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The Grumpy Baker’s Michael Cthurmer shares the secret to the perfect sourdough

Photography by Steven Woodburn

The Grumpy Baker’s Michael Cthurmer shares the secret to the perfect sourdough

Since opening their first Grumpy Baker café almost 20 years ago, Michael and Deborah Cthurmer have made a name for themselves in the Sydney foodie scene, adored for their hand-crafted sourdough and delicious baked goods.

The Grumpy Baker’s Michael Cthurmer shares the secret to the perfect sourdough

With the recent launch of The Grumpy Baker Bilpin, a new café and bakery in the stunning Blue Mountains, we sat down with Michael to hear his food inspirations, local travel tips and the secret to the perfect sourdough.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the menu?

The Grumpy Baker menu is inspired by my Israeli heritage and the dishes I grew up on. My dad would take me to the markets when I was younger where the locals would be selling masses of warm pocket pita bread.

This is why our ovens are always in the middle of the bakery with an open kitchen that allows customers to see and smell everything.

Photography by Steven Woodburn

When we launched our first Grumpy Baker café 19 years ago, Israeli foods were still very new but fast forward to now and it’s a big part of the café culture.

Our hero dishes include the Moroccan Lamb Pie and a Chicken Harissa Pie. Classic Israeli with a modern twist, as well as our freshly baked sourdough breads and an endless selection of pastries.

What are some of your favourite things on the menu at the moment?

We are probably best known for our Grumpy Shakshuka baked eggs. It’s a family recipe, cooked slowly in a rich tomato-based, spiced sauce.

What’s special about The Grumpy Baker Bilpin?

Bilpin is a second home to my family so Grumpy Baker was an obvious choice for us. The town has seen a lot the last year with the bushfires and then of course, as the community was welcoming tourism back COVID happened.

We have been working on bringing the café and bakery to the area for many years now and I wanted to bring our freshly baked sourdough, pastries and coffee to the local community, as well as giving visitors and those passing by somewhere to stop in.

Photography by Steven Woodburn

With our equine farm and accommodation Eden Farm Escape around the corner, we have made Bilpin a little community hub and a destination to pick up great coffee, sweets, homewares and vintage pieces.

What’s the secret to a great sourdough?

Love, dedication and patience!

What are favourite things to do in the area?

Bilpin is a small yet thriving community based in the World Heritage Blue Mountains. The area is famous for its apples with plenty of Orchards and Fruit Picking – try Bilpin’s Cider Orchard Cellar door and Hillbilly Cider.

We also get a lot of visitors who have come to hike, or if you’re wanting to explore without the hiking, the Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens are on our doorstep.

If you’re there for the weekend, Bilpin Local Markets are open every Saturday where you can purchase locally grown and made produce and products.

Eden Farm Escape is an equine farm which offers horse riding and interaction with the animals for our guests, so is perfect for families looking for a relaxing weekend.

Click here for the Grumpy Baker’s Roast Garlic and Olive Sourdough Recipe.

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