Sourdough Superstars at Wonky Loaf
We know and love The Wonky Loaf for its sourdough bread that is pushed to the fermentation limit for maximum health benefits, however did you know that the team of bakers and pastry chefs make every single bakery item from sourdough? Deb Caruso discovers the Superstars of Sourdough.
Despite being around for thousands of years, sourdough really came into its own during Covid when it seemed every second household was having a crack at using this age-old process to bake bread – and sharing the results on social media.
According to The Wonky Loaf founder and sourdough superstar Katie Faulkner, it is more than a product, it’s a process that brings too many health benefits to just be applied to bread.
“From the start, we’ve been committed to using sourdough for all of our bakery products,” she said. “We’ve been so focused on making beautiful bakery goodies, using top quality ingredients and celebrating the amazing growers and producers on the Sunshine Coast that we’ve forgotten to tell everyone why we do what we do and why what we make goes far beyond a regular bakery.
“We have forgotten to shout from the rooftops that everything we make here is sourdough – everything! It’s something I won’t compromise on. It’s important to us and to our customers who reap the health and flavour benefits.”
But what is sourdough and why is it so good for us?
Put simply, it is the process of using fermentation to break down gluten into peptides and amino acids which unlocks the nutrition from the wheat and makes it more available to our bodies.
Prolonged fermentation, as they do at The Wonky Loaf, brings additional benefits such as a lower Glycemic Index, lower calorie count, and increased nutritional value, to name a few.
“We’re all aware of the health benefits of eating fermented foods,” Katie said. “For the team at The Wonky Loaf that means wheat fermentation, which is the traditional way of making bread.
“What we do is like sourdough on steroids,” she said. “We could make bread in 12 hours, and it would technically be sourdough but we really hone in on the health benefits and getting the most from the process that we can by pushing the fermentation.”
According to Katie, when wheat is fermented for long periods of time, extraordinary things happen.
“We push the fermentation to 36 hours – almost three times the standard. That means the hard wheat is broken down releasing its hidden abundant nutrients and the phytic acid that causes many people’s gluten intolerances is broken down and becomes digestible.
“Customers often say they can’t normally eat bread, but they can eat ours and they question whether it’s gluten free. To be clear, we’re not taking the gluten out of bread – we’re breaking down the gluten protein that usually causes discomfort and rendering it harmless while also unlocking the
Katie and the team of bakers and pastry chefs apply this process to any bakery product that contains gluten, including the seemingly impossible – creating buttery, flaky croissants and Danishes.
“Every tart we make and pie we fill are all made using that same long ferment sourdough process,” Katie said. “This extends to brownies, cheesecake, pizza bases and sausage rolls – one hundred percent of products at The Wonky Loaf use sourdough.”
It’s a standard that Katie will not falter on and a commitment she makes to her customers.
“It’s very time consuming and labour intensive but it’s also a hard line for me,” Katie says. “I will not compromise on quality which means amazing, local ingredients to start with; lots a time to ferment the dough for as long as we can; and lots of care and attention from our bakers to manage that process.
“We’re constantly stretching the parameters of what can do. Our amazing team of bakers and pastry chefs have adapted their skills and experience to meet my ideals about what a bakery can be and to meet the standard and experience we want our customers to get each and every time they eat a slice of wonky loaf, bite into a pie or dunk their croissant into their morning coffee.
“We’re excited to keep raising the bar on what sourdough can be.”
And we’re excited to taste the benefits!
THE WONKY LOAF’S SWEET SOURDOUGH SHORTCRUST PASTRY
- 250g Unsalted Butter
- 250g Eggs (about 5 large)
- 5g Vanilla Bean Paste
- 50g Sourdough Starter
- 500g Plain Flour
- 5g Salt
- Cream butter, sugar and 150g of the egg in a stand mixer or food processor
- Add the rest of the egg and the sourdough starter, mix well
- Mix in the flour and salt until dough forms, do not over mix at this stage
- Bring dough together, wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days for a longer, more beneficial ferment
- Roll to your preferred thickness and use to line tart or pie tins, big or small or make free-form tarts
- For filled pies or tarts, cook until internal temperature reaches 200°C. For blind baking, bake at 180°C for about 20 mins until it just begins to turn golden brown.
READ MORE ABOUT THE WONKY LOAF!