We'd be lying if we said we didn't love slices of freshly baked bread with lashings of butter or any other unforgiving topping, however with the discovery of The Midnight Baker's delicious gluten, wheat, yeast, dairy, refined sugar and egg free loaves of bread, our guilty pleasure has become a nutritious, high in fibre snack. Packed full of nuts and seeds, The Midnight Baker's infamous flavoursome Freedom Loaf is now listed on the menu's of some of our favourite inner city cafes.
Delighted by our new discovery, we caught up with Yeshe Dawa of The Midnight Baker to find out where the idea for her growing artisan bread came from and her summer food highlights including raspberries for her famous Chia Seed Jam...
How did The Midnight Baker come about?
I worked in the fashion industry for five years doing sales and communications before transitioning into the food industry. I loved working in fashion however, it was also dream of mine to do something with food and I knew I'd have regrets if I didn't give it a try. So I took the plunge, resigned from my job and started my own small business, The Midnight Baker.
TMB was spurred on by my decision to go gluten free a few years ago to help with my Eczema. At the time there weren't a lot of great GF bread options available. The mainstream versions were made using highly refined flours and starches and while they ticked the "GF" box, I didn't feel healthy eating them. Wanting to know what I was putting into my body and determined to get as much nutrition as possible from my food, I decided to make my own bread. I trialled countless versions and once perfected shared it with friends and workmates. They in turn shared it on and with their support things grew from there.
Where did the name The Midnight Baker come from?
Initially it was inspired by my late night baking schedule, as I worked full time and the evenings were the only time I could bake. However, more and more it resonates with my love of the stars, constellations and the hues of the night sky in the mid to late evening. I love the colours in the last moments of the day, just before complete darkness has set in; those deep dark seemingly endless midnight blues. Also, my last name, Dawa, means ‘moon’ in Tibetan and I often find myself feeling connected to the evening.
The Midnight Baker has grown very quickly, has the rapid expansion challenged your business?
It has grown so quickly which I’m amazed and thrilled about! I remember the day I got my first order from a completely random person; I was SO excited. Someone who wasn’t a friend, or a member of my family who wanted to try my bread! And then cafes like Catroux and Odettes began to approach me about using the Freedom Loaf on their menus and I realised my side project was growing into small business.
Up until about six weeks ago, I was doing everything myself, all the preparation, baking, packaging, accounting, ordering, website, social and deliveries. To be honest, I still am but I now have two amazing girls who help me a couple of nights a week. This has made things so much more manageable. To me, it's the handmade aspect of this bread which makes it special, from the mixing and baking, the hand stamping of each bag and tying of string around each individual loaf.
What foods are you most excited to experiment with this summer?
I am really keen to experiment with some of the summer seasonal produce both in the loaf and as toppings for it!
I’d love to do a beetroot loaf for vibrant pieces of toast. Perhaps paired with an equally bright beetroot hummus topped with feta or some fermented vegetables for a tangy sweet and sour combo.
Asparagus are in the latter part of their season so while they’re fresh, I love to poach stalks and serve them on toast with a soft poached egg and a drizzle of miso tahini dressing.
A friend recently suggested topping the Cinnahon loaf with ricotta, fresh strawberries and a drizzle of honey which would be divine.
And you can’t go wrong with avocado on toast with salt and pepper. If you’re really game you could even whip some avocado into a creamy cacao mousse, serve a dollop on top of a good nut butter spread and top with banana and cinnamon.
What’s next for The Midnight Baker?
I recently joined the La Cigale French Markets in Parnell which has been a lot of fun. I’m there every Sunday from 9am - 1pm with whole loaves and toast by the slice for sale.
I’m trialling new ingredients to make my loaves completely vegan and am working on a paleo version. I’d love to branch out eventually too and perfect a Midnight Baker Bagel and burger bun one day. And sweet treats. I have a wicked sweet tooth which is where my love of baking initially stems from.
Blue sky? One day I’d love to have my own space. Somewhere I can bake from, sell whole loaves, serve toast and delicious tea blends. Somewhere filled with lot of natural light and beautiful plants.
RASPBERRY CHIA SEED JAM
(Raw, Vegan, DF, GF)
2 cups frozen or fresh raspberries
1/2 cup soaked medjool dates
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3 - 5 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup filtered water
Soak the dates in hot water for 15 mins and then drain.
Keep 1/2 a cup of raspberries aside. Add the remaining raspberries, soaked dates, vanilla essence and water to food processor and blend until smooth. Add the chia seeds, stir to combine and transfer into a jar. Refrigerate for 2 hours minimum to set. Serve on top of toasted Freedom Loaf with peanut butter or on top of granola and coconut yoghurt. Keeps in the fridge for approximately 1 week.
You can amend the consistency of the jam by altering the water / chia seed ratio.
The dates can be substituted for the sweetener of your choice. Be sure to add a little bit at a time when substituting ingredients to suit your taste.
Any berries can be used to make Chia Seed jam just adjust the amount of sweetener you use accordingly (i.e. raspberries are quite tart so I use more dates. Blueberries are a bit sweeter so don't need as much.)
Thanks Yeshe x