like flower), all sourced from Berkelo’s Terrey Hills farm; and plenty of tasty things to take away. When Broadsheet visited there was a corned beef and kimchi sandwich; custard tarts; and a miso, beef and potato pie served with a side of house-fermented chilli sauce.
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But everyone knows that what really brings the crowds to Berkelo is the bread.
There’s the signature sourdough, as well as its brown bread made from khorasan flour (an ancient grain), rye, toasted malt and NSW honey. Also the sprouted grain loaf (a modern take on multigrain with linseed, lentil sprouts, buckwheat sprouts and rolled spelt); olive bread; and fruit loaf.
What makes Berkelo one of the best in the business? Perhaps the fact that it’s one of the only bakeries in the state with an in-house stone mill.
“Because we have our own mill we can buy [wheat] direct from farmers,” explains Eadie. “We like to switch up our suppliers and notice differences like you would with single-origin coffee beans.”
But Berkelo’s success also has a lot to do with its approach. The loaves contain no artificial additives and are left to naturally leaven, spending at least 18 hours cold fermenting.
It’s not just the bread that’s high quality here. Berkelo Manly is partnering with Single O to sell filtered coffee through Single O’s self-service batch-brew tap system, which until now has only been available at the flagship Surry Hills cafe.
“Not only is the filtered coffee delicious, but we also liked the idea of gently directing people to drink black coffee,” explains Eadie. “It fits in with our practical expression of consuming simple, local food.”
Eadie feels Berkelo and Single O are aligned in their approach to sourcing and sustainability, and in that spirit he’s introducing Claycup’s Cupbank scheme. When customers buy one of Claycup’s reusable ceramic cups, not only do they get their first filtered coffee for free, they can then participate a cup swap-and-go scheme whenever they buy a new coffee.
18A Whistler Street, Manly
Mon to Sun 7am–2pm