Food + Drink

An Ode To Sourdough | Melbourne’s Best Bread

By Ella Stening - 19 Aug 2013

Fatto a Mano
Fitzroy, VIC 1 Image
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Il Fornaio
St Kilda, VIC 1 Image
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How good is bread?

It started in our youths as our lunchboxes were filled with squashed Vegemite and cheese sandwiches, and we refused to eat the crusts lest our hair lose its curl (TUL Note: errr, we thought it was the other way around!). This then progressed to our more waistline–conscious teen years where we begged our Mums to let us pack our lunches ourselves with rye wraps filled with salad.  A few years later, when we learnt what post-Saturday-night felt like, it turned into fluffy white rolls filled with bacon and eggs, or a nice slab of roti to accompany our butter chicken. 

Around the same time (and if we got time) we'd be accompanying a late night study/cramming session with an Earl Grey and jam toast. Then bread got a little fancier and we toasted Turkish strips to dip in olive oil and balsamic, went to brunch for avocado and eggs on five-grain, and deemed our pantry a 'wasteland' and broke down in tears had we no crunchy croutons to scatter in our Caesar salad (that was probably just me). 

Bread can be flat, fat, crunchy, soft, burnt, buttered, round, tall, tiger-striped, full of holes, brown, white, orange, studded with seeds, glazed with sugar, pumped full of raisins, dates or apricots, covered in condiments, or great on its own. However different the chronological development of the world's most dynamic carbohydrate in our own lives may be, no one can dispute it will forever reign as the almighty monarch of everyone's grocery list.

By now, I'm sure you're thinking of where you're going to get your weekly loaf from. Lucky for you, we've prepared something that will make your decision a little easier. We at The Urban List have decided to highlight the best places in Melbourne for you to find your bread fix, come market day. 

Pass the butter knife.

FATTO A MANO

Though the shopfront is entirely unassuming, this iconic nook on Fitzroy's Gertrude Street has one of the most intense lunchtime queues in Melbourne, as the potato and olive flatbread scattered with pink rock salt and olive oil is worth pushing someone over for. The guys here don't use any commercial yeast either, so you know they've done the true hard yards to bring it to you fresh. Come on a quiet day to munch on a brie-filled seeded baguette, or a raisin-pumped brioche and feel your stomach smile. 

Where: 228 Gertrude Street in Fitzroy 

Contact: 9417 5998

When: Tuesday to Friday 6am – 6pm | Saturday 6am – 3pm

TO'S BAKERY

I don't care what anyone says about Victoria Street in Richmond or Smith Street in Fitzroy, Footscray is the place to find yourself a Vietnamese bakery. To's is a failsafe option if you find yourself craving some dough – their classic sweet breads and pork-stuffed bread rolls will have you sated in no time at all. As an added bonus for your daily bread, you can pick up some traditional Vietnamese desserts (taro and sticky coconut rice!) as well as some of the freshest rice paper rolls in Melbourne. 

Where: 122 Hopkins Street in Footscray 

Contact: 03 9689 4849

When: 7 days from 5am – 7pm

IL FORNAIO

All hail St Kilda, undisputed Queen of Bread Land, with her bounteous delights flooding the corners of Acland Street. Though not directly on that notorious cake strip, Il Fornaio holds its own; head baker, Max Lucmort, has been baking for 15 years, working as the Glicks head baker for six years, and running his own bakery, Maxime's, in Tarbes, France. He originally trained in his homeland, and specialises in artisan breads and traditional danishes. Everything is made with his hands on site, so treat yourself to a cup of St. Ali and a handcrafted croissant, whilst choosing from a range of stoneground organic, true spelt or organic white breads. They also make cheese! Ah! 

Where: 2C Acland Street in St Kilda

Contact: 03 9534 2922

When: 7 days from 7am – 5pm

LOAFER BREAD

A great local bakery will leave that homely, loving impression on customers, so they keep coming back for more. If you're a resident of Fitzroy North, Loafer Bread is the embodiment of that family-owned bakery vibe, and you should make it your local today. Brothers, Antoine and Georg Von Baich, source all of their products from local suppliers (and stock Coffee Supreme!), and specialise in some of the chewiest crusts and soft-centred sourdoughs you'll ever taste.

Where: 146 Scotchmer Street in Fitzroy North 

Contact: 03 9489 0766

When: Tuesday to Friday 8am – 5:30pm | Saturday 8am – 3pm | Sunday 9am – 3pm

RUSTICA SOURDOUGH

Don't you love a bakery that doubles as a café? Rustic Sourdough is just one of those gems. With incredibly friendly staff and a range of take-home loaves, pastries and an epic brunch menu, you'll find yourself popping in for a quick loaf, and end up staying for brunch. The coolest thing about eating here is that you can pick your choice of bread to accompany your meal – so if you feel like a bit of their specialty rosemary and vine fruit loaf with your eggs, there'll be no hint of judgement. 

Where: 402 Brunswick Street in Fitzroy

Contact: 03 9417 7775

When: Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 7:30am – 4:30pm | Friday & Saturday 7:30am – 10:00pm | Sunday 8am – 5pm

Image credit: Pinterest

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