This is a question we bakers often hear asked by the Miller+Baker customers, and we get it - our bread is baked to the point of almost burning!
It may come as a surprise to learn that we intentionally bake our bread to develop a deep brown, almost blackened crust. This baking style is common in Europe especially France, and increasingly in the US and we wanted to bring dark-baked bread to Lake Street Perth.
The reason for the colour is a little complex, but bear with us: Our loaves are fermented for up to 18 hours in the coolroom. This slow, cold fermentation allows the grains to release all their nutrients and crucially natural sugars, and it is the presence of these sugars which results in a dark, caramelised crust. This chemical reaction is known as the Maillard reaction and occurs when the acids and reducing sugars in the sourdough react as the dough’s surface temperature exceeds 100 Celcius.
We are one of the very few bakeries in Australia milling our own flour onsite. Using freshly milled flour necessitates additional hydration and this extra water needs to be dried out of the loaf completely in the baking process, to hold a crisp crust after the bread cools. (This extra hydration is also why we're unable to machine slice our sourdoughs - that's a story for another day)
You will find our darker baked loaves have a great texture, a thin crust, crunchy and chewy at the same time and most importantly - have complex delicious flavours.
Now that you know a little about our sourdough process, you will understand that there's a significant difference between a very dark crust and a burnt crust. Our hope is that you will taste our dark sourdough and have the same lightbulb moment we had as we baked our way through this sourdough journey "OK - it's darker but it's got so much flavour!", rather than, "it's darker so it must be burnt."