An avid reader,writer,traveller, sports enthusiast living in beachside Melbourne & working in the city. Always curious about what's around the corner.
Published September 26th 2011
Freshly Baked Bread
This multi award winning bakery regularly draws visitors to the Central Victorian country town of Trentham, once famous in the gold rush days. This winner of the 2011 National Baking Industry Association's Baking Seal of Excellence and the Environmental awards, prides itself on its dedication to excellence and its innovation.
Only just an hour and a half by car from Melbourne CBD, this historic bakery specialises in organic sourdough bread. Famed varieties are Blonde, Brunette, Raven, Redhead, Stubble and Carmen Miranda. Along with its pastries, the bread is hand made using traditional methods and baked in a huge 140 year old, 19th century wood-fired scotch oven.
Traditionally commercial baker's ovens, scotch ovens use stored heat which is released gradually after the fire is extinguished to allow for a deep even heat while the bread is baking. Red Beard's 75 tonne oven of cast iron and brick is 25 metres square and from just one firing, stores sufficient heat to bake 800 loaves of bread. It is possible to take an historic behind-the-scenes tour (book 7 days in advance) or to participate in a full day sourdough baking workshop.
However, one doesn't visit Red Beard Bakery just to buy bread. The restaurant has a wonderful warm ambience about it and is filled with rustic charm. The food is delicious, whether you try a simple sausage roll or have a substantial lunch. All food is made on the premises using local organic produce where possible and from the cakes and biscuits, pastries, soups and focaccias to the organic Fair Trade coffee, the taste is sublime.
The bakery is extremely popular, so be prepared for a wait around lunch time. It is possible to book a table mid week but not on weekends. Given the great cooked breakfasts available (local produce including eggs, bacon, chipolatas, vegetables, bakery- made baked beans and sourdough bread), brunch is worth considering.
The Bakery is a little hidden, down a laneway off the main street opposite the Town Square, so follow what the locals refer to as The Great Wall of Trentham passed the statues of farm animals, giraffes, lions and a crocodile to the red Bakery bollards. The wall is a mix of rocks, bricks, cement and what appears to be a jumble of various unwanted articles and stands out as a feature opposite the bakery.
Perhaps while waiting for the rush at the Bakery to die down a little, have a wander through this quaint town of Trentham. The first thing you'll probably notice is a large artistic clock in the town square, opposite the Post Office. Perhaps you will encounter, opposite The Cosmopolitan Hotel, the little carved man with the walking stick or note the large Aussie pig in his gum boots, sipping his drink through a straw just outside the Cool Country Tavern. Pull up an empty keg with a cushion on top and have a drink with him.
To complete your day, visit the Trentham Falls on the nearby Coliban River. These are the highest single drop falls in Victoria and this very scenic area is frequented by both locals and visitors alike. The Falls are well worth the short walk to the base.
The Carmen Miranda sounds great - what flavour is it?
By Kym Hamer - senior reviewer Sunday, 9th of October @ 02:26 pm
Hi Carole. Great article about Redbeard and a great review. It is a very special place indeed. I eat there on a regular basis and the food is fantastic, but I have to point out that the pictures of the food that you present in your review are not of food made at Redbeard. Perhaps these are generic photos to illustrate the sort of menu items that visitors can expect?? I just thought that perhaps this may be a little misleading for other readers... LP
By Anonymous Sunday, 27th of November @ 10:09 am
Thanks for your feedback. Ironically, the food pictures were the only ones not from my camera and came from Wikipedia to attempt to illustrate the types of food to expect. I didn't think about it from your perspective. Thanks for addressing it and I'll bear it in mind for the future. Hope you continue to read "Weekend Notes"