Bakers, millers and growers converged on Sydney to make grAiNZ 2017 a hub of innovation and creativity.
The first time I visited Dust Bakery, Cesare Salemi mentioned that a gathering of like-minded bakers and millers would be getting together this year in Sydney. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, as I’d not been before. At least not to a baking event of this ilk.
I was fortunate enough to attend some of the workshops and presentations and meet lots of enthusiastic bakers from all over Australia as well as New Zealand.
Some interesting presentations included:
• bread dough making techniques
• hand moulding/shaping
• novel recipes and creative products
• laminating dough for pastries
• grain varieties
• milling techniques
• baking techniques
• gluten-free bread baking
• stoneground fruit cake
• minimising waste.
It was refreshing to hear the journeys and sourdough stories from the likes of John Reid of Redbeard Historic Bakery in Victoria. John demonstrated what appears to be his signature bread—100 per cent rye with that wonderful dark colour and complex flavoured crumb full of whole rye grain. The wood-fired brick oven in Redbeard Bakery is a true piece of working history.
Emily Salkeld of Small World Bakery in Langhorne Creek in South Australia had interesting things to show and demonstrate. Growing old world grains, almost forgotten and almost gone, with flour milling are on Emily’s agenda.
Many others demonstrated and presented innovative ideas:
Michael James of Tivoli Road Bakery
Cesare Salemi of Dust Bakery
James Fischer of Rolling Stone Mills
Ian Lowe, Nick Boskell and Ian Pope of Apiece Bakery
Dan Watts of Bread Circle
Tom Eadie of Berkelo
Jessica Pedemont Chocolatier
Daniel Cruden of Amano Bakery New Zealand
Nonie Dwyer of Nonie’s Foods
Steve Anderson and John Ralley of Textbook Bakery
Jonny Pisanelli of Abbots & Kinney
Craig Neale from Wholegrain Milling Company
Pepe Saya from Pepe Saya Butter Company
Kim Marieh of The Bakehouse in Portland.
I couldn’t attend all the workshops but those I did see, hear and taste provided food for thought. Many more bakers—too numerous to mention—also attended and spoke at grAiNZ.
All the presenters shared their philosophy of viewing all food, bread in particular, as nutrition with beauty, flavour and variety. This of course means quality ingredients (better variety of grains grown sustainably) stone-milled flours, and skilled techniques to enhance complex flavours. All this is the result of creative thinking, dedication to quality workmanship and pride in the labour of hands and minds—a manu et mente (with hand and mind) approach. It’s always refreshing to see enthusiasm for those things that we value most.
At the completion of the second day, Two providores put on a great wrap-up with a discussion panel at their premises in Marrickville, chaired by Rebecca Bernstone—good food for thought, good company and great eating.
Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to attend the workshops on fruitcake with stoneground, pastry laminating, butter and dairy, but there’s always next year.
Thanks again to all who made the event memorable, enjoyable and inspirational.
What can I say, it was such an honour to be included in a monumental delicious affair! GrAiNZ is a non-profit gathering where people like myself donate our time and effort to the legacy and the meaning of the purpose. The people, grain, soil, love, care, baking, making, participating… it had me spinning out of my socks, and it was held in my hometown, Sydney.
We couldn’t find a solo venue that could accommodate all of us, so we split the crowd into two groups. Still we had baking enthusiasts wall-to-wall and people like myself wishing we could be in two places at once. The event could have sold out three times over; tickets were like gold.
Unlike Boris, I attended the other two locations on the Monday and Tuesday, including the group dinner on Monday evening at Dust. Boris and I compiled our notes and recipes, which came in the individual goodie bags.
Many shared their perspective by sharing photos, videos and words on Instagram using the hashtag #grAiNZ2017 so we could all connect and find each other while being mobile the whole time.
I’d never shared my Christmas cake-like pudding recipe before—it’s basically the only recipe I’d never shared. Last year, when ancient grain bok became available to me through Cez at Dust Bakery I replaced all flour content over. This gave my end result not only more substance and meaning, but delicious flavour and structure. I love supporting Australian products and buying quality ingredients with substance, soul and merit so this ticked all the boxes. I put so much care into the journey with that recipe, some 10-plus Christmases. Now that recipes seem a dime a dozen on the internet, many don’t appreciate what I give to the heart I have grown them with.
Cez was very much the Godfather of the crew and without him giving it his all, like so many others, GrAiNZ 2017 wrap-up never would have happened or been so successful. It took a village, and our family of bakers just got a little closer—no one wanted the week to end. Some people even came further a field than Australia and New Zealand; how incredible is that!
Anyone can attend, so keep a look out for next year. I wonder where it will be? I hope I can make it.
* In Melbourne in 2014, a small group of craft bakers, millers and growers met to share ideas and techniques. It was the start of an annual meeting dubbed GrAiNZ 2017 wrap-up. This year, Dust Bakery in Sydney hosted GrAiNZ 2017 wrap-up. Jessica Pedemont and Boris Gaspar share their experience of the event.