17 November 2023

A feat of fermentation: Kraken Sourdough rises to achieve the impossible

| Lucy Ridge
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Display of beautiful pastries.

Many people told Leander that sourdough pastries were too difficult but she has proved them wrong! Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Kraken Sourdough is no ordinary bakery. While sourdough bread has become wildly popular over the past few years, it’s still rare to see other naturally fermented products in bakeries. But Kraken owner and baker Leander Wiseman is making it happen, one delicious danish at a time.

Leander originally trained as an environmental biologist focussing on marine sustainability, and she is also a passionate diver and underwater photographer. When she became a mum, she started baking for her family, and the passion quickly took over the dining room table as she fulfilled orders for friends. Pretty soon she’d quit her old career and started Kraken Sourdough.

“When I had a kid I wanted to do something more tangible. For me, baking bread is a tangible representation of caring for the environment, connecting with the community and a tangible way to enact my values,” Leander told Region.

The name is a reference to her earlier career and great love of cephalopods. But it’s also a crack at the sceptics who said her ambition for a bakery that uses zero yeast was an impossible dream: as mythical as the kraken.

“I was told it wasn’t possible to do fully sourdough pastry but here we are, doing the impossible!”

And the impossible is delicious!

Rhubarb danish with coffee.

The danishes feature seasonal ingredients. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Kraken’s pastries are incredibly flakey and light, with an amazing depth of flavour to them. As well as making sweet danishes with fruit, Leander also makes savoury danishes. I bought the caramelised onion and brie danish from their mobile food van which visits the weekly Nowra farmers market and I was absolutely blown away by the flavour. I’ve now also tasted the kimchi and cheese croissant (amazing) and the honey mustard croissant (incredible).

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The flavours and fillings for the croissants change regularly, depending on seasonality which is a concept Leander takes seriously.

“We really embrace seasonality, even with the bread; winter bread behaves differently to summer bread and it tastes different too. Even the butter [from Pepe Saya] changes throughout the year depending on what the cows are eating.

“Supermarkets have taught people that you can have whatever you want year-round. But we don’t want to use canned apricots that have been flown halfway around the world. So we use apricots when they’re in season but when they’re done we find a different fruit.”

Kraken Sourdough exterior.

Kraken Sourdough moved to their new location in Woolami from St. George Basin around six months ago. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Dedicated to sourcing sustainable produce, Kraken bakes with single origin flour sourced directly from family farms in South Australia.

As well as the amazing pastries, the sourdough loaves at Kraken are also varied and delicious. They use a lot of native Australian ingredients, which Leander is proud of and says more people should be embracing those flavours. You can also buy sourdough bagels, doughnuts, waffles, and pasta from the fridge, or pick up a jar of relish or jam off the shelf.

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And no bakery is complete without a sausage roll! But once again, Kraken does things differently. A vegetarian for 30 years, Leander has perfected her plant based, fermented filling which has such a credible mince consistency she says it’s sometimes hard to convince people they’re not eating meat.

Glass cabinet with loaves.

Kraken Sourdough incorporates native flavours into their bread. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The bakery moved from their St George Basin location six months ago to a new, larger space in the industrial area between Huskisson and Woolami, just across the road from Jervis Bay Brewing Co.

Visit Kraken Sourdough at 10 Duranbah Dr, Huskisson.
They are open from 7 am to 2 pm Thursday to Saturday and from 8 am to 2 pm on Sunday.
You can also find them at Nowra Farmers Market on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 6 pm.
Follow Kraken on Facebook or Instagram.

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