Meet the Baker Series: Zeally Bay Sourdough

zeally bay sourdough,

Meet the Baker Series- Zeally Bay Sourdough

The Organic Place is passionate about supporting local famers and businesses. We love hearing the stories behind the products we source; there is so much time, energy and hard work that go into them! Last month we introduced you to Bob from Bob and Chris’ Mandarin Farm and today we want to introduce you to our bread suppliers; John and Jan Farnan from Zeally Bay Sourdough.

A bit about Zeally Bay Sourdough:

Established in 2007, we are a family owned wholefood bakery based in Torquay and are the first sourdough bakery in Victoria to offer a fully certified range of genuine, quality, handcrafted loaves. We deliver our fresh bread seven days a week to restaurants cafes and retailers over all Victoria.

Joel & Ching

Managing director Joel Farnan and head baker Ching Yuan Lim.

A bit about our history:

Our Sourdough history stretches back more than 34 years when we started out as Wholefoods Kitchen in 1981 in central Geelong. Numerous surfing trips to Byron Bay and Noosa in the seventies exposed us to alternative, natural wholefoods. Over the years our interest in organic, natural ingredients and fermentation grew. The idea of leaping back and connecting with such an ancient baking method excited us.

We evolved to Wholefoods Cafe + Gallery in 1986 and for over 20 years we made sandwiches from our hand-made sourdough bread which we baked in house.  As early ‘pioneers’ in sourdough it took much trial and error to understand the fermentation process and to master the art of sourdough bread making. The Zeally Bay Sourdough leaven (yeast) has been a constant since those early days; it might just be the oldest leaven in commercial production in Australia.

By the early nineties we were cranking out sourdough leavened fruitcakes, panettone, biscotti and sweet and savoury pastries as well as scrolls, baguettes and muffins.  The only leavening we used in the cafe was sourdough or egg whites.  By then all of our flour was organic and so too was much of our larder.

In 2007 a long held ambition to establish the first fully certified organic bakery in Victoria finally came to fruition. Our passions for surfing, organic vegetable gardening, good food and real bread all came together on the coast in Torquay; home of Zeally Bay Sourdough. We were the first bakery in Victoria to become fully certified organic and still use the original leaven we started in our kitchen well before sourdough was available commercially.

A bit about the bread making process:

Our sourdoughs are made in the traditional time honoured way and do not contain any added malts, added gluten, commercial yeast or mould inhibitors. Each loaf is made slowly over 30 hours using a unique blend of organic flours, filtered water, the 30 year old family leaven and natural sea salt.

Sourdough leavens are multi-cultural, containing a variety of wild yeasts and gut friendly bacteria. It needs to be carefully nurtured to achieve the best baking results. We sprout seeds for our breads, pulp them for our leavens, make our loaves slowly and bake them on a stone hearth creating a healthy, handmade bread with a delicious crust, robust flavor and chewy, satisfying texture.

zeally bay sourdough,

Where we source your ingredients from:

We are committed to sourcing certified ingredients such as olive oil, dried fruit, rolled golden linseed and nuts direct from Victorian farmers where possible. We source our flour, grains and more from the Powlett Hill Farm owned by Andrew and Jenny.

Andrew and Jenny’s commitment to safer, cleaning and greener farmer comes from years of practical farming experience and their concern with the use of harmful and soil degrading practices in conventional farming. Today, their soil is soft, nutritious and full of worms and they are no longer exposed to the dangerous chemicals they once used. They believe everyone benefits from organic farming; the soil is protected for future generations, the health of all creatures and farm animals is protected and of course the biggest benefactors are the people who consume the fresh organic food which is full or nutrition and flavour!

A final note:

You can find out more about Zeally Bay Sourdough on their website and you can place your order for some of their delicious sourdough bread through The Organic Place here. Make sure to place your order by 12pm Tuesday for a Thursday delivery.

Thanks to John and Jan for sharing your story with us!

Zeally Bay Sourdough,


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