We like eating carbs and feeling righteous – hence our love for Loafer Bread. They exclusively use local, organic and biodynamic ingredients – from the Gippsland beef that fills the pies, to the certified organic stone milled flours, raisins and grains in every last loaf and cookie. The Fitzroy North bakery supplies their ethical wares to eco-conscious cafés Slow Poke, and Cheshire, and is a stirling café itself. We’re all about getting a mixed box of their buttery shortbread biscuits, or snaffling a curbside table, fair trade coffee and climbing between the layers of a flaky butter croissant and the most densely nut-populated walnut and cinnamon scroll in town. Pastries are hot property; so don’t dilly-dally getting there in the AM.
Meet baker Andrea Brabazon
It’s 7am. When you’re pressing the snooze button on your alarm for the third time, Andrea Brabazon is pulling the last batch of golden baguettes from the oven, dusting flour off her hands and preparing to greet her first customers of the day. For the last six years, she has been the owner of North Fitzroy’s Loafer Bread: a café that exclusively uses local, organic and biodynamic ingredients in their crusty loaves, buttery shortbread biscuits and flaky butter croissants. Andrea’s baking sustains not only her regular customers, but also the numerous eco-conscious cafés that Loafer supplies.
As the business has grown, Andrea has worked her way up to her current starting time of 3am with “baby steps”; first commencing her day at the “civilised” time of 4am. “It took a lot of getting used to,” she says. “I first worked as a pastry chef in a restaurant, where you start work in the morning and finish late at night!”
Andrea lives a short cycle from Loafer, but you won’t see this baker’s bike parked outside the pub in the evening. “I like to be in bed by 6.30pm,” she explains. “It kills the social life; I can’t get up to too much at night.” Andrea’s morning ritual consists of waking up at 2am, getting dressed, sipping tea, and cycling out into the dark. Getting into bed before sundown might seem unfair, but Andrea does experience the night – just in her own, completely different way. On the weekends, it’s a kind of starlit limbo between those coming home, and those for whom the day is just beginning. “I ride down St Georges Rd, so if it’s a weekend there are stragglers from the night before coming out of Danny’s Burgers,” she says. Disoriented punters might be good for a chuckle, but when Andrea describes her weekday ride, when movement is scarce, her face lights up with a secret smile. “Once you tick past 4am you see joggers. But before three, it’s so quiet when you’re cycling. There’s the changing sky, and the animals: foxes at that time and bats flying home. It’s a special time”.