Organic flour from Gunnedah, filtered tap water and Murray River salt are all that make up a La Tartine loaf this side of the equator. The sourdough process starts off with a natural leaven (or levain) comprising flour and water that is left to ferment with the help of naturally occurring airborne yeasts. Once this leaven is mixed with more flour and water to make a dough, Nick and his team cut, weigh and shape the loaves by hand, then leave them to prove for up to seven hours before loading them into the deck oven.
It’s the lengthy fermentation that gives the bread its distinctive sourness. But sourdough is more than just a sour bread, a properly fermented sourdough made from a natural leaven that is left to prove slowly is much easier for the body to digest. This is how we are meant to eat bread. You can always tell a slow-fermented loaf by the air bubbles all over the crust. A lot of commercial ‘sourdoughs’ are nothing more than yeasted breads with added vinegar to create a sour flavour.
Another big tick for health is their flour, which is ground by stone to be creamy in colour and coarse in texture, unlike modern powdery roller-milled flour stripped of the nutrient-rich wheatgerm and bran.