Baker Shane Palmer makes it sound so simple. “My sourdough is made from three basic ingredients: flour, salt and water.” But when you raise one his mahogany brown, sweet-smelling loaves to your nose, you know that it has taken years of practice and skill to make something this perfect. “The secret is in the sourdough culture, which you make using a flour and water base and organic yeast harvested from the air. No commercial yeast or additives of any kind are added to the bread.” Shane has been nurturing and minding his sourdough ‘mother’ for over five years now and clearly it plays a key role in the wonderfully tangy, complex, umami flavour of his sourdough.
Shane and his pastry chef partner Charlotte Leonard Kane, met in 2010 while studying Culinary Arts in DIT, since then the pair have travelled to San Francisco, to work with some of the best names in baking. Shane with Nathan Yanko, and Charlotte with Craftsman and Wolves. Now, back home, they’ve launched Scéal Bakery, based in a small-but-growing bakery premises on a friend’s farm in Glasnevin. This is where Shane conjures up his glorious country sourdough, miso seaweed sourdough loaf and sprouted spelt while Charlotte creates extravagant Viennoiserie, including chocolate and almond croissants and morning buns (scrolls of buttery croissant pastry, doused in cinnamon). Divine.
Find them at the Glasnevin Honest to Goodness market, the Dublin Flea market in Dublin 8, or order for pick up on Fridays at Proper Order in Smithfield. Shane will be hosting a series of sourdough bread workshops in the Glasnevin bakery soon, so watch this space.
Photography: Shantanu Starick