Food and Drink


The Bread from the North

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I’d never heard about Brasserie Bread before last week, but then again I’ve never lived in Sydney and don’t move in sourdough circles. It turns out that Brasserie Bread is a Sydney institution that’s been making a name for itself with its sourdough, sweets and cooking classes for over a decade.

Now they’ve come to Melbourne, opening last week in South Melbourne. The new venture, like the vision of founder Michael Klausen is big. Brassiere Bread isn’t your corner store artisan baker, it’s factory-big with the open space dining area looking into the kitchen where the signature sourdough is rising to the occasion.

It also smells pretty good too.

Owner Klausen is down from Sydney overseeing operations when I visit. Originally from Denmark, Klausen is a man who clearly loves bread, baking it, talking about it eating it. He spent years teaching himself how to make sourdough before opening the original BB a decade ago. More than just a bakery, he sees BB as a bread-stitution, running baking classes for adults and kids, tastings and experimentation. His team even developed a new technique for Qantas to serve sliced bread during long haul flights.

For the new Melbourne store, Klausen drove the original, 16 year old sourdough starter down from Sydney over a three day road trip, constantly having to stop and feed it along the way. I have a peep into the vat of the adolescent goo and can’t help thinking about ‘Feed Me Seymore’ from Little Shop of Horrors. The sourdough looks placid enough, but it may have just eaten…

Klausen says the changes Melbourne’s climate meant he’s had to re-jig all his recipes, as the drier air down here was making the breads crust too much. In addition to his sourdough, BB makes the usual range of sweets, from croissants to chocolate tarts. They also sell a range of jams from NSW, but this will change to Victorian producers once they’ve established relationships with local producers.

There cafe’s indulgent menu is deck out with items like sourdough pancakes with stewed berries and honeycomb cream ($14) and slow roast lamb, potato and herb hash with a fried egg ($18). The menu’s made from an eco-friendly material called rock paper, not sure if it can be cut with scissors.

Besides the sourdough, BB’s biggest seller so far has been their garlic bread, a flat loaf infused with caramelised garlic. A world away from the soggy foil-wrapped bread that gets thrown into the family pack at Pizza Hut, this could be the type of thing people cross town for.

Does Melbourne have room in it’s ample bread bosom for another artisan bakery? In the words of a giant man-eating plant “Feed me Seymore”.

Brasserie Bread
150 Thistlewaite St, South Melbourne
1330 966 845
Mon – Sat 7.30am to 3pm
Closed Sundays


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