Deb and her loaves

For the love of loaves with Debbie Green

My Name is Debbie Green and I moved to the valley sixteen years ago. Growing up in Nelson Bay I thought I lived in the country, turns out I definitely didn’t.

Deb and her loaves
Deb and her loaves

It’s been a steep learning curve running a farm and raising kids, forever in the kitchen feeding our family of six. My husband Mick Green was born and bred here in Utungun and we agreed we couldn’t choose a more idyllic place to raise our family. His passion is Regenerative farming and we often talk about the similarities of soil microbes and sourdough microbes. Surprisingly we are on similar paths albeit one inside and one outside.

As our kids were becoming more self-sufficient, I looked at how I could continue to connect with and support them as they grow. I dreamt of having time to live a more sustainable lifestyle in line with our family values. A life of wandering around my veggie patch, picking the evening meal by what we grow.No matter how old our kids are, there is always the connection of wanting yummy food from our kitchen, preferably not made by dad.

I have made it my passion to learn to cook from scratch, use minimal chemicals in the home, and be there for my kids whether they want me or not. Coming from quite a creative background as a hairdresser and bookkeeper for our family farm, I craved using my hands. After trying pottery but missing access to a kiln, I soon found similarities with kneading the bread shaping, and scoring, plus, I got to eat my art!

In my dreamscape I envisioned bread cooling on the counter as my kids come home from school, alongside something simmering on the stove, most days this is exactly what I look at! I gave it a red-hot crack making bread the traditional way with ingredients I bought at our local grocer but found all the unnecessary ingredients overwhelming (and expensive)!
I wanted to be minimal.

Enter covid lockdown where everyone seemed to be making sourdough whilst home-schooling. This quickly dried up the yeast and most other ingredients.Luckily I still had my access to flour. So, I started to grow my own starter which is a bit like a paste you use for paper mâché’. I was excited but nervous, tried and failed quite a few times.

I joined sourdough Facebook groups and my youtube playlist featured page after page of sourdough tips. I became obsessed! My first true sourdough loaf in hindsight was an eyesore. A flat misshapen loaf of something. But I beamed with pride and took photos of my newest prodigy. I was hooked. It’s a passion and the more I study the less I know. What I do know, connecting myself to the food I feed my family and friends has given me, and hopefully them, a joy I could never compare.

I started to read the dough instead of a strict recipe and Began to understand that sourdough is much more than ingredients.For starters, the “starter” (pardon the pun) is wild yeast and beneficial bacteria that you harvest from your own space. Meaning your starter (the beneficial microbes that you use instead of “yeast”) is like a fingerprint. No two are the same! It evolves and reacts to its environment. If that’s not mind blowing enough- add to it flour, water, and a pinch of Himalayan salt and you have this loaf that springs up from nowhere. Not a number or colour added in sight. This aligned with my desire to feed my Family beneficial healthy food, homemade with love.

A couple of people asked if I was able to make them a loaf (and this is when they were sad little frisbees!) I saw a real need to go back to basics, connect with food, and to the people that eat it. I just go with the flow and let this hobby/ obsession grow organically, alongside me being with my family- I figured if it works in with us, I’ll give it a go!

Having 4 kids I’m forever at School drop-offs and picks up so I have incorporated sourdough letter box drops and meet-up points on my way to and from school. I’m using fuel anyway so if I can multi-task that ticks another box.You’ll often see me stopping to and fro on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from Utungun, Taylors Arm, Macksville and a few letterboxes in between! I also help manage an Airbnb down the road and you guessed it- it’s on my route anyway so they also get a loaf!

Being a stay-at-home mum, I find it so important to connect with the community, these are the families that will support us when we are down, up, and in between. And likewise, us for them. The best way to make a new friend is through food, smiles, and love. That is sourdough! Connecting people one loaf at a time

Deb`s Hot Tip: As I’m a home baker I have a limited amount I can bake so my cut-off for orders is 8 am the day before delivery- this allows for a long ferment and I bake your loaf within a few hours of delivery. Although it’s sometimes still hot, try and resist cutting into your loaf until completely cool!

You’ll Find me on Instagram Come and say Hi!!

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The Valley Hub acknowledges Gumbaynggirr country, the Ancestors, Elders and Traditional Custodians of the Valley in which we live and work. We thank them for their care of country through time and acknowledge and respect their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

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