ROLLING ON: Peter Wellman looked for a “tree change” and took over the Sugarloaf Bakery in Boonah 16 years ago.
ROLLING ON: Peter Wellman looked for a “tree change” and took over the Sugarloaf Bakery in Boonah 16 years ago. Inga Williams

Nice recipe for a cool change

BAKERIES, like coffee shops, are places that stimulate almost religious feelings of loyalty and devotion.

Devout customers swear by their favourite shop and consider it next to treason to go anywhere else.

From the street view, Sugarloaf Bakery isn't too remarkable but it's what's inside that causes that deep commitment

Peter Wellman and Vicki Polden have owned the bakery on the main street of Boonah for 16 years.

Peter is the baker and Vicki serves in the bakery.

"This bakehouse is probably over 100 years old," Peter said in the large area downstairs behind the store-front.

"Minters had it first. It was a two-storey building and it burnt down. Then the Hanels took it on and there was three generations of Hanels here and then I took it over.

"Actually there was Grimseys before that. They had a supermarket here years ago.

"We're just in the process of renovating. Downstairs used to be the original bakehouse. Someone put it upstairs and turned it into a hot bread shop.

"We're going to open up the shop and move it back and put a sandwich bar in and dress it up; put in a few lines; some tables and chairs."

Moving to Boonah and the Sugarloaf Bakery was a matter of getting away from it all for the baker/pastry chef .

"I had a shop in Robina originally, before the town centre opened. Then I worked at the ANA Hotel at Surfer's there before it became a Holiday Inn and then I was at the Sheraton for a little while," he said .

"I worked all over the coast, down at Kirra bakery for a mate of mine at Burleigh and then I worked at Main Beach.

"I'd had enough of the Coast that's for sure and came out here. What do they call it - a tree change?"

He had to change everything when he got to the bakery, mainly the products.

"Steve and Linda, who had it before me, they weren't bakers so they just had basic lines. I've taken it from there," he said.

He soon realised he was being watched.

"There's a lot of cooks in the country so there's a lot of food critics," he said. "Tastebuds are hard to cater for; everyone's different. That's what I've found over the years."

No matter what, he's had to work hard over the years to keep ahead of the bakery game, mainly with bread.

"Things change; there's a lot of artisan breads now," he said.

"Back when I started my apprenticeship it was basically white and even the wholemeal was only you added a bit of what they called Blackjack to make it brown bread. It wasn't actually wholemeal bread, it was called brown bread.

"And then they went on to Pritikin bread and they've tried all sorts and now they're trying spelt again; they're giving that a run. And quinoa bread, we've been there done that.

"At the moment they've got a European flour coming out, it's called a winemaker bread. We do that on the weekends mainly, because obviously through the week people are on their way to work.

"Weekends are our biggest two days. That's when you get tourists. We also get a lot of rock-climbers who are out this way."

Like all bakers, Peter has the lifestyle of a possum; he works at night and sleeps during the day.

"It's seven days a week but it's like anything; you only get out what you put in,' he said.



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