It’s no secret that the packaged bread you buy at the supermarkets contains additives and preservatives, hallmarks of mass-produced foods. These big-batch breads have caused plenty of concerns among the health conscious, and are generally not favoured by bread lovers who know the benefits of truly fresh, wholesome bread that’s made with emphasis on the grain.
But if modern bread is broken, the owner of Dust Bakery is making it his mission to fix it.
Bread Ed(ucation) from Cesare Salemi
The first thing you should know about Cesare Salemi – founder of Dust bakery is that he’d rather you called him Ces.
The second thing you should know about Ces is that he is passionate about bread.
It’s not just the bread Ces bakes that will get him talking at length and with authority. It’s all the other bread out there that really stirs his emotions. It’s not so much the recipes or techniques for baking that’s the problem, it’s the flour.
“All wheat was modified in the 1960’s. It was changed to become a shorter wheat, a wheat that would bring bigger yields with the usage of fertilisers, and in the last 55-60 years it’s gone to being basically the only wheat that’s used today,” he said.
These modifications were performed in service of the industrialisation of agriculture, a topic that warrants a separate discussion. So, briefly: wheat transformed from tall grass to saleable commodity, so breeds were selected for on the basis of durability and yield. Taste and nutritional value are lower on the list of desired traits.
The search for the right grain
At issue is also the processing of the grain into flour. Modern flour is made by passing the grain through roller mills, a tool chosen for its cool efficiency and not for its effect on the finished product.
Without getting too technical, the setup allows for the removal of the bran and the germ, which is where most of the nutrition is – protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Oh, and the flavour is there, too. Sure, the resulting flour is an inferior product but, hey: at least there’s a lot of it.
For Ces, a third generation baker, these changes to wheat and flour aren’t progress. His grandfather arrived in Australia after World War II and baked the Italian loaves of his childhood for his new community.
These old world techniques are what Ces learned, even as his grandfather’s business grew into a family-owned wholesaler by the end of the century. He witnessed the slow change of the product over time, watched as the dominance of modern flour reduced bread to cheap filler.
It was in this discontent that the first seeds of Dust bakery were planted in Ces’s mind. He began his search for heritage (pre-modern) grains and farmers who were growing them. His search led him to discover a variety known as Bok, which is a descendant of two specific varieties of wheat bred in the early 20th century.
These were flavourful grains that performed well in the warm, dry climate throughout Australia.
Ces buys the Bok grain whole – supplied exclusively from a farm in Emerald, Queensland – and grinds it onsite with his stone mill. Unlike the mechanised roller mills used by industry, stone mills grind everything, including the healthful germ and bran, into the flour.
Ces has been working to reintroduce other varieties of heritage grains into Dust, but Bok is his main grain. You can see, smell, feel, and taste the difference by biting into a slice of bread from their Village Loaf, Dust’s signature bread.
Of course, a man with this kind of passion isn’t going to stop at just making bread better. He’s also on a mission to educate. They’ve held a few baking classes at Dust in their day, including one offering called Bread Is Broken, Let’s Fix It, where participants learned first hand about where bread went wrong and the various ways they can help make it right.
Dust is also committed to sharing loads of information about the nutritional benefits of whole grain foods, and the stone milling process. All you need to do is ask.
The right tools can make managing your hospitality business much more efficient, so like Ces, you can focus on the parts you actually enjoy doing. Chat to us today about how we can enable your business to do more with less, or read more stories below to learn about other cool ways we’ve helped people achieve their entrepreneurial goals.