Jarrod and Katie Lamprey: Rustic Bakehouse
For Jarrod and Katie, it takes a 1926-built Scotch baker’s oven to choose Tasmania as home
Master baker Jarrod Lamprey spent nearly two decades away from the island where he grew up. Travelling throughout Australia, he met his future wife Katie in a woodfired bakery along the way. Two children later, the catalyst for their new life in Tasmania was an old bakehouse for sale in the tiny northern town of Cressy. Today it’s thriving and has a vanilla slice that’s so good that some people travel for over an hour to get it.
When Jarrod and Katie met as enthusiastic teenagers in a Victorian woodfired bakery, they promised one another that one day they’d own their own woodfired bakery. Spending many years kneading the dough of others peoples’ enterprises, they had no assets or savings to realise their fiery dream.
Unwaveringly determined, they headed to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia where Jarrod worked as a driller and Katie took the wheel as a trainee dump truck driver. It was five dusty years of hard work before they shifted to Katie’s home state of Victoria upon the birth of their son. Jarrod continued as a fly-in fly-out driller while Katie quietly scoured the country for that dreamy woodfired bakehouse.
“I looked for 10 solid years,” smiles Katie. “When this gorgeous bakery built in 1926 with its original Scotch woodfired oven came up for sale in Cressy we put in an offer straight away. The building had previously been a bank, post office, butcher and fly-fishing store. All that time the oven was tucked away out the back.”
Cressy is a small town that sits beneath the Great Western Tiers, about 20 minutes’ drive south-west of Launceston. Founded in the 1850s to service what was originally the island’s richest wheat growing region, Cressy is rich in farming heritage. Home to around 1 000 residents, the area is still surrounded by vast farmland and is well known as a gateway to prime trout fishing.
“Many people thought we were mad, setting up a business in this tiny Tasmanian town in the middle of nowhere,” laughs Katie. “It’s been quite the opposite. Since opening the Rustic Bakehouse in early 2016 we haven’t looked back. We’ve been so busy. Jarrod was putting in 18 hour days just to keep up with demand.”
The life of a woodfired baker is hard work. Jarrod rises to light the fire at 2am. He does his dough weigh ups and mixing then typically starts on his pastries and pies while the dough is proving. There might be Danishes, doughnuts or almond croissants to prep while he works to get the heat just right.
“We don’t just flick an oven switch. There’s a bit of an art to getting the fire right,” explains Jarrod. “Outside weather affects the oven temperature, so it’s all about balance and knowing when to top it up. Woodfired baking is never the same twice but gives our bread a beautiful thick crust and distinct flavour, all made with local flour from Tasmanian Flour Mills in Launceston.”
Katie also works in the bakehouse along with 10 other staff members. All the artisan breads, sweets and pastries are made fresh daily in the old-fashioned method, much like the original 1920s bakery.
“We are just so grateful that the community warmly welcomed us,” says Katie. “What’s more, we have so many wonderful producers to tap into locally from the berry farm to the local meat from Perth for our pies to Ashgrove milk in our coffees. It’s an idyllic place to raise young children, too. I walk them to school in the country air and a few minutes later I’m at the bakery.”
Old-school style baking is labour intensive but the Lamprey’s wouldn’t bake any other way. In fact, their eldest son has already shown promise as a budding baker of traditional methods too. Having acquired a mobile coffee machine to service the farmers and with plans to convert an historic barn to accommodation, it appears the Lampreys are settling in for the long term.
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Find out more about Rustic Bakehouse.
For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories or visit Business Tasmania.