For such an upmarket fit-out, Rise Authentic Bakery’s vision is surprisingly simple: offer the best artisan bakery products and a culturally-rich experience.
It takes a minute or so to fully absorb the refined, cosmopolitan vibe of Rise Authentic Bakery and the larger Harbourside Market in which it is nestled.
The bakery has taken on a modern French form, with the bread displays set into the walls. The shop is lavished with black marble, which not only exudes sophistication, but also cleverly draws the eye to the golden hues of the loaves and the vibrant colours of the fine pastries.
As impressive as this fit-out is however, Rise’s real point of difference is its product range; lovingly hand-crafted by a team of artisan purists. The full-time staff, which consist of three pastry chefs and one bread specialist, are truly masters of their trade.
Pastry chef Jesse Downes – well-known for his 100 per cent organic sourdough and lighter, long-ferment yeast breads – was brought into the Rise at the bakery’s inception. His holistic mantra; ‘if it is not a high-quality product, why bother?’, helped shape the bakery’s direction, particularly its sourdough leanings. And being the perfectionist he is, it should come as no surprise both Jesse and owner Rick Cassagrande sought out a production manager and head baker who shared similar ideas.
“We approached Tim Dillon because he possessed the unique set of skills needed to open Rise Authentic Bakery. He had, and still has, the passion and vision to lead Rise forward while keeping central the integrity of the production processes and ingredient quality,” Rick says.
Tim is heavily influenced by his time in Europe, which is not suprising considering he learnt his trade in the Spanish town of Zaragoza. His two years spent baking in various regions of France – including Alsace, the Alps and Paris – is clearly evident in Rise’s product range, with most of the bakery’s breads stone-baked and crusty.
“Our 30-year-old sourdough culture is central to the bakery and is one of a number of preferments we utilise to bring flavour and life to our breads,” Tim says.
Indeed, the bakery prides itself on its long fermentation production methods, which draw out the natural flavours of the grain and culture, while also improving digestibility and lowering the glycemic index (GI) of the bread.
“Food digestibility and GI are issues that are becoming more and more relevant in today’s society,” Tim notes.
“At Rise, we are focused on making a positive impact in that regard and we are happy to be part of a small, but ever-growing, brand of bakeries leading by example for positive change.”
For Tim, an important part of this process is educating the public to understand the difference between products made in-house at Rise and what he refers to as “the generic fairy-floss-textured short fermentation breads” a lot of Australians are accustomed to.
“A key part of our job is engaging with our customers and sharing the knowledge that beyond texture and flavour, these types of breads are actually the healthier option,” Tim says.
“The breads are all preservative-free, with brioche being the only bread that contains sugar; that’s a game-changer for a lot of people.”
Not surprisingly, the bakery attracts a lot of customers with European backgrounds, who are nostalgic for tastes of home. However, in the eight months the bakery has been open, the team have noticed a distinct rise in the number of customers looking for something special for a dinner party or a family gathering.
“The tastes of our day-to-day customers are certainly becoming more adventurous. Our best selling bread is our sourdough baguette, which is not surprising because it is free from commercial yeast and is hand-shaped in the French tradition,” Tim says.
“But other more niche products are quickly rising up the ranks, including the Brownie Fondant; ganached two-ways with a melting centre and garnished with shards of biscuit from our talented Japanese pastry chef Nobuki Matsmura, who has more than two decades of experience.
“Nobuki’s combination of French, Australian and Japanese influences certainly make for a unique and decadent display that is a pleasure to admire and of course, devour!”
A lot of the machinery used in the bakery is imported from France, including a Bongard Cervap four-deck gas oven, which is not manufactured in Australia. Heated through steam-filled tubes that snake around each deck, Tim says the oven produces a solidness of heath that typical bread ovens don’t achieve.
“The stone-deck oven is ideal for crusty breads, especially traditional baguettes.”
Nonetheless, Tim is quick to point out that when it comes to local produce, French isn’t always best.
“It’s important for us to use quality local ingredients and to support Australian industries as much as possible. We source our flour from Weston Milling, which mills locally in Queensland.”
This includes ingredients for the bakery’s gourmet pies and quiches, which are, of course, made with full butter pastry rather than margarines.
“Our meats are sourced from our neighbouring butcher at Harbourside Market and where possible, we will source all our fresh ingredients from within the centre,” Tim adds.
In fact, Rise’s staff strive to bring as little as possible into the store, with all pastry made on-site by the pastry chef. Even the Harbourside Market’s deli-chef is called on regularly to provide fillings for various baked goods.
“We definitely shy away from modern shortcuts! We are purists in every sense,” Tim says.