Local Business Spotlight, TasteBox highlights Wild Bread Co

First published 12th Sep, 2023

What a privilege to sit down with Hilton artisan baker Paul, owner of Wild Bread Co. We met last week because I wanted to hear how he started his business and what drives him to produce some of the best bread I have tasted. Apart from being an absolutely charming host, who was more than happy to show me around despite being incredibly busy with the day’s orders, he is also a wealth of knowledge on good quality bread and why we should really care about the type of bread we eat. 


Nestled in the heart of Hilton is a tranquil sanctuary, which happens to be the home of Paul and Wild Bread Co. Inside I could see Paul’s staff already very busy with the day's orders. As I watched them expertly kneading, folding and rolling, my tummy immediately started to rumble with the thought of the freshly baked sourdough loaves that were about to be produced.

Paul graciously welcomed me in and offered me a cup of coffee, and as we sat in his beautiful garden, he told me how he had known absolutely nothing about sourdough bread when he first acquired Wild Bread Co, having come from a management service industry background. Fast forward to now and Paul is a fountain of knowledge, having learnt many lessons along the way, about what separates handmade sourdough bread from mass-produced, commercial, machine-made bread.

So, what are the differences? Simply, it comes down to ingredients and time.

What’s in a name (of an ingredient)?

To many people, bread may be just bread. But consider for a minute the incredibly long list of ingredients we see on a regular commercial loaf of bread, the type many of us use for kids’ lunchboxes or toast in the morning. What is calcium propionate when it is at home? I am a dietician and I would struggle to tell you off the top of my head. Our modern methods of making bread – producing huge volumes as quickly as possible – have caused us to lose so much of bread's natural goodness.

Paul’s bread contains four simple ingredients: local GMO-free flour, water, natural West Coast salt and sourdough starter (wild yeast). That is it. And when it comes to flour, he is exceptionally particular about the type he uses - only the stoneground flour from Champagne Valley Stonemill is good enough. Why? It is local with a small carbon footprint, it is GMO-free and the fact that it is slowly stoneground means that it is not stripped of its nutritional qualities. The fifth element required is time….

Time is of the essence

Paul refers to his method of working as part of the slow-food culture, which is a growing and caring global movement. His loaves take three days to make. Fermentation is never hurried – it is allowed to happen naturally in its own time depending on the seasonal temperatures, as nature intended.

This slow fermentation allows the enzymes in the starter to feed on the flour’s carbohydrates, lowering the gluten and pH level of the bread, and allowing it to become more digestible for us, with a low GI. People who react poorly to commercial, mass-produced bread (bloating, heartburn etc.) will very likely have none of these symptoms after eating properly made sourdough bread which has been allowed to ferment.

Another benefit of this process is that it also creates a more satiating bread – you feel fuller for longer after eating it, thanks to the better blood sugar profile it gives, as compared to commercial breads.

What about the taste?

I have sampled a variety of Paul’s breads and it has a distinct nutty flavour that gets even better the longer you have the bread (if you can control yourself, that is!). His loaves keep for 5 days, wrapped in paper (not in plastic!) or kept in a bread tin. I have found that slicing it and freezing it, then taking out slices as needed is very convenient. My personal favourite is slightly toasted, with some mashed avo and a soft-boiled egg on top for breakfast or even a light lunch – absolutely divine. 

Paul’s breads are widely available in Hilton. You can also order directly from him. Whatsapp him on 064 737 9200 to join his broadcast list. You will not regret it! Or visit his website to see what is on the bake!  



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