By Melissa Keogh
Langhorne Creek bread lovers Emily Salkeld and Chris Duffy have turned a simple passion for baking artisan loaves into an experiment set to fire up the local grain economy.
The duo behind the Fleurieu Peninsula’s Small World Bakery have launched themselves into the world of grain growing by sowing a variety of heritage wheats and grains on their property.
But it won’t be until 2019 until the couple grows enough grain to produce flour for their own bread production.
In 2016, the family including sons Tom and Ollie took a year off to travel to Europe and the US to source ancient grains, such as einkorn, emmer, spelt and khorasan, to plant at home.
Emily says historic grains have more flavour than modern grains, which have been bred for disease and drought tolerance.
“We want to take grains back to a time when bread had different flavours, so flavour is a big factor to us,” she says.
“(Heritage grains) have a certain spiciness to them.”
Langhorne Creek’s economy is largely reliant on viticulture as the town is one of the Australia’s top red grape growing regions, but Emily says locals are already interested in building the grain growing industry.
“We have got great community spirit in Langhorne Creek and the local farmers are interested in being a part of this alternative economy,” she says.
“The grains we’ve planted are quite experimental, at least five of them are growing very happily.”
While waiting for its own fields to prosper, Small World Bakery uses heritage flour from interstate as well as an Australian heritage wheat variety dating back to Federation.
Small World Bakery is expecting to mill its own flour by the end of 2017, when a stone mill arrives from the US, the first of its kind commissioned outside of North America.
Small World Bakery products are baked in Langhorne Creek, but enjoyed throughout South Australia.
Two days per week Chris whizzes down city streets and laneways on a Danish-made bicycle, delivering the bread to businesses and homes in Adelaide.
“We’re bringing something from our community to the city and we’re able to feed people high-quality food from the country,” Emily says.
“As the bread is ordered and paid for online we don’t have to worry about taking payment, so we can have a conversation about bread and what it’s like in the wheat field.”
All Small World Bakery breads are sourdough, made using naturally occurring yeast and bacteria.
No commerical yeast is used.
“Commercial yeast is perpetuated in a lab and very controlled,” Emily says.
“When you have a sourdough you are working with the bacteria and yeast and you control the different temperatures, water and time.”
Emily was introduced to the world of fermentation – a natural process involved in the making of many foods – after working as a cheesemaker at Woodside Cheese Wrights in the Adelaide Hills.
After six years at the artisan cheese factory, Emily and Chris moved to Langhorne Creek to work in the wine industry.
Carrying on her passion for food and fermentation, Emily took up baking after Chris installed a wood-fired oven under the verandah in the backyard.
Soon enough friends and local cafés started placing orders.
Now Small World Bakery products are available to purchase directly at 112 Coombe Road, Langhorne Creek, or from Argus House, Strathalbyn.
Bread is ordered online via the website and delivered to homes and workplaces in Adelaide’s CBD or North Adelaide.
Header photo by Josie Withers.
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