Australian Gathering in June 2007

Graham's picture

Hi All.

There is a very good chance that a sourdough gathering will occur around June 11 2007, either in Tasmania or Victoria. More details are available on the freshly updated homepage

The date is still tentative. I would have liked to attract Dan but I expect that Dan would have returned by the proposed date, and an earlier date does not leave much organising time.

On another matter, I would like to point out that Maedi and I have not chosen to have our names appear in bright RED in the forum! We do not need to be noticed more than anyone here...but an upgrade to the latest s/w version has added this 'style' which we are still working at removing!

See YOu.

174 users have voted.


Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2007 March 22

Hey good work Graham, site looks great and well red is good color! Wish I could be there,next year perhaps!


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2007 March 22

Graham, I hope this is going to be an annual thing. At least, I should be able to make it [i]one[/i] year (<---- wishful thinking). Would have loved to meet multi-talented Maedi as well as other bakers. As it is, the Wales trip is still undecided for me.

I followed one of your links after another and before I knew it, I was engulfed in baking politics. Phew. What a goo! Also, you must have a lot of clout and respect to be let into the heart of bakeries to take pictures. I was not allowed to snap anything even in the shop area of D-Chirico's let alone meet da man. Oh well...disappointment was made up by eating his great bakes.

Have a great meet!

Graham's picture
Graham 2007 March 23

Hi TeckPoh,

Yes. I think Dom also ended up in the same political blog. I decided to mostly confine my own political comments and opinions to the blog, rather than out the front of the site. A small link to the blog has been provided from the current home page story because a bit of background on 'the cup' is required to fully understand the story.

I only recently discovered how much control of the baking industry is not in the hands of bakers. A lot of the money and power is with the equipment dealerships and (in Australia) an industry backed baking journal called 'Leading Edge'. After dipping my toe into the murky water, it took less than a week to figure out that it was a bad idea. I was naive to think that big industry would be supportive of smaller scale artisans in anything other than a token or exploitative way.

The good news is that to be an artisan baker or to set up an artisan bakery, all you need is a desire to make good bread, a clean space, a bench, mixer and an oven. If you are Crystal Waters you don't even need the mixer. No big industry assistance needed!

Now that does surprise me that you could not get in to see Daniel. I think that if he had personally been aware of your wishes, he would have made them come true! It might have been a busy time. I did try to get some forward notice to Daniel, but I don't think he ever got my message. I have not been able to contact Daniel (other than leaving messages) in 3 weeks.


chembake 2007 March 23

Graham…I am amused that you are apprehensive( if not afraid ) of the Leading Edge?..
.In the past
…I have to come to confrontation with one of their respected regular technical baking poster …
He wrote something on baking line that was one of my technical specialty and I sent a letter to the editor about that topic that is full of errors and let the readers know about it.
His reply and argument about the issue confirms that his knowledge or experience on the topic he is writing about is shallow,,, but he implies that he knows much about it ….and want his readers to believe that he is highly qualified in the subject he is talking about.
To my knowledge he still keep on doing it until now....

Anyway being an artisan bakers means ….INDEPENDENCE….it does not need rocket science or advance baking technology knowledge to prosper in this field but just the passion for this particular craft….

To nurture true craftsmanship in this field relies in the innate abilities and passion on the person….but based on my experience ….yes good knowledge of baking science can go a long way…..

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2007 March 23

Cheers mate! I applaud your courage to standing up to the powers that be, unfortunately my judge of what is happening reminds me of that Oz picture....hmmmm ummmm...Oh yeah, [size=18][b]Strictly ballroom[/b][/size], basic plot being two unorthodox dancers, she ugly duckling, he the champion ballroom dancer who show there new steps in competition only to be told "there are no new steps!"
Well I tried for a metaphor of some kind, but what I think happens with the [b]good things[/b](bakers included) is that when found out by the public that that loaf tastes great, hell all of the industry wants to make it and reap the benefits! Finally taking away what was genuine or steal the name (in this case artisan), I live in America where we have pretty much followed this example, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel I believe with great groups like BBGA, a grassroots baking community! Yeah for the retro hippie bakers, but I also see a need for training even in my line of work. In my last interview with chocolatier Eric Girerd we bemoaned the state of workers in the food industry, even those with culinary training as myself who go in for short programs and emerge believing they are chefs! We need an apprenticeship system like in Europe so we can have an inherent food culture instead of a mishmash of this and that with some really short staffed restaurants with some mediocre food;bakeries here are usually fairly large and having to sell to wholesale business's rather then having a good bakery in each neighborhood like in Paris. There are exceptions like Amy's Bread and Sullivan Street Bakery, though I am still wondering when will ever have some decent rye or whole grain German loaves, the old neighborhoods have died a way and the bread is sort of one dimensional, never really blowing me away with what I had in Europe!
Ta I had my say and thanks Graham and Maedi for all your wonderful efforts!

Were gonna have to have another event in Oz, "Cause were off to see the wizard the wonderful wizard of.......Brisbane!"

Graham's picture
Graham 2007 March 23

Chembake, it is good to hear from you. Interesting that you had some issues with Leading Edge too. I think your point illustrates that we all have different levels of insecurities and lapses in knowledge, but some of us are reluctant to say those words "I don't know this. Can you please help me out?'

"Independence, Passion and Science". Chembake I hope that you can make one of our gatherings and help draft the mission statement for our new association. Your utopian vision for artisan bakers is honest and inspiring. But isn't it funny how even when we say something that sounds good and true, inside something tells us that it can't be? Damn Post Modernism!

Incidentally, where are you living and working at the moment?


Graham's picture
Graham 2007 March 23

Jeremy are you really coming to Brisbane? I live 1.5 hours from Brisbane, so we will have to meet at some point. When are you coming?

I can see what you are saying about 'artisan' becoming diluted, and I even get your Strictly Ballroom analogy. What you are saying is that artisan bakers are ugly but are excellent dancers. My thoughts exactly. We should be wary of beautiful bakers who can't dance.

One of the problems in becoming a good professional baker is gaining experience at bakeries that have an artisan attitude to making bread. Also i agree with you that bakers need to experience a number of baking environments, working with different people, over a period of several years. Blowing my trumpet a bit, that is the concept of the freshly launched [url=]BakerTrade[/url], where 6 month contracts are encouraged, and the baker stays motivated because they know that at the end of their contract they are free to go to another inspiring bakery.

Jeremy, perhaps you would be interested in being an agent for BakerTrade in the USA? Your trip to Brisbane would become a business trip if it wasn't already!

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2007 March 23

Hmmmm would do wonders for my tan and tax return, as well my beer gut!

Yes I will shoot for next year for Oz as I will be in Europa and Wales with the Lepard gang this August!


P.S. I remembered you were nearby, will just shoot over from wherever is nearest aiprot to you on my bike!

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