I’m just going to come out and say it: I am a breadophile.
I love everything about a fresh, perfectly-crusted loaf of bread. I will smell and fondle my way through any bakery that will allow me to do such indecent things. The pure joy I experience walking away with a loaf in hand would seem over-enthusiastic or downright silly to some, but I can’t say that I care. To me, one of the best things in the world is an oven warm piece of bread with butter and sea salt. So simple, but undeniably satisfying.
I was delighted to notice the burgeoning sourdough trend in Sydney. I have eaten sourdough in San Francisco with the assumption that that was as good as sourdough can get. But I’d say some of the artisan bakeries in the harbor city are giving those Californians a run for their money.
I have assigned myself the mission of investigating as many of these Sydneysider sourdough establishments as I can in order to determine, if not the best, then my personal favorite.
The first Sourdough bakery I visited was Sonoma at Bondi. A company started by two brothers and their father, it was intended to be an Italian bread bakery until the elder brother went to study the bread making ways of a prominent San Fran baker. Learning the craft and passion behind sourdough put their baking venture on a new course. And with a little bread starter smuggled (I’m speculating) over international borders, Australia would soon have Sonoma.
Sonoma offers an impressive array of loaves ranging from the monstrous Sonoma miche to the demure sourdough baguette to a fruit spelt. I have tried the baguette and the soy linseed, which were both fantastic. The baguette had a beautiful crust, a fluffy interior, and that signature tang. The soy linseed was phenomenally fresh and light, but hearty, with whole soy beans and linseeds weaved throughout, it was the perfect accompaniament to a Sunday morning egg fry-up.
Sonoma was exactly what I was hoping for – quality bread, with about a dozen other loaves I am itching to try and right around the corner – all wrapped up with a lovable background story. Sonoma has my stamp of approval, outside San Francisco or not.