The Food Dude says……“The best thing since sliced bread!” Woodfrog Bakery on Barkly Street

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Chatting with Danny Berkovitch and Jarrod Hack, the enthusiastic owners of the 5 month old Woodfrog Bakery in St Kilda, I asked: “Why name your bakery after the North American frog, the mysterious Woodfrog?” at first they responded: “Why not?” Then I got an explanation, according to Jarrod, the partner responsible for all the baking: “the Woodfrog has a unique ability: it freezes during winter and burrows itself underground, then thaws out when it becomes warm again and emerges above ground. In other words, it’s resilient and evolves far more than other frogs”.

How does this all relate to a bakery? Well, the boys at Woodfrog are planning to always change with the times and evolve and expand their already substantial product range to keep customers excited and satisfied.

After a career making packaging, baker and boss Jarrod pursued his passion for food, first in chocolate making and then found his true calling in bread. Jarrod has been cultivating the artistic vision for the Woodfrog Bakery for more than five years, during which time he worked for some of Australia’s most renowned bakers and bakeries. He has an adventurous palate which he brings to the design and development of a range of breads that challenges conventional thinking about bread making and eating (he’s done the rounds at Baker D. Chirico, Chimmy’s South Melbourne, Sonoma in Sydney and more). Other partner Danny is always there, as Jarrod’s number two, from dawn onwards, assisting with brute labor, deliveries and administration. A far cry from his extensive background in the corporate world, he gave up to start this new adventure five months ago.

When you walk in to the shop you are met by a friendly hello from the boys, the offer of a quality coffee for $3, then gestured to the display wall with baskets heaving, jammed packed with a plethora of fresh loaves, bagels, baguettes and ciabattas. The Ironbark wooden bench tops and window frames add a touch of homeliness, contrasting with the monstrous imported baking oven in the background. Behind the wall, the room opens up to reveal an enormous warehouse space where all the preparation and baking magic happens.

Known as: ‘The Sourdough Specialists,’ Woodfrog’s sourdough range is possibly the most comprehensive available on this side of Melbourne and what a boon that is for fresh, daily baked supply to the many St Kilda restaurants and cafes. In addition to an already very considerable band of regular sourdough addicts invading the shop in Barkly Street religiously on a daily basis, from all walks of life; office workers, mothers, tradies and students.

At the Woodfrog, the magic taste comes from the unique preparation procedure. The guys ferment their various dough mixtures for around 30 hours to maximise the potential of the sourdough baking process. Starches undergo unique transformations resulting in thin caramelised crusts and an open moist crumb. Toast crumples in your mouth, loaves remain fresh longer than most other varieties of breads, are decidedly slow to stale and will toast beautifully day after day. Woodfrog’s dough’s are scaled and hand shaped before being scored with a blade and baked on the stone of a gas oven. They use organic flour, and water and salt, with the addition of ascorbic acid.

There’s bread and then there’s Woodfrog Bakery

Just look at the myriad of Bread loaves, sticks, baguettes & bagels on offer:

1. White loaf: Deep caramelisation and moist open crumb with flecks of whole-wheat flour. Woodfrog’s bestselling loaf (Sourdough, organic).

2. Olive Loaf: Same as above but with the addition of a generous quantity of whole Kalamata (Sourdough, organic).

3. Pumpkin Loaf: Whole roasted pumpkin, soaked whole Aussie soy beans and linseed give it a protein hit. Very versatile bread – enjoy it with anything (Sourdough).

4. Sour Loaf: The addition of rye and whole-wheat flour lays down some sour notes but does not overpower. A very soft open crumb resulting from a wet, sticky dough. Loaves should be blackened in spots and enjoyed with savory or sweet toppings (Sourdough, organic).

5. Fruit Loaf: Densely packed with tart apricots, currants and figs which have been soaked in orange blossom water; this loaf also gets character from an exotic spice mix. Good with cheese (Sourdough).

6. French Stick: A good baguette stands alone in the food world as probably the best butter delivery system yet discovered. Woodfrog’s has a unique crisp crust (Yeasted, organic).

7. Spelt Loaf: 100% wheat free. A little more on the sour side, it has a crisp crust. Not just for the health conscious (Sourdough).

8. Ciabatta: An Italian classic, in a serve for one. A wet dough properly folded to achieve a very even, open and moist crumb (Yeasted, organic).

9. Bagels: Sourdough bagels with a delicious chew and seeded all over. In sesame and “everything” varieties (Organic, sourdough, lightly yeasted).



The Woodfrog Bakery

108 Barkly Street, St Kilda

Open from 7am to 5pm – Tuesday to Sunday

Phone: (03) 90775540 for orders

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