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Social Sprouting: Interview with Three Mills Bakery

Pollen Café caught up with the masterminds behind Canberra’s own Three Mills Bakery – the suppliers of our bread! They are the go-to sourdough experts, pioneering in the Canberra bread scene with their creative approach to bread and pastries. Three Mills Bakery Director, Jarrod Deaton, and head baker, Justin King, tell us all about Three Mills Bakery, food trends and how to be a croissant connoisseur.

What is Three Mills Bakery all about?

Jarrod It’s about sourdough. We wanted to push what we thought were the limits of sourdough… working with small suppliers, house milling our own grains and pushing fermentation into as many hours as possible to get the best product. The last five years have been about developing that process and the story.

What trends are shaping our experience of food at the moment and how do these affect you?

Jarrod I think understanding the source - where things come from and having that transparency. It’s a story that establishments need to be able to communicate, for instance; the connection a business has with the farmer and each part of the process.

Textures are big at the moment. Food producers and kitchens have been playing around with products such as foams, crumbs and dehydration. This might come into bakeries in the future and impact on breads!

What makes Three Mills Bakery unique?

We mill our own flour!

How did you become a baker?

Justin By accident! I didn’t want to go to university, so I started working at Woolworths. Eventually I did end up going to university but went back to baking. I didn’t like baking at first, but once I got out of the big supermarkets it became really interesting. I was at Cornucopia in Braddon for five years before Jarrod and I teamed up. I’ve actually known Jarrod since we were three years old!

Why are the tops of loaves cut? And is there a reason why some are cut differently to each other?

Justin Ah yes! It’s not all for show. The steam that is created inside a loaf of bread needs to escape to prevent cracking. We also use cuts to shape loaves and to mark different loaves. If you want a wider loaf, for example, you make an angled cut down the length of the bread, making the loaf open up as the steam escapes.

You use exciting and exotic ingredients in some of your products – yuzu and potato are some that come to mind. What drives you to be so experimental?

Justin A chef once said to me ‘when you’re trying to think of something, try the craziest idea first.’ So I just muck around with something and if it works - it works and if it doesn’t - it doesn’t!

What is the best thing about being a baker in Canberra?

Justin It’s different to Sydney and Melbourne. In Canberra we can easily work one on one with our clients to form a relationship.

Jarrod Canberra has come a long way, we are quite worldly which means people need to step up to the plate and create a high-quality product!

You are a croissant connoisseur – what should an aspiring croissant connoisseur look for, so we can appreciate the finesse of a croissant while we sip our coffees?

Justin I’ll be back!

*runs off and comes back with a croissant cut in half*

You don’t want a croissant with big pockets or gaps. You want a nice, even separation of bubbles because this means the pastry has been evenly folded and it has a perfect separation of butter and dough, which helps with the texture of the pastry.

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