New bakery with a big taste for sourdough

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DARREN Perryman’s face lights up as he tells me that a visitor from San Francisco complimented the sourdough bread made at Autolyse, the new bakery in Braddon, saying it was the best he had eaten in Australia.

That sourdough... preservative-free, 100 per cent, all-natural sourdough is super-duper yummy, says Wendy Johnson.
That sourdough… preservative-free, 100 per cent, all-natural sourdough is super-duper yummy, says Wendy Johnson.
This is a big deal given that “San Fran’s” sourdough is the most famous made in the US today, with a history running back to California’s Gold Rush.

I love sourdough. I can’t claim to be an expert, but can tell you that Autolyse’s preservative-free, 100 per cent, all-natural sourdough is super-duper yummy.

Autolyse is on Londsdale Street, just a shop away from Elk and Pea. The white tiles, shelves of freshly baked bread, aroma of coffee, and the overall bakery feel is what you’d expect from a Parisian-type bakery. What is super special is the eight-metre long bench at the back, in the centre of the open-concept area, where you can watch bread being made all day long. This is the hub and it’s a busy one at that.

The concept for Autolyse is simple, by design. No lengthy menus. Order freshly made light meals, bakery products and coffees at the counter, grab a seat and away you go. Outdoor tables are in the sun with a feature wall with work by a local artist.

We arrived when Autolyse had more or less just opened. As you’d expect of a top-notch bakery, you can buy wonderful loaves of breads, delicious tarts, sandwiches, croissants – the lot.

Autolyse... the new bakery in Braddon.
Autolyse… the new bakery in Braddon.
My slow-cooked lamb shank sandwich, a daily special, was comforting. Big chunks of tender meat in a rich sauce, with the bread soaking up the juices. It was served on a wooden board with a bit of undressed salad on the side. My round blueberry tart was very artisan like, as were the flaky croissants with generous amounts of dark, rich chocolate hidden in the middle.

My friend settled on simple toast with Vegemite – a bit difficult to cut with the small, plastic knives provided, but that’s a problem Autolyse has identified and will fix. Indeed, all little glitches are being quickly ironed out by the seasoned team in charge – Darren (Alto and First Floor), Micky Gubas (Alto) and Miriana Cavic (Milk and Honey).

All breads are hand-made with imported French flour – Autolyse accepts delivery of 60 25-kilogram bags every Monday (glad it’s not me hauling them into the kitchen). The seedy variety is made with linseed, chai and quinoa. Or you can try the wholemeal, rye or the wonderful sourdough.

Autolyse, by the way, describes the extra rest period for the dough used by artisan bakers. This extra rest ensures optimum moisture and texture.

Shop 5, 21 Lonsdale Street, open seven days breakfast and lunch from 6am weekdays and 7am weekends. Call 6262 8819.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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