Meet the sourdough enthusiasts cooking up a storm

20th March 2017 6:00 AM
Sourdough enthusiast: Sourdough enthusiast Geoff Rankin shares his passion for wood-fired cooking. Video Chloe Lyons.

THEY'RE the neighbours you wish you had.

Every few weeks Wandal man Geoff Rankin and his friends Tony Gill and Michael Guerin get together and cook up a storm in their backyard wood-fired ovens.

While the boys all love making pizza, Geoff's passion lies in making sourdough, which he shares with his family and those who live around him.

It's not an easy gig though - Geoff's been trying to perfect his loaf for 10 years and said he only started to get it right about 12 months ago.

"You can't be in a hurry to make sourdough," Geoff said.

"It might only be an hour and half work - but it takes two days.

"I can do sourdough, but I haven't yet mastered baguettes."

His journey to making sensational sourdough began when he was living overseas and witnessed first-hand the culture behind wood-fired cooking.

"In the 80s I was fortunate enough to live in the Mediterranean, I lived in Greece and Turkey and we'd go to little Turkish islands and they'd feed 60 or 70 people out of an oven not so different to (mine) and a two burner gas stove," Geoff said.

"I suppose it just stuck with me."

Geoff's said his oven took him about three months to build in-between working as an electrician and is his greatest building achievement.

Fellow wood-fire oven lover Michael said the style of cooking was a way of getting back to basics and getting everyone involved.

"It's a social way of cooking," he said.

"Quite often you'll have a group of people around and the kids can make their own pizzas and throw them in the oven.

"It's a real way of cooking with coals and the flavour you get is amazing."

The trio don't have any plans to start selling their creations at the moment, but Tony said they tried their hand at helping a charity with a pizza night.

"Last weekend Geoff, Michael and myself were the main cooks and we had about 70 people come around home and we had a fundraiser for Relay for Life," he said.

"We did close to 80 pizzas that night and raised about $500 on the night.

"The kids had a great time, all the adults were coming back up for more pizza."

The possibilities are endless, with Tony and Geoff cooking up everything from fruit loaf to New York style sourdough.

"There's a lot of methods out there for making sourdough and a lot of them are really long winded," Geoff said.

"There's not one way to make sourdough."