If Melbourne had a league table of fabulous bakeries, Tivoli Road would always rank around the top.
South Yarra’s busiest bakery produces an excellent organic stoneground sourdough, along with some famously light doughnuts (well… they’re light as a feather if you don’t weigh the smooth, salted caramel, or any number of other delectable fillings). And then there are the buttery pork and fennel sausage rolls, beef pies, eccles cakes, Cornish pasties, palmiers, scones and galettes.
So what’s the secret to Tivoli Road’s success? It all comes down to the extraordinary owners, Michael and Pippa James. The couple have run the bakery since buying the business from MoVida’s Frank Camorra in 2013, combining their many years of experience in some of the best restaurants in the world. Michael and Pippa will say that local growers and suppliers have been the key to their raging success, but we customers know it all comes down to their love of good food.
Now Michael and Pippa have written a beautiful recipe book, revealing the secrets of some of Tivoli Road’s most loved creations. The Tivoli Road Baker (Hardie Grant Books, RRP $60) is a perfect gift for novice bakers, covering basic skills and larder tips with stunning images by Richmond photographer Bonnie Savage, but there are also plenty of challenging recipes for more experienced cooks.
For a little taste of the book’s contents, Michael has chosen his five favourite recipes – doughnuts, hot cross buns, Monte Carlo biscuits, traditional Cornish pasties and his amazing basic sourdough. Happy baking…
- “Growing up, my Gran would take me to the amusement arcade, where I would watch the doughnuts coming out of the fryer into the cinnamon sugar, and eat them warm,” Michael recalls. “Now our doughnuts are the most talked about item at our bakery, and the recipe I get asked for the most. We are quite experimental with the fillings, and the salted caramel is always on the menu.”Makes 10
190g bakers flour
25g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
8g fresh yeast40g water10g lemon oil
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
45g butter, diced and soft
1 litre vegetable oil, such as rice bran oil or cotton seed oil, for deep frying
For the cinnamon sugar…
125g caster sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
You need to use strong flour for this dough, with a high protein content, so it can hold the structure when frying.
If lemon oil is not available, feel free to use a good extra virgin olive oil.
Make the dough the day before you fry the doughnuts. This allows the yeasty flavour to develop, and achieves a strong dough that is easier to handle.
If you can’t get fresh yeast, you can substitute with dried yeast, but just remember that fresh yeast is heavier than dried yeast. One teaspoon of fresh yeast is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried yeast, but 10g of fresh yeast is equivalent to 5g dried yeast.
Mix the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside. Combine the yeast, half the water, oil and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the flour mixture and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, adding more water as needed to make a smooth dough.
Add the softened butter slowly while continuing to mix. Mix for 5 minutes, until the butter is fully incorporated. The dough should come away from the bowl and form a ball that is smooth, shiny and slightly sticky. Use the windowpane test to check the dough – take a small ball of dough and gently stretch it between your hands. You should be able to stretch it very thin without it breaking. If you find that it breaks easily, continue mixing for a few more minutes to work the gluten in the flour, then test it again. Leave the dough to rest in the bowl, covered with a damp tea towel, for 1 hour.
After an hour, knock back the dough and fold it by lifting one side up and over the other. Do this five or six times to develop strength in the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container, then cover with a damp tea towel and refrigerate overnight to develop a complex, yeasty flavour.
Line two trays with baking paper, and spray the paper lightly with oil. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and cut it into ten equal pieces. With each piece, gently flatten the dough and bring the edges together in the middle to form a rough ball, then turn it over so the seam is at the bottom. Cup your hand over the dough and use firm pressure to roll it on the bench until it forms a nice tight round ball with a smooth, even surface. Cover the doughnuts again with the damp tea towel, and leave them to rest for 15–20 minutes.
Take each doughnut and knock it flat, then fold the edges into the middle and turn it over so the seam is at the bottom. Using firm pressure, roll it in your hand on the bench again. Putting pressure on the doughnut strengthens the dough so it will rise well. Place the doughnuts on the lined trays, evenly spaced to allow for the eventual rise. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 2–3 hours, or until risen by half. Test the doughnut by gently pressing the surface. If this leaves a dent, they’re ready to fry, but if the dough springs back it still needs more time.
Heat the oil for deep frying to 180°C in a large, heavy based saucepan or deep fryer. The temperature is important. If it’s too hot, the doughnuts will burn and be raw inside, but if it’s not hot enough the doughnuts will stew in the oil and become soggy and greasy. Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, for about a minute on each side, until golden. Use a slotted spoon to turn them and remove them from the oil, onto a plate lined with paper towel. Set them aside to cool, then dust them in cinnamon sugar and cut a slit in the side, ready for filling.
Hot Cross Buns
- “Easter is our crazy time at the bakery and by far the busiest week of the year,” Michael explains. “People travel from all over Melbourne to stand in line for our hot cross buns, and have even asked us to post them interstate. We bake around the clock from the Thursday before Good Friday until Easter Sunday, and it’s still not enough. Pippa and I usually end up having a hot cross bun-free Easter, as there are never any to spare.”This recipe is precise as we like the exact ratio of spices, but feel free to adjust them to your taste.”
Makes 12 buns
For the brown sugar glaze…
100g soft brown sugar
100g water1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
For the dough…
200g full-cream (whole) milk1 orange
500g + 50g bakers flour
40g soft brown sugar
6g ground cinnamon
1g ground allspice
3g nutmeg, freshly grated
1g ground clove
1 egg, room temperature
35g fresh yeast
50g butter, ideally cultured, softened
130g sourdough dough (optional)
85g currants, soaked in water overnight
85g sultanas, soaked in water overnight
85g raisins, soaked in water overnight
70g mixed peel (mixed candied citrus peel)
For the cross…
50 g (1¾ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
25 g (1 oz) self-raising flour
65 g (2¼ oz) water
15 g (½ oz) oil
And the egg wash…
Splash full-cream (whole) milk
There are several factors in making a great bun, starting as always with the ingredients. We always freshly grate the nutmeg, as we find it improves the final flavour. Already ground is fine for the other spices, just try to buy them from a shop with a high turnover to ensure they haven’t been sitting around for years.
You need to use strong bakers flour with high protein content for this dough, so it will hold its structure when mixing.
If you can’t find mixed peel and don’t have time to make it, just use the zest of one lemon and one orange. The flavour lacks the bite of the mixed peel, but it’s still good.
At the bakery we add 130g of sourdough dough to strengthen the dough and enhance the flavour. If you don’t have any sourdough dough you can just leave it out – these will still be very delicious hot cross buns.
You will need to start a day ahead to soak the fruit; if it isn’t soaked, the fruit has a tendency to burn on the crust. If you want to make these over two days, just refrigerate the dough overnight after the first fold and finish off the buns the following day. You can also make the glaze ahead of time.
Start by making the brown sugar glaze, combining the sugar, water and spices in a small saucepan over a low heat. Bring it slowly to the boil, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 5 minutes to infuse the spices. It will reduce slightly, making a fragrant sticky glaze. Pour the glaze into a container and store it at room temperature.
To start the bun dough, slowly bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan over a medium heat, being careful not to let it boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Place the orange in a medium sized saucepan and cover well with water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat slightly and continue to boil for about 1 hour, until a knife goes through it easily. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, quarter the orange and remove any pips. Place it in a blender and blend for a minute or two, until you have a smooth puree, then set aside to cool.
Combine 500g bakers flour with the sugar, salt and spices in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together the milk, orange puree, egg and yeast, and add to the dry ingredients. Mix for five minutes on a medium speed. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and base of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that all of the dry mix is incorporated and that the mixture is forming one large ball of dough. Mix for another five minutes until the dough is smooth and strong, and comes away easily from the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer still running, incorporate the butter and sourdough dough, if using, a little at a time. Make sure they are being incorporated into the dough and not just coating the sides of the bowl – you may need to stop and scrape down the sides once or twice. Mix for 2–3 minutes, until the dough is firm and shiny, not sticky or wet. Use the windowpane test to check the dough. Take a small ball of dough and gently stretch it between your hands – you should be able to stretch it very thin without it breaking. If you find that it breaks easily, mix for a few more minutes to continue working the gluten in the flour, then test it again. If you are mixing by hand, this step will take a good 15 minutes of folding.
Drain the fruit and sprinkle the remaining 50g of bakers flour over it. Add the fruit and the mixed peel to the dough in three batches, then mix for 2–3 minutes, until the fruit is evenly dispersed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench, and knead it for about a minute, then place it in a lightly greased bowl and fold it by lifting it up and over itself a few times, turning the bowl 90 degrees between each fold. Leave the dough to rest in the bowl, covered with a damp tea towel, for an hour. If you want to spread the workload over a couple of days, the dough will be fine if left in the fridge overnight at this point.
Knead the dough in the bowl for about 1 minute, then fold the dough by lifting it up and over onto itself a few times, turning the bowl 90 degrees between each fold. Leave it to rest, covered with the damp tea towel for up to 2 hours, or until risen by half. Gently press the dough; it’s ready if your finger leaves a dent in the surface. If the dough springs all the way, leave it longer, and then test again.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Take each piece and gently flatten the dough, then bring the edges together in the middle so it forms a rough ball. Turn it over so the seam is at the bottom, then cup your hand over the dough and roll it on the bench using firm pressure until it forms a nice tight round ball with a smooth, even surface. Cover the buns again with the damp tea towel, and leave them to rest for 15–20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C . Line two trays with baking paper. On a lightly floured bench, take each bun and knock it flat, fold the edges into the middle, and then turn it over so the seam is at the bottom. Using firm pressure, roll it in your hand on the bench again. Putting pressure on the bun strengthens the dough; you want a round, firm ball that sits up on the bench rather than a saggy form.
Place the buns on the lined trays, evenly spaced out to allow for the eventual rise (if you prefer the look of clustered hot cross buns, place them side by side). Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for around 2 hours, until risen by half (the timing will depend on the weather). Test the buns again by gently pressing the surface – if your finger leaves a dent, you’re ready to bake; if the dough springs back it still needs more time.
To prepare the cross mix, combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until it forms a smooth paste. Put this into a piping (icing) bag with a plain nozzle and set aside.
Make the egg wash by lightly whisking the egg, milk and salt in a small mixing bowl, then brush it evenly over the buns. Pipe a cross onto each bun.
Put the trays in the oven, reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the tray and bake for a further 3–5 minutes, until golden brown. While the buns are baking, warm the brown sugar glaze in a small saucepan. Once they are baked, use a pastry brush to coat the buns lightly in syrup. Cool slightly on a wire rack, but not for too long. They are best eaten when still warm, though they’re also excellent the next day, toasted, with lashings of butter.
- “The sourdough is our biggest selling item,” Michael says. “There are only a few ingredients: great organic flour, water and salt and plenty of love and time.”It’s a great recipe if you’re new to baking bread. With a bit of patience it becomes a habit and the smell and reward of baking fresh bread is amazing.”Many of our other recipes extend from this one, so once you’ve got the hang of the basic sourdough, you can start to experiment with different grains, flavour additions, hydration levels, and percentages of whole grain flours. We like to use some wholemeal in our starters and bread, for flavour and texture, as well as nutrition.”Makes one loaf
For the starter build…
25g bakers flour
25g wholemeal flour
For the dough…
330g bakers flour
90g wholemeal flour
Demolina, for dusting
This recipe makes one loaf. I like to double it when baking at home. Once I’ve shaped two loaves, I bake the first, leaving the other in the fridge for a day or two until I need another fresh loaf. Or you could use your second loaf to experiment with some of the flavour variations and techniques that are highlighted later in the book.
For the starter build…
Around 4–6 hours before you plan to mix your dough, combine the starter, flour and water for the starter build, mixing well to combine. You will use 90 g (3 oz) of this for the dough; retain the rest for maintaining your starter.
To build the dough…
At least 30 minutes before you plan to mix the dough, combine the flours and water in a large mixing bowl. Mix them with your hands until thoroughly combined, then cover with a damp cloth and set aside to rest.
When the starter is ripe and bubbly, mix it with the flour and water mixture, sprinkle over the salt and finish mixing the dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for at least 30 minutes, before your first set of folds.
Complete four sets of folds, resting the dough in between each one for 30–45 minutes.
After your last set of folds, cover your dough with a damp cloth and leave to prove at room temperature for 2–3 hours.
Shape and final prove…
If you have multiplied the recipe, divide the dough into individual loaves before you pre-shape. Pre-shape the dough, then cover with a damp cloth and leave it to rest on the bench for 15–20 minutes.
When the dough has relaxed, shape as desired, then place it seam side up in a lightly floured proving basket. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for a few hours, or in the fridge overnight, until ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to the maximum temperature and bake according to your preferred method. Once baked, tip the bread out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool.
- “Being British, I had never heard of a Monte Carlo until I was introduced to this genius sweet treat by Ashlea Allen, a wonderful pastry chef who worked with us for several years when we first opened,” Michael says. “We created these small cookie sandwiches, which are perfect mid-afternoon with a cup of tea.”This version is a nice way to showcase this delicious Davidson plum jam. Davidson plums are a tropical bush food unique to the rainforest regions of northern Australia. A sour fruit with a deep burgundy flesh and distinct tart flavour, they are becoming widely available throughout Australia and are definitely worth seeking out. If you find them hard to come by, substitute with other red plums, but reduce the quantity of sugar by half.”Makes 12
For the Davidson plum jam…
250g Davidson plums
250g caster sugar
For the shortbread biscuits…
525g plain (all-purpose) flou
1¼ tsp naking powder
370g butter, soft
240g soft brown sugar½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
2 whole eggs
For the buttercream…
100g icing sugar, sifted
125g butter, soft
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
To check if your jam is ready, perform the set test. Put a plate in the freezer before you start to make the jam. Take the plate out when you think the jam is about ready, place a couple of drops of jam on the plate and put it in the fridge for a minute. Draw a line through the jam to check the consistency. Return to the heat if it is looser than you would like.
Any dough left over after cutting the biscuits can be rolled together and frozen for use at another time.
You can spoon the jam and buttercream onto the shortbread biscuits, rather than piping them, but you won’t get quite as clean a finish as if you were to pipe them.
For the Davidson plum jam…
Pit the plums (each piece of fruit contains two stones) then finely chop the flesh. Heat the plums and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, and slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up to high and boil rapidly for 5–7 minutes until the setting point is reached (see Bakery notes, above). You want a fairly thick jam, so the consistency should be syrupy. Pour into a sterilised jar and cool completely.
For the shortbread biscuits…
Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until pale. Add the brown sugar and vanilla then cream for another 2 minutes, until the mixture is pale. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Gradually add the flour and baking powder and beat until the mixture just comes together. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Divide the dough into two and press each batch into a rectangle 2–3 cm thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place each piece of dough between two pieces of baking paper and roll into a sheet 1 cm thick, then return to the fridge for around 1½ hours, to set firm.
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two trays with baking paper. Use a 6 cm round cookie cutter to cut out 24 discs and place them on the trays, leaving at least 3 cm between each. Bake for 10–12 minutes, turning the tray halfway through for an even bake, until lightly golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and set aside to cool completely.
For the buttercream…
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream until very pale and fluffy.
Lay out 12 of your cookies, bottom-side up. Fill one piping (icing) bag with the jam and another with the buttercream. If the buttercream feels soft and difficult to handle, refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm it up a little.
Pipe a thin layer of jam (around 1 tablespoon worth) onto each biscuit, leaving a 5mm border around the edge. Pipe a thick layer of buttercream directly on top of the jam. Sandwich together with a second biscuit (from the remaining 12) bottom-side down, and gently press down until the jam and cream have spread to the edges. Leave them for at least an hour so the buttercream can set.
Dust with icing sugar to serve, if desired. These biscuits are best eaten the next day, so the flavours can mingle and the biscuits can soften slightly.Traditional Cornish Pasties “Being British, I had never heard of a Monte Carlo until I was introduced to this genius sweet treat by Ashlea Allen, a wonderful pastry chef who worked with us for several years when we first opened,” Michael says. “We created these small cookie sandwiches, which are perfect mid-afternoon with a cup of tea.”This version is a nice way to showcase this delicious Davidson plum jam. Davidson plums are a tropical bush food unique to the rainforest regions of northern Australia. A sour fruit with a deep burgundy flesh and distinct tart flavour, they are becoming widely available throughout Australia and are definitely worth seeking out. If you find them hard to come by, substitute with other red plums, but reduce the quantity of sugar by half.”
Traditional Cornish Pasties
- “I grew up eating traditional pasties made by my Gran – good skirt steak with onion, potato, swede and nothing else except generous seasoning,” Michael says. “The pasty is unique in that the filling and the pastry are assembled raw, and everything bakes at the same time. The meat must be cut, never minced. Vegetables must be sliced or chipped, never cubed. And definitely no peas! When times were lean, the steak was replaced with extra potato and butter to aid the gravy. The pastry acts as a pressure cooker and, once baked, it’s left so the filling can stew inside and finish cooking. A pasty is a meal in itself, with no room for more food, just a nice cup of tea.”Makes 8
For the pasty pastry
700 g plain (all‑purpose) flour
½ teaspoon salt
130g lard, in small chunks, chilled
130g unsalted butter, in 1 cm dice, chilled
360 g (12½ oz) water, chilled
For the filling
400 g (14 oz) brown onion (roughly 2 large onions)
280 g (10 oz) swede (roughly 1 medium swede)
280 g (10 oz) old floury potato (approximately 2–3 potatoes), such as desiree, sebago, maris piper or king edward
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) skirt or chuck steak, diced into 1 cm (½ in) pieces
20 g (3/4 oz) fine sea salt
white pepper, to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
Make the pastry in advance so you have it rested from the fridge. The pastry will also freeze well for up to a month.
In Cornwall the vegetables are traditionally ‘chipped’ – this means cutting them into random pieces using a small sharp knife while holding the vegetable in the other hand. At the bakery we find it more efficient to roughly chop them on a board – just don’t leave them in large chunks, or they won’t cook properly. Use good quality braising steak such as skirt or chuck, and old potatoes, so they soften and soak up the delicious juices.
To make the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the lard and rub it into the flour with your hands until well combined.
Add the well chilled butter and rub it into the flour until it has broken up but there are still pea-sized lumps of butter visible. Pour in the chilled water and continue to mix by hand until you have a smooth and soft dough. You still want to see some streaks of butter, so be careful not to overmix. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
Peel and roughly chop the onions, swede and potato into roughly 1 cm (½ in) sized, randomly shaped, pieces.
Combine the beef and vegetables in a large bowl, but don’t season the mix until you have the pastry ready and you’re about to assemble the pasties. This is to avoid the salt drawing water out and creating a wet mess – you want that moisture to come out during cooking, to create a gravy inside the pasty.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (370°F). Generously flour the bench; this allows the pastry to relax as you roll it. Take the pastry out of the fridge and divide it into 8 equal pieces, then roll each piece into circles about 4 mm (¼ in) thick.
Season the filling generously with the salt and white pepper, and mix through thoroughly. Divide the mix between the pastry rounds, placing the filling over the top half of the pastry and leaving a 2 cm (¾ in) margin around the top edge for crimping.
Brush the margin with the lightly beaten egg, then fold the bottom half of the pastry over the mix so the edges meet. Cup your hands around the pasty to bring it all together tightly, then crimp (or tuck) the edges together with your thumb and forefinger to form a seam along the side of the pasty. You can patch any holes with a little dampened, rolled out pastry.
As you finish the pasties place them onto trays lined with baking paper, leaving 5 cm (2 in) between each so they bake evenly. Make a small slit in the top to allow steam to escape while baking, and brush the tops with the egg.
Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 160°C (320°F) and bake for a further 50 minutes. The pastry will turn a lovely golden brown and the filling will be super hot. Leave them to rest for at least 10 minutes before eating, so they can finish cooking.
Find The Tivoli Road Baker (Hardie Grant Books, RRP $60) in good book stores.