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We're very excited to announce a new loaf in our range – the Rustica!
The Rustica was inspired by a loaf that Irrewarra founders, John and Bronwynne Calvert, discovered at Eataly in Rome (if you don’t know of the Eataly stores, now with locations throughout the world, they stock the most amazing range of Italian-only food and wine).
The Rustica loaf is like a Ciabatta, but is not made with commercial yeast like the Ciabatta is; it's crafted from very ripe (highly fermented) 100% wild sourdough dough, which is unmoulded – simply cut into a rectangular slab and baked on the stone floor of the oven. The Rustica underwent many months of testing to get the level of fermentation of the dough just right, plus the size and cutting of the dough. It’s a handmade process that takes eight hours from mixing to baking, all done at ambient temperatures. We then had to train all our bakers in the techniques of cutting and turning the dough then hand-loading it into the oven.
Like all our other sourdough loaves, the Rustica doesn’t just taste delicious, it's a nutritional powerhouse – thanks to our natural sourdough culture, long fermentation process and commitment to using premium quality flour. Learn more about the health benefits of sourdough here.
How to enjoy the Rustica Sourdough loaf
It’s the fully fermented, high-hydration dough of the Rustica which gives it its signature moist and 'holey' interior (or ‘crumb’). Baking each loaf on the stone floor of our ovens allows bubbles to develop and forms a chewy, delicious golden crust.
This open texture – but strong exterior – makes it a versatile option for everything from a light lunch to casual non-fuss entertaining. Read on to see some of our top tips to use the Rustica loaf.
The Rustica can be easily sliced or torn apart, and is wonderful both fresh or lightly toasted. This makes it the perfect pairing with homemade soups for a cosy night in – because while spring may have arrived, nights can still be a little chilly.
It's also wonderful with Italian or Australian extra virgin oil and Australian pink salt flakes (we love Murray River Salt) or as part of a grazing platter with cheeses and your favourite dips (try this Whipped Goats Cheese Dip from Meredith Dairy).
An Italian slab sandwich is also a delicious option – cut a generous slab from your loaf, slice horizontally, then add Italian cured meats, cheese and marinated vegetables or pickles and enjoy! Try it press-toasted too! Fortunately, the generous size of the Rustica means lunch is served for the whole family.
Speaking of sensational sandwiches, Melbourne food stylist and content creator Victoria Theng (@stylemyplate) has sparked some delicious ideas with this indulgent take on the steak sandwich, using a ciabatta-style loaf – we can’t wait to try it using thick slices of the Rustica! And if you get creative with the Rustica at home, don’t forget to tag us in your creation with @irrewarra_bakery.
To ensure you get longevity from the Rustica, after a day or two, ‘refresh’ the loaf and bring it back to ‘just baked’ by wrapping in foil and heating it in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes. The crust will return to crusty, and the inside, soft and moist.
The 600g Rustica loaf is now available at all of our Victorian bread retailers – find your nearest retailer by clicking here.