Markus’ Great Grandfather & Grandmother with children and baker circa 1920

Bread 101.1 | Time & Tradition

The doughs for île de païn loaves are mixed gently and fermented slowly, with patience and respect.  We call on many decades of experience using the ancient sourdough method to create our breads. 

Markus’ Great Grandfather & Grandmother with children and baker circa 1920
Markus’ Great Grandfather & Grandmother with children and baker circa 1920

Time & Tradition

Stone-milled natural wheat or rye (and occasionally other grains) are sifted and mixed with twice-filtered water and desert salt. Whole, broken and crushed grains may be selected for use to befit a desired texture or flavour outcome. We age certain flours naturally to temper them for an optimal bake. We cultivate personal relationships with farmers, millers and our other suppliers and are now able to procure high quality organic grains from SA farmers.

Use quality stone-ground flour for an optimal result

The methods for our hearth breads include a long, cool fermentation of soft doughs with sourdough culture passed down through generations. Only a thorough fermentation will unlock a grain’s full gastronomic and nutritional potential, just as only skilled hands can shape these soft doughs into simple, timeless and elegant shapes. The final rise takes place in traditional rattan baskets made by the same family since the mid 1800s.

Markus’ parents commissioned this mural when they took over the family bakery in the 1970s

Our crust, resulting from a direct, bold bake in the wood-fired oven, imparts aroma, colour and texture that stimulates digestion and lends a satisfying sense of having eaten “something substantial”.  Even a crust that appears “too dark”, once chewed for a few moments, reveals a bittersweet aftertaste not unlike dry Champagne or well-aged cheeses.

Our loaves can vary slightly in texture, flavor and size (not in weight – they are weighed by hand, one by one) due to fluctuations in growing and harvesting the grains in the field, milling conditions, ambient environment of the bakery and the natural ingredients and processes we employ.

Our loaves are baked in a wood –fired oven to impart aroma, colour & texture

Eating île de païn bread is a multi-sensory experience, even without additional ingredients or condiments. We put this down to the importance we place on natural, artisanal principles from ingredients through to baking.  This modern, yet ancient approach also guarantees a natural shelf life, freeze-ability and a frugal use of each valuable loaf to the very end. Even days after baking, a well-stored loaf will make a beautiful and satisfying toast.

With complex loaves, like those we bake and serve to our guests in the restaurant, one can learn to taste subtle nuances and appreciate these distinctions in other valuable and meaningful foods to include wine, chocolate, coffee, tea and cheese.

Bread, like all wholesome foods, must sustain our wellbeing and therefore deserve to be valued. 

Years of tradition | The Färbinger family bakery in Austria
Years of tradition | The Färbinger family bakery in Austria

Learn more about making île de païn’s authentic artisan sourdough breads here.

For original South African stone-ground flour go to

Equip yourself with essential, quality baking equipment to include traditional rattan baskets at our online store.