We use our own natural 'Leaven Starters' in our sourdough breads. Three starters have been cultivated. One for traditional wheat based Sourdough, one for the rye and spelt based breads and one for our baguettes and pastry. Although Burleigh Baker is only two and a half years old, Geoff obtained the starters over 20 years ago from a bakery in France. The leavens are a combination of two naturally occurring organisms; a culture like lactobacillus (one of the essential gut probiotics) and natural occurring native yeasts. These two work in a symbiotic manner. The probiotics digest the starches, and complex carbohydrates produce the natural preservative and flavour of lactic acid. This leaves sugars as an output and the yeast then lives off the simpler sugars to produce the essential CO2 or 'bubbles' as we see contained in the dough. The glutens are then expanded by gas as the baker applies heat from the oven. This effectively creates the infrastructure that holds the bread up and generates the crumb and crust as we know it. Our customers who have previously experienced "gluten intolerance" find that the fully fermented carbohydrates in our sourdough breads can be eaten without side effect. This has allowed people who could previously not eat bread to enjoy it's nutrition and flavour!
The starter cultures are fed every 12 hours and used continuously in the bread making process. Effectively some portion of today's bread is held over and used to develop the leaven for tomorrow's bread. The starters are fed using organic flour and purified water. These natural leavens are very sensitive to any 'inorganic' contamination in both the water and the flour. In other words, take the best ingredients possible, ensure they are free from contamination and additives, keep the mechanical processing to a minimum, allow time to ensure complete fermentation promoting digestibility and to allow the leavens to complete their flavour development. Then finally an artisan baker handcrafts each loaf.
The wonderful hues of our breads come from fermented carbohydrates in the dough that caramelize in the baking process.
20 Years Of Culture
Artisan Sourdough Bread
Crafting the best sourdough bread is a journey that all starts with the ingredients. We use only certified organic/sustainable flour, leaven, sea salt and filtered water. In line with our 'food integrity' values we use a long, cool fermentation process to develop the doughs’ complex flavours and optimise digestibility and taste. As artisans we hand form all of our bread, keeping mechanical process to a minimum. The loaves are baked using stone hearths and radiated heat. Every ingredient and step in our artisan bread making process is focused on upholding natural food integrity, flavour, nutritional value and digestibility.
The dough undergoes 18 to 36 hours of slow, cool temperature fermentation and proofing. This is where the flavour development is optimised and more importantly the natural leavens (which contain probiotics and a native yeast) are allowed to do their work, converting flour into great tasting digestible bread. This is effectively the same methodology used in the production of other fermented foods, such as cheese, wine, beer and sausage. As grapes are fermented to produce fine wine, malt barley to produce beer and milk to produce yoghurt or cheese, so flour is fermented to produce sourdough bread. No short cuts, no compromise, rather patience and artisan skills combined with natural starter cultures to do the work. Burleigh Baker uses cultures and starters from Geoff that are 25 years old and originate from a bakery in France. The outcome of our work is not only bread that has those memorable subtle sourdough flavours, but just as importantly, very digestible nutritious loaves.
Cool And Slow
Natural Leaven Starter
Hand Formed Loaves
We craft all our breads by hand and minimise the involvment of mechanical aids. We use a mechanical mixer for about 3 to 5 minutes per batch of dough. The dough is divided, weighed and formed. All further kneading is completed by hand. This ensures we treat our dough with great care and never allow it to be overworked or overheated; allowing the dough to develop naturally. Nothing is forced. The forming of the loaf is also a totally manual process as is the baking in our stone hearth ovens. This is the true 'Artisan Way'. The hand and personality of each baker is evident in each and every loaf...no two are identical as each baker leaves his own expression. This can be frustrating some times if one needs perfect shape for sandwiches or the like, but it is one of the distinguishing features that makes the Burleigh Baker bread unique.