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Sydney discovers Leura

The story so far: 

After illegal origins, the Australia's first sourdough bakery and cafe, which had found its 'native  habitat' in Leura, NSW, also finds its feet. But then, just when I thought I was beginning to get the hang of it, Sydney discovered Leura.

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Sydney discovers Leura
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Heading for the hills!

In previous posts, I've talked about my bakery's illegal origins. It has always been 'the bakery that just had to be'. It couldn't wait for money or permission or public understanding of fermented bread. We are in 1993, and Australia has begun to discover, among other things, coffee.

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Heading for the hills!
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Luna Landing

After some four years of prototypes, including Bertha 1 and Bertha 2, Luna, the woodfired oven, landed. With precision.

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Luna Landing
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Legal at last

So, onwards into the future we go. This is the final part of the three part series about the Illegal Bakery. This is the bit where we go legit.

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Legal at last
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The Illegal Bakery Pt 2

The story of the Illegal Bakery so far could be summarised as follows:

'Sometimes, something's just gotta be done, and you don't have time to see if there's a rule applyin' to it' - Huckleberry Finn

The story of the Illegal Bakery continues!

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The Illegal Bakery Pt 2
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The Illegal Bakery

It's an unusual way to arrive at becoming a career baker, I know. Truth is almost always stranger than fiction, though, and this story adds weight to that argument.

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The Illegal Bakery
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My Glorious Sourdough Obsession

It's actually quite difficult to choose the point where normal existence ceased and my baking obsession took over. But that's what happened. One day, or it could have been many days, a bit at a time, I became more interested in making bread than just about anything else. 

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My Glorious Sourdough Obsession

Wholewheat Sourdough

You can use any type of sourdough starter in this recipe - liquid or dough. It's assisted by the 'porridge' of wholemeal flour prepared beforehand, through which an ideal food is made available for the sourdough yeasts to feed on.

Wholewheat Sourdough

Fifty fifty Sourdough

This delicious and deeply flavoursome bread is made using the dough starter sourdough (desem) technique. It's meant to be baked on the sole of the oven, and when you get it right, you should have a nice, open crumb - though it won't be as open as a dough made entirely on white flour. 

Fifty fifty Sourdough
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Continental Bread

Continental Bread was one of my family's staple breads. There are numerous variations on the theme of a traditional yeasted sourdough recipe. I call them all 'Semi Leaven' breads, because they contain some sourdough starter and a tiny amount of yeast, which creates a light yet flavoursome bread, with the kind of crust that's typically Italian.

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Continental Bread
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Open Crumb White Sourdough

This White Sourdough bread recipe utilises the 'dough starter' sourdough method. If you don't have starter in the dough form, it can be purchased  This bread will happily be baked in a tin, or on the sole (hearth) of the oven.

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Open Crumb White Sourdough

Basic White Sourdough

This basic white sourdough bread recipe will make two one kilo sourdough loaves. It is designed for liquid sourdough starter, but can be used with other types by simply keeping an eye on the liquid content when making the dough.

Basic White Sourdough
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Using a Desem Starter

Desem, or 'dough' starter is one of the easiest ways of making sourdough bread at home. It requires substantially less feeding than a regular liquid starter.

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Using a Desem Starter
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Healing your Starter

From time to time, starter gets a bit out of balance. Either a bit too acid, or a bit too alkali. Mostly, this comes as a result of neglect, but it can also come about from the home baker not being able to read the starter correctly.

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Healing your Starter
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Maintaining the Starter

Keeping your sourdough starter alive seems to be the thing that takes new sourdough bakers the longest to master. There's a good reason for that - I think it takes people a while to grasp the fact that sourdough starter is actually alive, not just flour and water. As such, it has its own rhythms and requirements, and it doesn't always conform to our own.

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Maintaining the Starter