The Woodfrog bakers know that one of the most important ingredients in good bread is time. In our view, real bread cannot be hurried because, like grapes in wine-making, our dough needs plenty of time to mature and for natural sugars, nutrients and flavour to be unlocked.
Loaves are hand shaped with a high moisture content, a process that results in bubbly caramelised crusts, and light and airy loaves that stay fresh long after they've been baked. Enjoy them for up to a week as crunchy toast that shatters in your mouth, loud enough to wake you for the day.
The Woodfrog Bakery began life in a big vacant furniture shop in St Kilda with a plan to create some of the finest breads imaginable, without compromise. In our arsenal was baking experience at some of Australia’s finest bread shops, an attitude to solve any problem in our path and the ability to function on very little sleep.
At the Woodfrog we ferment our sourdoughs for 28 hours, resulting in a thin caramelised crust and open moist crumb.
Our wheat sourdough starter is 7 years old and began life as a mix of rye flour and water. This began to ferment and was gradually “fed” wheat flour until it stabilised. Today it is fed a mixture of wholewheat and white flour. It is refreshed or fed three times daily.
Our sourdoughs contain no commercial yeast, and the sourness of our breads will not overpower whatever ingredient is along for the ride. Technically there is no commercial yeast in our bread, but all sourdoughs will contain naturally occurring yeasts from the air as well as lactobacillus bacteria. The yeast makes carbon dioxide and alcohol, and the bacteria make carbon dioxide and acid, which gives sourdough its sour taste. Supermarket sourdoughs will often contain added yeast as well as souring agents like vinegar.
We also have a separate spelt starter for the spelt bread.
Our loaves are baked fresh every morning in St Kilda on the stone deck of our gas-fired oven at 240 degrees and sold on the day.
We ferment our doughs between 18 to 20 hours depending on the dough. This gives a bubbly crust and moist crumb and means our bread will last longer than conventional loaves. It also means bread is lighter (less dense) and needs a VERY SHARP KNIFE to cut through. This also means our breads make very crispy toast and great croutons.
Our doughs are very wet (containing lots of water) which take great skill to mix, shape and bake and this contributes to the lightness and volume. As the steam escapes the loaf through the score we give with a razor blade, the water creates an OPEN CRUMB, as opposed to a TIGHT CRUMB as in most mass produced bread.
We use an incredibly small amount of ascorbic acid in our sourdoughs which allows our doughs to survive a very long fermentation.
There is no oil in our bread, no soy flour or added sugar.
The only breads that are not vegan are our challah and fruit buns which contains free-range eggs; and our cakes and pastries which have butter. The honey oat loaf contains honey which is not vegan friendly. All our other breads are vegetarian/vegan.
Sourdough with a touch of yeast:
By Jarrod, Chief Baker