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The Sourdough Revolution by William Barry

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To call Peter Flynn and Vlad Rainis bakers feels like a lie: they are revolutionary leaders; they are leading the sourdough revolution which is happening in shops and restaurants across Dublin “one loaf at a time”.

Their Arun Bakery in Stoneybatter has been operating for less than two years but the impact it has had on the way we understand and eat bread has been enormous. They are showing us what real bread is, showing us what many of us had lost, and they have been at the forefront of a baking revival with others including Joe Fitzmaurice from Cloughjordan Wood-fired Bakery, with whom Vlad worked, Tartine Organic bakery, and the Firehouse Bakery all sharing the charge.

Dublin has embraced sourdough: on opening Arun had planned to produce nine hundred loaves each week; production is currently running at nine hundred loaves per night! Demand has outstripped the capacity of the small bakery in the Spade Enterprise Centre and so the search for larger premises has begun.

A Prague native, Vlad is a master baker in the truest sense of the word, one of only a handful in Ireland. He left school at fifteen to begin his apprenticeship and has spent his life mastering his craft. Learning the skills and art of baking takes time and patience, much the same as baking great bread.

Sourdough bread relies on natural bacteria to rise, as opposed to commercial yeast. Arun sourdough bread takes a minimum of twelve hours, whilst the unique starter culture used for proving the handmade breads is over four years old and is known as “the Animal”- it is their pride and joy and is “fed” every day. The culture gives the bread its signature flavor: it contains strains of yeasts which are over twenty years old which travelled with Vlad from Prague.

Handmade from start to finish the resulting loaf is a celebration of the work done by arable farmers and the baker. Good bread is a pure and simple staple. A deep crust, a rich creamy aerated crumb enhanced by the complexity brought by long fermentation time, sourdough bread is the true expression of the grain, its soil and environment.

It’s a privilege to spend time with people such as Peter and Vlad, they represent everything which is right about small artisan food producers: they make a superior product, they stand over it fearlessly, and they share their knowledge with others. Peter understands marketing and has driven the brand and Vlad is the quiet genius behind the bread

Arun bakery take a stall every Saturday at the Honest2Goodness Market in Glasnevin, it can also be ordered by phone, twitter or Facebook and collected from the Bakery.
Also stocked in Lilliput Stores, Smithfield, Ennis Butchers Rialto, Nolans in Terenure and Evergreen, Camden Street.

William Barry

Arún Bakery
Unit B3, The Spade Enterprise Centre,
King St N, Dublin 7 (01) 617 4804

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