Berkelo bakery to open in Brookvale

Photography: Will Homer

Top Sydney chefs are already fans of Berkelo's slow-fermented sourdough. And soon, you can take it home yourself.

Berkelo, a Sydney bakery opening 15 July in Brookvale, wants to change the way people think about bread.

And what exactly does that mean? Natural yeast and stone-milled grain from Gunnedah's Wholegrain Milling Company, for starters. And rapadura, honey and maple syrup in place of any refined sugars for sweetness.

"The whole gluten-free thing has got out of hand," says chef and Berkelo co-owner Tom Eadie. "It's due to lack of education and eating bad bread. When you respect the process, bread can be a health food, too."

Eadie was formerly the executive chef at The Boathouse Group, who are behind Moby Dicks at Whale Beach and The Boathouses at Balmoral and Shelly Beach. He turned his hand to baking six months ago, with his friend Matt Durrant, now Berkelo's head baker. "We just thought no one's trying very hard on the north side with sourdough," he says.

The pair has spent the past six months "playing around" with long-ferments at an industrial site previously occupied by bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien. The next piece of the puzzle is their retail "little hole in the wall"; a step that will give Sydney a chance to take home the baked goods Berkelo wholesales to top restaurants around town (Via Alta, Cottage Point Inn and Pilu at Freshwater, among them).

Along with their "house loaf" - an unbleached sourdough made with a rye starter - there's a brown malt and honey loaf made with khorasan wheat flour, and Durrant's savoury, almost smoky, burnt-bran round that will make great friends with a good slug of olive oil. Berkelo's fruit bread is bang on - a flavoursome mix of dehydrated cherries, dates and grapes - and it's made using lemon-myrtle tea in place of water.

And there are sweets, to boot. A "sour-doughnut" rolled in buckwheat praline and filled with an espresso and labne crème pâtissière, and an almond croissant (it looks more like a mini English toast loaf), that's dense and golden with whole eggs and Berkelo's house-made cultured butter.

When the retail store opens, Berkelo will bake at five o'clock in the morning, and again late-morning, so when customers come to collect the bread, it'll still be warm. "It's not the dream to bake bread early, slice it, let it cool, bag it and send it," says Eadie. "Pull it straight from the oven and make it correctly, and bread's a beautiful and healthy thing."

Berkelo opens 15 July.

Berkelo, 8 William St, Brookvale, NSW, open Mon-Sat, 7am-2pm,

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