There’s a contingent of Europeans who don’t mind travelling a considerable distance in order to stock up on Jon and Gina Hutton’s wood-fired bread. Which could possibly be the highest compliment: most Europeans know and love their bread.

It’s hardly surprising. Eleven years ago Jon, a former bricklayer, built a huge wood-fired oven on their Crabbes Creek property. And so the couple started to learn about the art of bread-making, eventually feeling ready to dispense their product at local farmers markets. Jon’s seen some big changes in that time, especially the interest in sourdoughs. ‘More people’, he tells me, ‘started leaning toward sourdough as a healthier choice as opposed to the fluffy white bread you get in supermarkets.’ I point out it’s not only about the health benefits, but also about taste and texture, that glorious chewiness, the subtle tang. Because the 16-hour fermentation breaks gluten down quickly, Jon tells me, even those who claim to be gluten-intolerant find they can eat it with no ill effect. 

That’s not the only reason their breads are so popular. Of the fifteen different types they make, many utilise ancient grains like spelt and korazan. The latter, in particular, has ‘taken off’, Jon says; indeed, it’s their best seller. He says the ancient grain (sourced like all their flours from millers in Gunnedah)  ‘hasn’t  been messed around with.’  The sweet, buttery, nutty grains are much larger than modern wheat grains and are easier to digest.

I ask Jon for three tips for home-bakers and he says it’s good flour; good salt (theirs is a hand-harvested coarse French Celtic sea salt rich in minerals); and long fermentation.

At the height of Covid and the mania for home-baking, especially sourdough, Jon and Gina gave away lots of their leaven (starter). Some skills, however, I’d prefer to leave to the experts, like fresh pasta, like bread. Thank goodness we have Jon and Gina.

Find Crabbes Creek Woodfired every Tuesday at New Brighton Farmers Market 8am-11am and Mullum Farmers Market every Friday 7am-11am