In 2001 after a year of concrete pouring, bricklaying and rendering, a group of CERES farmers and work-for-the-soulers finished building an enormous wood-fired bread oven – the engine room for what would be CERES’ new social enterprise bakery.
Capable of turning out 80 loaves at a time the huge oven sat like a creamy yellow ship docked at the front arch of Honey Lane farm.
The farmers, led by Ric Corinadli and Ken “the baker” Hercott, dreamed of selling their sourdough bread, still warm from the oven, to the throngs of people flocking to the newly established CERES Market.
But the dream ended with a brutally abrupt, “No”. An Environmental Health Official, who would block innovative projects at CERES for the next decade, deemed the outdoor oven a health risk.
The farmers, desperate to see their bakery open, frantically offered solutions and compromises. The Health Official would not be moved and the “No” stood.
The dusty unused oven became home for empty farm crates and wax veggie boxes, a painful reminder everytime the farmers and work-for-the soulers walked past through the archway.
And slowly, as they drifted off to new lives and other work, the dream of the bakery left with them.
Years later, unaware of the history that came before him, Alex Iordanov found himself working in the kitchen of the CERES Grocery Cafe.
Iordanov grew up in Brittany, born into a family of French bakers, he’d always wanted to become a pastry chef and had enrolled in bakery school at fifteen.
Emigrating to Australia in 2008, Alex worked as a sourdough baker in the woodfired ovens at Cannibal Creek Bakehouse in East Gippsland.
Coming to CERES Grocery in 2017 Alex started to dream about starting a little bakery in the Grocery kitchen.
Backed by his manager, Beck Morley, a business plan was written, an oven purchased.
Drawing on the baking influence of his grandfather and sourcing stone ground flour from Rockpaperflour mill, Alex’s first sourdough loaves and croissants came out just as they have been for three generations in Brittany.
And so in March of 2021, from the same kitchen where CERES farmers were meant to proof sourdough twenty years earlier, the dream of a bakery at CERES was finally fulfilled.
Since opening things have gone well, so well Alex is on the hunt for another baker to help him keep up with the demand (if this sounds like you get in touch with Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Flowerdays now Thursday to Saturday
Bunches are grown on Mt Macedon, are free of chemicals, long lasting, absolutely beautiful and limited in numbers. Get in early.
Have a great week