Companion Bakery CultureCam

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Bakery website and baking class calendar available here
Closed Monday and Tuesday



Graham's picture
Graham 2010 March 10

Hi all. We finally got our web cam to work at the new bakery in Oatlands. The concept here is that it will not just be about the camera, but about the baker and viewer having an exchange of ideas and influencing each other.

There is not always going to be a lot of time for our baker(s) (currently just me on the bread) to chat while they work, but we will make an effort.

My shift for today is just about over. I have just finished mixing a basic, 85% white sourdough, which is now in a tub bulk prooving very slowly in our coolroom. The weather is getting cooler here and soon cold proofing will (hopefully) occur in a 'cool cupboard' that uses cool night air instead of refrigeration.

At this bakery i currently do a range of fermentation types. The most basic uses room temperature fermentation for both the starter and the doughs (bulk and final, formed dough). More commonly though i make a warm starter (about 27C to 33C) over about 4 hours, then mix a dough to which i add starter at the very end (my starter is wet and sometimes makes sense to add it right at the end).

The bulk dough is sometimes proofed cold, or sometimes i shape the dough after a short bull proof at room temp, then rise the dough in forms (bannetons,tins, couche) in the cool

I wont go into full detail here yet. Hopefully the methods will become clearer in comments below...and i am looking forward to trying some of your suggestions too. Please don't hesitate to offer advice or suggest an experiment.


Graham's picture
Graham 2010 March 10
This is about as late as we would ever start firing the oven for tomorrow morning. We are using a mixture of sawmill offcuts and small stringy bark logs. The fire should all be coals in about 5 hours (0230). I'll come back in at 0430 and scrape out any remaining coals/ash in preparation for baking at 0800.
Graham's picture
Graham 2010 March 11

The fire was well burnt down to coals and ash when i came in (late) at 0500. Oven brick temperature was 390C within the brick that makes up the crown of the oven. Further out, in the concrete dolomite layer, the temp was about 360C. In another few hours the crown (brick) should reach 325C or less, which is about the hottest i would ever want to bake at. AIR temperature in this oven is usually 35C less than the crown brick temperature.

My bulk dough from last night did not rise well in the coolroom. This is very unusualvb (1st time) and i suspect an initial higher than normal temperature for the starter has had a negative effect on culture numbers in the starter. Dough temp out of the coolroom was about 13C. I'm going to ball/shape/final proof slowly to give the dough time to warm up and become active. This dough is smooth, plasticy and very extensible...even though active fermentation is not obvious (very few air pockets).

Today is a small bake, just for the shop (newly opened..still fitting out). I'll make about 50 loaves...being plain white batards, Romano cheese and celery (need to grate and cut), and sesame. We have a malted rye (malt made in our oven and flaked/soaked) that is aging gracefully and a pepita and linseed wholemeal from yesterday that will be sold cheaper...even though it is better today!

Graham's picture
Graham 2010 March 11

Mostly in bannetons and some in tins, racked and prooving next to the oven. An overnight dough like this will rise very quickly during the final proof. Sometimes only 1 hour is required, but i prefer almost 2 hours to get a noticeably ripe dough.

Éric Duhamel first described this method (warm starter, cold bulk ferment, short final proof) to me, and i love it. Thanks Eric!

Graham's picture
Graham 2010 March 11

Well I knew there were people coming at 9.00 for bread, but really it felt like it needed just a bot more prooving. The first loaves (450g batards) will be out around 9.30. If ever i'm running late i just take customers up to the oven and we gaze inside at the baking loaves.

Steam...I heard about Nick Oxley putting steam in his Alan Scott oven, and did the same to ours. I'm finding that pre-steaming and steaming twice after loading is required to get enough steam in the oven to make a difference.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2010 March 11

I wish I were one of your customers! Congrats!

I appreciate the details on your firing because I'll have a lot to learn soon (I hope). 

Update on my dream WFO: It had to be modified to fit size constraints and had to be a rather simple design (no chimney) as the biggest challenge is conveying my vision to the builders...they have never seen or heard of a WFO. The insulation materials (rockwool slab and fibre blanket) are here, so are the firebricks. No thermocouples. Now to psyche myself up to the task.

Thanks for the peek into a real bakery...and a sourdough one at that!


Graham's picture
Graham 2010 March 15
Thank you for all the kind comments. The camera is not updating as regularly as i'd like. We need another camera close to the action i think. But the bread is going very well, we are very popular at a Hobart farmer's market, and have started to wholesale into shops as well. Our first baking workshop is on next month, and the old flour mill opposite our shop is due to start milling Organic, Tasmanian grain in July. We are looking for another baker now! Any takers?
ehanner 2010 March 16

Nice to see you have the web cam working. I have yet to see any people in the bakery. Bad timing on my part. Is the time stamp at the bottom your local time or GMT? Is there a thumbnail viewing of the history of frames available? I'm looking forward to seeing how you make the Romano/Celery bread.



ehanner 2010 March 16

Looks like you are having some fine looking future bakers in for a tour.


Hello from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA


Graham's picture
Graham 2010 March 16

Romano and this case is a basic white dough, containing about 15% wholemeal from the wholemeal starter, with fresh celery and romano cheese. We are preparing celery and romano now, and i'll upload some photos and recipe details below because the web cam only shows so much. Maedi is working on a history or photo album of images from the web cams, which will be more valuable when there is a 2nd camera close-in on the dough bench.

Not sure why the camera's time code keeps reverting to the 1970's. It is supposed to read Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is GMT + 10 hours. We'll fix it soon or grow sideburns.

mic 2010 March 19

hey "the maestro of sourdough"....your bread and the shop looks amazing...lovin the webcam..great idea...wish i could try the celery bread.will talk soon.ox

dukegus 2010 March 20

Need any help with shaping?? :) 

I wish the webcamera was live so we could see how it is to work in a real bakery...

somers04 2010 March 20

Hi Graham, John from the sunshine coast.  Love the way the bread looks.  Probably taste better.!!  Would love to come and see it may be one day soon.  Thanks so much for the insight to the bakery.  How r u liking the cold.  ...Ha? Thanks. 

Graham's picture
Graham 2010 March 22
Hi. the camera is live...i just can't easily make comments without a computer. tas cold is good for baking! monday and tuesday are closed on these days.
Boonderoo Farm 2010 April 18

Good on ya Graham, you finally got there.

Do I see Laucke Flour Bags there?? You know my opinion about that.

Bread looks good.



stuartthorn 2010 April 22

Hi Graham / Tristan

This is looking good :) .. "we" will be in town next Thursday so will pop in for coffee and some of your fabulous bread


Admin's picture
Admin 2010 April 22

Thomas that Laucke flour is addictive and very available in this part of the world. I use it for the batards, but remember i only use whole grain flour for my starter (currently Wholegrain Milling flour), so there's about 15% to 20% whole stuff in any 'white' dough i do.

Thomas my lovely friend, what kind of starter do you use? OK. So you've got your own stone mill so you probably use something decent. But, is it as good as flour from a big-ol windmill?

oh...almost slipped my mind...have you heard about the windmill Oatlands (picture below). Soon we'll be slapping each other on the back as we exchange milling jokes and talk about the good ol days when our brothers slung 67kg bags over their shoulders. Let's not let a couple of bags of Laucke come between us :)


I took these pictures this morning. More at

Callington Mill in Oatlands, Tasmania


New cap being constructed next to the mill


Close up of new cap under construction

Admin's picture
Admin 2010 April 23

Hi Stuart, very much looking forward to seeing you all. I should be around but if not, phone me from the shop and i'll be there quick. My number's on the door and if Tristan is in the shop she'll have it too. Graham

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2010 April 23

Graham old chum! How are you mate?

Miss your site and talking to you, we must do another interview???

Looking at your progress and fantastic breads, need a hand??





Graham's picture
Graham 2010 April 23

Jeremy the camera is really working but probably not updating as regularly as it could be. It is good to hear your voice btw. I'll adjust the sensitivity (movement activated) in the next couple of days and make it sensitive enough to snap a mouse and provide the health dept. with confidence that we are keeping a close eye on their activities.

Of course we need a hand, please drop by. I'll give you complete baking freedom for a week and our customers will be privileged to sample your bounty. Maedi and i will be your dedicated assistants. You can also help us with methods for soups and other meals in the cafe, which only serves coffee (very good coffee) and muffins (fresh local fruit) at the moment. 

You are not allowed to interview me until i have interviewed you, so we are stuck i guess until i figure out the suitable technolgy to use and at what time. Please PM me if you can help.

Graham's picture
Graham 2010 April 24

Continuing on from the top of the blog, with info about making Celery Romano. I use a basic light sourdough base which is roughly 80% organic white and 20% stoneground wholegrain flour. I used to reduce salt slightly in the dough to compensate for saltiness of the Romano cheese, but no longer think this is necessary. I use Pecorino Romano that contains 1200mg of salt per 100grams. At present i am manually mixing in celery and Romano 'on the bench' rather than in the mixer. You can scale and ball dough, rest and dip in finely grated Romano cheese, then cover top side with cut celery and roll/fold/roll as per photos. For a stronger Romano effect, dip both sides of the dough in cheese. The example shown is a tinned loaf which i am finally (colder weather) able to prove over-night at around 8C - 14C. I roll the loaf quite tightly...this combined with the fact that it is tinned (the tin tends to conduct warmth away from the fermenting dough) makes for a long rise...about 8 hours in my case, which is great because i can get some sleep and avoid the coolroom.







ehanner 2010 April 24

Thanks Graham,

Now I understand. Thanks so much for clarifying with the photos.

Do the celery chunks soften up in the baking?


Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2010 April 24

I was going to ask a similar question, do you think cooking the celer ahead would be a better flavor enhancer?

ehanner 2010 April 24

I think if you nuked it to soften it up it would loose the character and fall apart. I have a batch in process to which I added soaked flax seeds. I can't wait to taste this unique bread.

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 April 25

Well I think the picture is updating very regularly now.  Previously I've always been looking at your webcam at night, so I've never seen anyone.  But right now its action stations - you are clearly doing bread-making lessons as the picture was updating everytime someone lifted up their dough to slap down on the bench!  And you were demonstrating "window pane" dough (presumably) as were holding the dough up the air with two hands and everyone was looking at your dough.

Most excellent to see the action!  And the Romano/celery loaf looks sensational - thanks Graham :o)


Happiness is making bread :o)

Boonderoo Farm 2010 April 25

UUH, was not trying to upset the system.

I know that everybody is using Laucke flour, the reason why I am saying it is that most people do not realize or know how different freshly milled flour tastes and behaves. I did not know much about bread baking 14 years ago - and still do not- but the milling process we started 6 years ago threw another spanner in the works. If you only go for wholemeal (100%) this is fairly easy, but even then Gluten/Protein/Bran content, kernel size, which corner of the paddock the grain comes from,etc. this all makes for very testing baking every week. Start sifting and then you really go into a different sphere.

This all has contributed to my attitude about commercial flours as they all are - and have to be made - to a standard where the bakers expect the same ?quality? every week. This is the very reason Mirfak can not sell organic stone ground flour easily because it is the genuine article and it varies.

I admire all of you for your individual skills you have but do not forget,that there is a lot of work to be done if we want to change the consumer to accept variations in the appearance and variations of the bread we produce with freshly stone milled flour!!!! We are battling the Baguette/Ciabatta -and all other breads which have only been developed from 1920 onwards- brigade. It ain't an easy task.

I am looking forward to do some milling with you, when do you think the mill will start?



ehanner 2010 April 25

I took a stab at the Romano-Celery bread and added some flax seed at the last thought. Looking at your photos Graham, I think I added quite a bit more of both items than you did. I used 20% (bakers percent) for both items and I think the cheese was a bit strong. We liked it but it is a little smash mouth on the nose and overwhelms everything else in the bread. Plus, looking at your loaf, it looks more well balanced, ingredient wise.

I posted the bread over at The Fresh Loaf and mentioned this site as the inspiration for the bread. You can see it here.

I think next time I try this I'll cut the cheese to 10% and leave the celery at 22%. I'm wondering about a basic SD loaf with just celery. The celery was completely soft and mild flavored. I think it would stand on its own. Thanks for the inspiration on this bread. I'll watch for your recipe instead of muddying up the waters on your creation.


Admin's picture
Admin 2010 April 30

Eric your Romano-celery looks great over at Fresh Loaf. Thanks for mentioning that we are adventurous...i think that adding flax seed brings you into the same domain.

The only thing i don't like about our version of the bread is that it is basically a white dough and can be interpreted as having 'stodgy' mouthfeel by people that enjoy a more textured crumb, like myself. Sometimes I increase wholemeal content or add a soaker, usually coarse-ground organic maize meal, in an attempt to bring texture back to the crumb. I think that adding flax seed would similarly reduce the stodgy-starch texture of white flour dough.

There is a good chance that you are using a lot more Romano than we did and i apologise for not making a quantity estimate sooner! I need to find my old calculation clipboard with notes from mixing an entire Romano Celery dough (at present i simply coat one or both sides of individual dough pieces with grated Romano). I expect that the notes will show a test range between 2% and 5%! 500g to 1kg of Romano will easily flavour 25kg of flour. The celery? I would expect to add around 5 bunches of celery per 25kg flour.

We are still developing recipes and a lot of what i do is still by 'feel', and not in concrete written form yet. BTW i am not including starter flour in the above estimates. The figures above, with celery, cheese and 5kg - 8kg starter added to the 25kg flour, would make approximately 55 - 65 x 850gram loaves using my current flour/hydration.


Admin's picture
Admin 2010 April 30

Thomas I expect Callington mill to be operational by the end of July, or the end of August at the latest. We are currently looking for additional sources of grain, please let me know if you stumble across a farmer who has organic grain they could ship to us. There is currently not enough grain available in Tasmania. We need wheat, rye, spelt and maybe other grains too.

Also, I'll let you know when we have dates for the miller training. You would be an invaluable person to have around during those early days. I'll try to find an old rusty caravan to park in my paddock for you to sleep in.


ehanner 2010 May 3


Thanks for your kind words on my attempt at your wonderful bread. When I looked at your make up image, I should of followed your lead and been more sparce with the cheese. I think I was about right on with the celery. Before I put this together, I looked at Jeff Hamelman's advice for cheese bread as far as the percentage. He is at 20 % but it isn't Romano. The same with his olive (celery) loaf. The aroma from the cheese overwhelms everything else at 20%. I really like soaked flax seed when it's alone in a mixed flour dough. In my mix here, it was visualy there but lost in the torrent if you know what I mean.

I like things to be identifiable. My favorite music lets the artist stand out sohe can be heard and not a mush of sound. The same applies with foods. A complicated recipe with many subtle layers of flavor is lost on me. I prefer one or two flavors that contrast each other or a single pure sensation that comes through clearly. I haven't had a chance to try it out but I think your idea of celery in bread is a great example. Celery is a unique flavor that I beleive will stand out well on its own.



shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2010 May 18

When will you be dropping by Companion Bakery?  Be sure to pay a visit to the Sunshine Coast!



EricD's picture
EricD 2010 June 22

 Hi Graham,


Nice loaves mate !

I'm usually not a big celery fan but I would love to try your bread.

It's also nice to see your bakehouse with the wood fired oven.

By the way, I'm glad you like "my" delayed prooving method.


I hope everything is going for the best Down-Under.




lily 2010 September 23

Hi Graham,

You must be flat out with the bread and the mill now, but when you get a chance, it'd be very interesting to get some of your thoughts on your grain, flour, milling, resulting bread..?

Your bread was consumed by the family on the way back to Hobart, followed closely by Tristan's biscuits.  Both utterly delicious things with flavour and body, the definition of 'toothsome'. Highly recommended, people out there!

Cheers from Emily. 

lily 2010 October 12

Are they small bags of freshly milled flour on the workbench next to a sticky tape dispenser? (The North American translation of that vital stationary tool escapes me right now).

Maedi's picture
Maedi 2010 November 25

 @lily - They are likely Oats, we mill and package them at the bakery. What do you guys call a tape dispenser in America?

matthew 2011 January 13

Hi Graham,


You've got a beautiful looking bakery there, and the oven looks fantastic.  What time will you start loading the oven today?



TimmyB 2012 March 23

 Hi Graham,


Hopefully in your spare time :) you can let us know how you create steam in the oven.  




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