Sydney’s Fairfield town centre is spoilt for choice with 15 bakeries representing all corners of the globe.
You will never be short of interesting bread to try at Sydney’s Fairfield City. Fifteen bakers from all corners of the globe have set up shop in Fairfield, bringing with them the knowledge, expertise, tradition and baking techniques of their homeland. From Turkey’s pide and Italy’s ciabatta to Chile’s hallula, Sydneysiders converge in Fairfield to get their international bread fix.
Promoting the city’s local bakeries is Fairfield city centre co-ordinator, Helen Pijaca. Ms Pijaca spear-headed the publication of Fairfield’s Breads of Farfield Town Centre: A City of Loaves brochure, which has been helping local bakeries by promoting the multi-cultural breads on offer to locals and visitors.
“We decided to celebrate Fairfield City’s diverse cultural community by sharing the authentic cultural dishes we are so fortunate to have,” Ms Pijaca said.
“We wanted the whole community to know about and enjoy the abundance of fresh traditional breads baked within Fairfield City.”
One of the bakeries enjoying the positive attention is Afghan & Arab Bakery on Nelson Street. Owner Habib Afghan-Baig worked under his father as a baker in Afghanistan before arriving in Australia in 1999. Making ends meet as a factory worker, he decided to return to his trade and opened his bakery with its unique tannur bread oven in 2008.
“Because I’m baking in a tannur oven, everyone who passes by can smell it. (It) smells very nice. It’s really healthy bread,” he said.
The bread is long and flat with ridges and he can slap up to 1000 discs of dough on the oven wall every day. Mr Afghan-Baig said Sydney’s Arabic community came from all over Sydney to sample his bread, which he also delivers to 60 shops throughout the Sydney area.
Baking boat-shaped samoon bread in a pizza style oven at Al-Baghdady Bakery is Walid Saleh. The bakery sells bread made simply from water, salt, flour and yeast as well as Iraqi delicacies such as sesame biscuits.
Mr Saleh’s family escaped from post-war Iraqi to Jordan in 1994 before coming to Australia in 1997. Mr Saleh’s 19-year-old daughter Randa helps out in the bakery and enjoys working with food. She said that customers enjoyed coming to Fairfield due to its unique mix of cultures.
“We’ve got all sorts of (customers), we’ve got Middle Eastern, Asian, Australian, South American. We’ve got all of the cultures coming in and trying it,” she said.
With visitors and locals enjoying the broad range of tastes and textures available, Ms Pijaca said that she was proud of what her city has to offer.
“It is exciting that you can find all these multi-cultural breads together in one place in Australia – and that it is Fairfield,” Ms Pijaca said.
Nan-e Afghani is the national bread of Afghanistan; it’s also known as naan. Black cumin or caraway seeds are often sprinkled for decoration as well as for taste. Lengthwise lines are scored in the dough to add texture to the bread.Interestingly, Afghans carry their bread in cloth bags, never in plastic.
Who would have guessed that it takes 20 seconds to bake Lebanese bread in a 400°C oven? This bread is not too hot to handle, as it’s cooled by a powerful conveyer belt and is ready to eat in seconds.
Ciabatta translated means ‘slipper’ and that is what it looks like. Every Italian grandma has a recipe for this bread. Nonna’s secret ingredient is a generous amount of olive oil. A thin crispy crust gives it crunch and it is a must with a hearty soup.
Rosca de chicharron
Rosca de Chicharrón is a favourite amongst Argentinians and Uruguayans. This bread is filled with delicious pork crackling and used to accompany any meal. Enjoy a piece in the afternoon with the well known herbal tea called ‘Mate’.
History tells us this tasty bread can be traced back to the court of Louis XIV, the ‘Sun King’. The baguette is one of France’s best known exports. It has all of that ‘French chic’ from its distinguishable length and crispy crust. Most people know this bread as the ‘French stick’, perfect with paté, a cheese platter and a glass of red.
This versatile bread is perfect for all occasions. Turkish bread can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tear it, slice it, fill it, fry it, bake it, toast it, grill it or barbecue it.
Aiysh means ‘life’ and Egyptian bread is one of the oldest breads known to mankind. No wonder the Pharaohs had hieroglyphics of bakeries in their tombs preparing them for the ‘after life’. This bread is suitable with any kind of meal.
Iraqi’s eat many varieties of breads. The Samoon is the traditional bread of Iraq and is different to the Khubz. This boat-shaped bread is unique in taste and has a soft texture.
To make lavash bread you need a strong arm. Traditionally, the dough is rolled out flat and slapped against the hot walls of a tannur. When fresh, this Iranian bread is flexible like a tortilla. It’s easy to use and is great for sandwiches and wraps. Also known as ‘cracker bread’ it dries out quickly and becomes brittle and hard so it’s perfect for dips.