HOMEGROWN CHEF: Silver Creek Sourdough Louise Ritchie on developing an artisan sourdough bakery from "starter"

LOUISE Ritchie played around with sourdough for six years before she was satisfied.

She was baking one loaf a week for her family – husband Michael and sons Ted, 9, and Sam, 7, – in early 2014 when she was made redundant.

“I thought ripper, now I’ve got the time to perfect the bread!” she said.

“But we had too much bread for our family, then too much bread for our friends, then too much bread for the neighbourhood.”

Having settled at Beechworth a decade ago, Ms Ritchie began baking bread at The Old Priory.

“My first bake was 18 loaves and I sold out off the back of a ute, next to the local organic veggie grower’s ute,” she said.

“By mid-2014 I was selling 80 loaves within two hours.”

Ms Ritchie now operates out of premises off Gilchrist Ave and employs a baker and apprentice. They use Australian organic flour, and no commercial yeast, sugar, bread improver or additives or preservatives.

“Each batch of bread takes two days to create, meaning this slow fermentation process allows all the good bacteria and wild yeasts to develop flavour as well as break down the gluten proteins allowing for easier digestion and greater absorption of nutrients,” she said.

Silver Creek Sourdough makes 500 packets of crumpets a week as well as bread and pizza bases.

It will host a Sourdough Masterclass for the Experienced Home Baker on September 17 at Yackandandah Organics. Bookings essential: 0413 087 563.

What are the staples in your pantry?

Flour, dried legumes, nuts, dried fruit, eggs and milk. Louise uses organic Australian flour.

What is your biggest product discovery?

Sourdough – it took a long time to get a decent loaf!

What’s your best advice?

Go with your gut feeling.

What is your recipe standby?

Bolognese, it’s a great way to hide the vegetables.

What is your most unforgettable meal and where?

My grandma’s Welsh cakes. She made them every time we came to visit.

What’s your favourite cooking utensil?

Wooden spoon.

What’s in your kitchen toolkit?

Micro-grater and a good knife.

What did you have for dinner last night?

Pizza on our sourdough bases.

What are you drinking?

A Rodda Yarra Valley Chardonnay

Details:

Silver Creek Sourdough Bakery,

Behind 42 Gilchrist Ave car park, Beechworth

Phone: 0413 087 563

Stockists include Border Just Foods and Olive Health Foods in Albury; Silver Creek Sourdough Bakery, Goldfields Green Grocer and Beechworth Food Co-op at Beechworth; Bright Organics; Hoffman's Green Grocer at Mansfield; The Village Trader at Myrtleford; Bunbartha Beef and Fine Foods at Shepparton; Hillsborough Quality Nuts at Stanley; Olive Health Foods and Wangaratta Wholefoods at Wangaratta; and The Rusty Bike at Yackandandah.

Cafes include Peddlar at Beechworth; Canvas Eatery in Albury; and Cherry Walk Cafe at Bright.

RELATED CONTENT: