Saturday 24 March 2018

New health-boosting bread hits Ireland: bamboo charcoal stone baked bread

The new bamboo charcoal stone baked French stick. Photo: Instagram/ @Cavistons
The new bamboo charcoal stone baked French stick. Photo: Instagram/ @Cavistons
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A new type of health-boosting bread has hit the shelves in a Dublin delicatessen for the first time – and it’s a mouthful.

Bakers at Cavistons in Glasthule, Co Dublin have devised a recipe for a bamboo charcoal stone baked French stick, the only one of its kind in Ireland.

Charcoal is known to help flush out toxins from the body, and Cavistons have imported bamboo charcoal from Japan which is also known for its health benefits.

“When I was doing my research I found it’s being used in Asia for lots of different things. It’s really good for your settling your stomach. Water can be purified with bamboo charcoal as well.”

“Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney started to do it and I saw it while I was there. I thought it looked amazing, and I thought ‘I wonder could we do that?’,” manager Mark Caviston said.

The five bakers at Cavistons, who churn out batches upon batches of artisan breads from 8am until 1pm, were keen to take up the challenge, Mark says.

“They’re keen to try new things, and who doesn’t love a challenge?”

“I investigated a few recipes and did a few trial runs to see if we could try and get it the right colour. Then eventually we got it. It’s the ash of the bamboo that turns it that blackish colour. We order it in from Japan.”

“We make a starter for the bread which is called polish. We mix the poolish with the dough, and then in the dough we have the bamboo ash and we let it prove and it rises and the colour changes.”

“The taste is ever so slightly different. We do about a dozen of these every day.”

The bread has now become a talking point among customers, Mark said.

“We started it over the summer. Initially we thought ‘what are people going to think of this?’ But people actually love it, they come back specifically for it. Restaurants are now taking it on wholesale to include in their bread baskets.”

“It’s great for a party, it’s a great talking point. It’s great with cheeses as well, like black crackers that you serve with cheese.”

Mark added: “People are looking for the breads that are proven for longer so that they’re easier to digest. Five years ago, people didn’t want the sourdoughs but now, all ages, young and old, are buying it. Spelt bread is more popular now as well.”

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