Morning rise a local tradition

Joe and Tony Saraceni at Vastese Bakery, where they make fresh bread using traditional methods. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d406977
Joe and Tony Saraceni at Vastese Bakery, where they make fresh bread using traditional methods. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d406977

Nestled among residential properties, the bakery, run by brothers Tony and Lou Saraceni, produces about 4500 units of bread each day delivered to Perth restaurants and shops.

When the Guardian Express walked into the Alma Road business, there was a steady stream of local customers buying sourdough and continental loaves.

One stopped to describe how his father used to fish for prawns in the Swan River and then come to the bakery in the early hours of the morning to pick up a fresh loaf to eat with the seafood.

It is stories like these that demonstrate the popularity of the business, which was started by the Saracenis’ father in 1952.

‘My father got into the industry as a bread vendor, buying bread and selling it on to the Italian community through home deliveries,’ Tony said.

‘But he wasn’t happy with the bread the bakery was supplying and he thought he could do a better job. He hired a baker who had come from Italy and he ended up working for us for 33 years.’

Tony’s first job at the bakery was to keep his father awake.

‘When he was doing the house run, I would go with him as a five-year-old to keep him awake, because he used to work sometimes 30 hours straight,’ he said.

The first Vastese bakery operated from Newcastle Street and moved to the current premises in 1962 where the brothers, with the help of Tony’s nephew Joe and 16 staff, make 45 varieties of bread.

Listing some of the places where Perth residents can sample the bread, the first name that pops up is Re Store, which uses the Vastese bread in its famous continental roll.

The Peasant’s Table in Mt Hawthorn also uses the bread.

The bakery’s sourdough and large continental loaf also recently won ribbons at the Perth Royal Show.

Tony and Joe, who has come into the business after working and studying marketing and business, are clearly passionate about the bread they produce.

‘We are the only bakery that uses full long ferment process, which means we use less yeast,’ Joe said.

Tony said the technique and recipe used to make continental loaves and rolls is the same his father used, with only a slight change in the yeast added.

‘Bakers of today have to have a passion for bread, if you don’t have your heart in it, you do not get a good result,’ Tony said.