• Jason Olmstead, owner of the Pukeko Bakery.

    Jason Olmstead, owner of the Pukeko Bakery.

Tag: Cafés

French Baguette, Italian Ciabatta… San Francisco Sour Dough.
Could an equally well loved loaf one day hail from New Zealand?

If it happens odds are that Jason Olmstead will be the ‘Starter'. Jason is the chef-turned-baker behind Pukeko Bakery now in Browns Bay.

Born in Colorado and resident in France, Italy and San Francisco for part of his career, Jason was a chef who baked as a hobby. "I’m now a baker who cooks as a hobby,” he says.

When he moved to New Zealand fifteen years ago he took a gamble on a change of direction and began baking artisan bread to supply his own retail shop in Mairangi Bay. The Prada team arrived not long after to prepare for the 2000 Americas Cup and their manager put the word out to a number of bakeries in Auckland to send samples of their bread. Olmstead did some research, found the team mainly hailed from Tuscany and phoned a friend from Florence. “What shall I bake them?” he asked. His “schiacciata’ (meaning squashed flat in Italian) was the taste of home they were looking for an they ordered 12kgs of bread a day for the duration of their stay. “That’s how my wholesale business was born.”

Jason now bakes for many of the city’s finest restaurants. Jason is interested in developing food that is quintessentially kiwi, particularly a New Zealand style of bread. Some of Pukeko’s products use a start that was made from a recipe Jason’s father in law, who is of Tuhoe descent, gave him.

“Our most popular bread at the moment is Kumara Bread which is a bright orange colour.”

Jason also uses beetroot, pumpkin and the deep purple Maori potato, not only for flavor, but for the vibrant natural colours. He also makes tradition Italian jet- black loaf called “Pane Nero” which is coloured with a squid ink.

As well as lovely bread there are many other tasty and fresh delights at Pukeko Bakery. A range of French pastries, yummy almond croissant, pain au chocolat, apricot Danish and more!

So come and meet Jason at Pukeko Bakery, or at one of the local Farmers Markets, and get your hands on what could one day become a world-famous artisanal loaf

Pukeko Bakery, 48 Anzac Road, Browns Bay, Phone 475 9541, Email: office@pukekobakery.com, Facebook: pukekobakery

By Aidan Bennett
Twitter:  @AidanLBennett
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Channel Magazine: Issuu 51 February 2015

Features articles by Aidan Bennett