Fermentation is a wonderful thing. It turns grapes into wine, and flour and water into bread. It’s easy to see how a fascination with fermentation led winemaker Richard McIntyre to also want to tackle the world of bread baking.
It wasn’t just the lure of fermentation that did it. A copy of Elizabeth David’s Bread and Yeast Cookery that fell into McIntyre’s possession was the initial hook, causing him to dabble in small-scale bread baking even before he bought land at Moorooduc Estate. Years later, he was still so intrigued by bread baking he volunteered to assist Alan Scott, co-author of The Bread Builders and an influential builder of masonry ovens, on an oven build in the Yarra Valley after reading about it in the paper.
Afterwards, he invited Scott to Moorooduc Estate for a weekend of slow food, and commissioned him to build his own wood fired bread oven on the property. “Having an oven like that to use transformed the bread making,” says McIntyre.
Today, while weekdays are for making wine, weekends are reserved for baking bread. Each Saturday morning, McIntyre mixes flour and water together until it becomes dough, then leaves the dough to rise before cooking it in the courtyard’s big wood fired oven. His bread is so in demand that he’s started to sell loaves of it at the Moorooduc Estate Cellar Door on Saturdays and Sundays, alongside other produce homemade by wife Jill. Some locals even have a standing order.