Brasserie Bread

Author: y D.R. Lennox

““When I walk past the ovens and the bread is coming out, and I see the thousands of loaves of bread and they all look perfect and I think ‘wow, that is an amazing world!’””

“It was probably with some luck that I got into the bread world when the bread world started to change globally,” says Michael Klausen, whose foray into “the bread world” officially began in 2000 with the establishment
of Brasserie Bread. Today, more through design and hard work than good luck, Brasserie Bread is an esteemed artisan bakery producing sourdough,
Italian rustic, grains and spelt and specialty breads at their Sydney headquarters, as well as in Melbourne and their newly opened Brisbane operation.

The success of Brasserie Bread, however, is in spite of the
Australian palate. “Australia’s bread culture, although multicultural, is very white bread. Even the Middle Eastern flat breads are white,” Michael notes. Not that Australians are averse to trying new things, but the revolution may be slow coming – and possibly by stealth.

“We’re putting 10% wholemeal flour in all the white flour, and it brings beautiful flavours, it brings a little longer life to the product, it brings a lot of health to the product – but it’s still a white loaf of bread. That percentage will slowly go to 15% but we still need to have that texture we get from white bread. The majority of people are still looking for white bread and I don’t
think that will change for a very long time. We need to develop more products inside that category. Let’s experiment inside that; let’s have different taste experiences and structure inside it.”

Experimentation for Brasserie Bread doesn’t just occur in the bakery. In growing the wheat for their dough, Michael has adopted a similar practice to that of the wine makers’ terre noire. “We want to have complete traceability of the wheat we’re using, and that means not working through the millers. You have to start blending,” Michael explains.

That meant a year travelling around NSW and finding farmers that were connected to the concept of working directly with Brasserie Bread. “The reason they were chosen is because they have very sustainable and holistic farming techniques: looking after the soil; belief in non-use of artificial
pesticides and fertilisers; a natural way of nurturing the soil to grow the wheat. That means nutrition in the soil, and nutrition brings flavour in the wheat.”

“It’s the beginning of something new that’s pushing the industry,” Michael says, admitting that it’s all about traceability and control. And yes, perfectionism. “Running a business is not always dance and roses, and when you’re a perfectionist like me, it can be hard to deal with if we’re not hitting
the level of perfectionism that we want or are striving for. But then there are times when I walk past the ovens and the bread is coming out, and I see the thousands of loaves of bread and they all look perfect and I think ‘wow, that is an amazing world!’ And I know that is [also] happening in Brisbane and down in.

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