The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery & Café

Sourdough is undoubtedly my favourite type of bread – so I’m grateful to have an excellent sourdough bakery local to me. The Good Loaf is situated in an iconic round building that used to be a Beaurepaires tyre store. As you can imagine, a lot of renovations were carried out to convert the building to a bakery.

While this blog is primarily a gluten free zone, I desperately wanted to give The Good Loaf a write up because their bread is amazing and gluten is often given a bad rap no matter what form it comes in. What many people don’t realise is that true, traditional sourdough, like what’s produced at The Good Loaf, takes 2-3 days to make. During this process, the natural fermentation pre-digests the wheat/gluten through enzymatic activity creating greater bio-availability of nutrients and a lower G.I., allowing those of you with gluten sensitivities and intolerances to have greater success digesting sourdough than regular bread containing baker’s yeast.

For those interested, The Good Loaf makes gluten free bread on Wednesdays but it’s not recommended for celiacs because of the gluten in the environment/possible cross contamination. There is, however, a dedicated gluten free bakery up the street that I’ll talk about another time.

TGL Front Counter

The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery & Café
404 Hargreaves Street
Bendigo, VIC 3550
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 5444 2171
Open Mon – Sat
Facebook Page

Cheryl, one of the owners, was kind enough to give me some of her time earlier this week in the form of a behind-the-scenes tour of the bakery. She introduced me to the staff and gave me a lot of information about producing sourdough and creating natural yeast in a temperature controlled environment. Admittedly I was unable to absorb some of the information because I was just so excited to be there! Yep, I’m a dork.

It was clear in the first 10 seconds of our conversation that Cheryl is highly dedicated and passionate about her business – it shows not only in her enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge, but also in the standard of products the bakery produces. There’s a strong driving force behind the success of the bakery that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Bread Rack 2

The breads sell at around $6 a loaf and they’re worth every cent. There’s a good variety on offer and many of the breads are available as both loaves and rolls.

After examining the ingredients list for all the breads on the website, I was able to work out which ones were vegan – thankfully, it was most of them! There’s two that aren’t vegan because they contain honey: Seedy Sourdough (pictured above) and Wholegrain & Honey. In addition, the following items contain a honey glaze on top but can be pre-ordered without it on request: Sultana and Raisin, Gourmet Fruit, Raisin and Walnut, Fruit Scrolls, Fruit Buns.

In the sweets cabinet, the flaxseed loaf & fruit scrolls are vegan (both pictured further below) and there’s 4 meals on the menu that are marked “VG – can be made vegan on request” (three of them are pictured further below).

Sultana & Raisin Sourdough
Sultana & Raisin Sourdough, can be pre-ordered without the honey glaze to make it vegan

Don’t be fooled by the size of this sweet little loaf – what it lacks in size it makes up for in density. It’s lightly spiced, perfectly sweet and one of the most filling fruit breads I’ve ever eaten.

Olive Sourdough 2
Olive Sourdough

This is hands down my favourite bread from The Good Loaf – I buy it more often than any other variety. It’s generously speckled with kalamata olives and herbs and has a slight tang which relates strongly to my Greek heritage. Some might find it a little too chewy when fresh (though I love it); it’s even more superb when toasted, taking on a soft fluffy inside. I love this best dipped in some good quality organic olive oil & balsamic vinegar. It’s also great as a side to a big Greek salad or garden salad.

Pumpkin Semi-Sourdough
Pumpkin Semi-Sourdough

The pumpkin semi-sourdough is a good, general crowd pleaser but it’s only available after 10am. It’s softer and more sandwich-friendly when fresh than the 100% sourdoughs and the roast pumpkin imparts a slightly sweet flavour. My favourite part about this bread is the earthy toasted pepitas stuck to the outside!

Fruit Scroll 1
Fruit Scroll $3.60, can be pre-ordered without the honey glaze to make it vegan

I didn’t know there were any vegan sweets available at The Good Loaf until this week, so I was stoked when I discovered these fruit scrolls. It’s been far too long since I had one, so I might have gone a wee bit crazy and eaten three of them this week.

Fruit Scroll 2
Fruit Scroll Inside

Can you blame me? These are divine! They’re sticky on the outside and the cubed apples swirled throughout are perfectly sweet and tender. They’re like biting into a cloud that’s heavy with sweet childhood memories. Did I mention that I ate three of them? I recommend warming them up in the microwave for 15 seconds on a cold rainy day.

Flaxseed Loaf
Flaxseed Loaf

The best way I can think to describe this is by telling you to imagine fruit bread and carrot cake making babies… With a dash of mudcake-style density (did your imagination get uncomfortably graphic just then?). It’s A LOT tastier than it looks so don’t judge it, but at over $4 a slice it’s definitely a luxury item. If you only try this once, it’ll be worth it.

Indian Baked Beans
Indian Baked Beans (with spinach instead of yoghurt) $10.00

It’s cool to see someone thinking outside the box when it comes to baked beans – this is certainly the only time I’ve ever seen Indian inspired baked beans and for the record, I loved them. They’re spiced without being spicy, so even lovers of mild food can enjoy these and the serve is seriously generous. I asked for the dish with spinach instead of yoghurt because I really wanted something green on my plate. That’s just how I roll.

Roast Vegie Foccacia
Roast Vegie Focaccia (vegan option is without sundried tomato feta or pesto) $8.80

I can’t speak for the focaccia because I didn’t eat it – but my friend who ordered it said it was pretty good! The vegan option (sans feta & pesto) would still have plenty of flavour from the grilled capsicum and marinated artichokes but I’d prefer to see something added for vegans rather than just subtracted – olive tapenade would be a good option. Perhaps The Good Loaf will consider this? ;) I love a good Mediterranean-themed sammy.

Roast Vegetable Calzone
Roast Vegetable Calzone (I asked for the vegan option – not sure what is in the non-vegan one but I guess it’s probably cheese?) $9.30

All the calzones I’ve had in the past have had a fairly thick, heavy outer so it was refreshing to eat one that was light and delicate. The rolled over edges are a bit chewy but they’re good for dipping in the home-style chunky tomato sauce at the end. The lentil & roast veg filling had loads of flavour and each time I dissected a forkful I was finding new veggies! At the very least, you’ll find zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, potato & sweet potato in there. This was definitely worth more than what I paid for it.

Bread Rack 1

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to tell you I was given the slice of flaxseed loaf free of charge. All other items pictured were paid for out of my own pocket and that little gift of gratitude hasn’t influenced my write up.

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3 thoughts on “The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery & Café

    • Hehe.

      Also: hiiii! I’ve seen you ’round the blogosphere and have looked at/read your blog a few times (MNG cupcakes sent me there the first time) but every time I try to comment my browser (at work) locks me out and I can’t figure out why. It does this for all WordPress & BlogSpot blogs :/ Anyway, I just wanted to say I think you’re awesome and is there a way I can subscribe to your blog by email? Greek vegans unite! Ha ;)

Chow down on this!