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404 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo


HAVING been friends and work colleagues for nearly 20 years, the dream of owners Laurie Whelan and Cheryl Martin was to create a unique bakery that would be known not only for its traditionally handmade sourdough breads, cakes and “real” food, but also for its welcoming and soulful atmosphere. 

The Good Loaf is something of a delightful enigma in Bendigo. Not just for transforming the heritage-listed, former Beaurepaires building into a place people want to be, but for doing it in a way that also values people, relationships, the environment and the broader Bendigo community.

“Bendigo’s always been a great place to live, but one of the things missing was locally-made sourdough bread,” Laurie says. “In the past, people had to go all the way to Melbourne to get good sourdough bread. Now we provide not only bread, but also muffins, cakes and wholesome food right here in Bendigo.” The job of converting the old Beaurepaires tyre centre into the attractive, contemporary eatery it is today was a massive job, and one that happened with the help of skilled trades people as well as many of Laurie and Cheryl’s friends and family. “It was such a mess when we started,” Cheryl remembers. “We had diggers in here and two metre-deep trenches for all the electrical and plumbing. When you see the place now it’s easy to briefly forget what a big job it was! We couldn’t have done it without the generosity of spirit from so many people.” 

The job of building a bakery and café is much more than just bricks and mortar. “We worked closely with sourdough bakery consultants to develop our unique recipes,” Cheryl says. “We visited a lot of bakeries, and Laurie worked regularly at a sourdough bakery to learn commercial baking techniques. The same sort of research went into sourcing our coffee - we did a lot of blind tastings to make sure we got it right.”

Our Values and Culture

THERE is indeed a lot that’s 'good' about the way we do business, beyond the wonderful sourdough bread that’s baked fresh daily.

Business partners, Laurie Whelan and Cheryl Martin, also endeavor to be eco-friendly and community-focused in every facet of the business, particularly when it comes to recycling and reusing.

“In many ways the building itself was the first recycling project,” Cheryl says. “Many of the original features have been accentuated and all of the furniture is either recycled or secondhand, including the glass cabinet and the bread shelves from the Allen’s Lolly factory.

“We have a strict kitchen waste sorting and recycling policy, which drives the staff a bit mad at times, but it’s worth it! Scraps go to various places, including a piggery, and the chooks at Laurie’s farm. They come back to us as eggs, so there’s a whole cycle that happens.” The Good Loaf also donates leftover bread to the Foodbank and other community organisations. We also provide the only recharge point in Bendigo for Castlemaine’s Blade Electric Vehicles.” We like to think all our business values come together in the products we produce,” Cheryl says. “Everything we make at The Good Loaf is ‘real’ food. It’s all made from scratch no pre-mixes. We also value all our staff in the bakery and cafe for their skills and commitment. And sourdough bakers are especially clever people!”

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