By Katie Roche
Photo by Sean Jackson
Blazing Salad’s baker Joe Fitzmaurice has swapped his Dublin bakery for a more eco-friendly approach by using a woodfire stove in Cloughjordan – making him the first baker to use this method in Ireland. Baking is not easier though: it’s a lot harder. “When the heat is gone, you can’t bake any more bread – so the breadmaking amount is quite restricted. I can’t keep on baking for 24 hours,” says Joe.
Joe’s dream is about being local, more sustainable and using local energy resources. In Dublin, he had a much bigger bakery for his popular sourdough and rye breads, but he didn’t want to get to the stage where he had to deal with big supermarket chains and distributors. “Once you start baking more, that path is always inevitable because it’s the big shops that control so much of the market,” he says.
Joe sources all his fuel from Knockanree Wood, and he uses one wheelbarrow’s worth of wood to cook his daily 400 loafs. “When you think of how much energy commercial ovens use, the amount of cables that have to be put in, and how they just eat up fuel, this is a much more efficient way of doing it.” Also, nearby he has 15 acres of rye that will be used for the breadmaking, making his food resources sustainable.
“I’m just so passionate about baking that I wanted to do this: it’s taking baking onto another level in terms of understanding how ovens work. I’m really into sourdoughs, nature cultures, long fermentation and once I make enough money to support my family that’s all I want, that’s good enough,” he says, smiling.
Joe Fitzmaurice wakes up at 6am to deliver his organic bread to Blazing Salads on Drury Street; Select Stores in Dalkey; Hop Sack in Rathmines; Organic Supermarket in Blackrock; and at the Co-operative Market in Newmarket Square, Dublin 8.