Companion Bakery Webcam

Our bakery's web cam is now operational. I am hoping this becomes a place to chat with the baker as they work the dough and fire the oven. Baker's are busy but lonely souls, please talk to us.

Webcam loading...

Live Bakery Temperatures

Oven Crown Bricks - Provides an important indication of live oven temperature. Oven air temperature is approximately 35C less than crown brick temperature (on a baking - not firing - oven)

Oven Crown Cladding - Indicates stored heat in the concrete and perlite layer immediately behind the crown bricks. Shows how much 'charge' is in the oven.

Ambient Room - Bakery room (air) temperature at the dough bench. Dough is mixed, scaled, balled and shaped at this temperature

Proving Trolley - Mobile proving cabinet. Batards and other banneton loaves are risen here. The baker moves the trolley between different temperature zones to control fermentation

Visit the Companion Bakery website
Please note that we are closed Monday (Australian time).


Graham's picture
Graham 2012 August 3

Hi franc. I was not present for the cladding pour. However it does look like two seperate pours. It is likely the top cladding was poured within a few days or so of the walls, as there was a hurry to complete the oven.

The cladding will almost certainy crack dramatically after only a few firings...ours did. Still seems to retain heat well. graham


Old Possum's picture
Old Possum 2012 September 8

Is it just me or has the webcam stuck on 24th August? I've tried several different browsers and the temperature chart is updating properly but not the picture. Forgive me if this has already been discussed but I've been moving house and initially didn't have an internet connection and now I'm too busy to spend a lot of time browsing.

lasmi 2012 September 8

I've been having the same problem with the webcam too it's not just you old possum!

hope it's fixed soon - I feel a bit lost without it!!!!


Moohie 2012 September 8

Oh, it's not just me then. I keep checking in and it's stuck on 24/08/12 at 4.19am for me too. I feel a bit lost without it too Leslie!



Graham's picture
Graham 2012 September 9

Yes, apologies Leslie, Maree and forum.

The webcam is powered by Power over Ethernet (POE) and the power injector gave up. A new, more reliable one has been ordered and will be installed early this week. 

It is great to know someone is keeping an eye on us!


lasmi 2012 September 9

Fantastic Graham, thanks for your reply - I look forward to the webcam again.... but on another note, I'm interested to know how you managed your starter when you went on your holiday?


Robear 2012 September 10

Yeah, I wondered about the starter too and good to see that the webcam is on the way back.

Also, the Ustream Videos were fantastic. Hope there are more to come and on another note I seem to recall Cynthia was coming back in September? Is she going to do any more baking?

Matty7D 2012 September 11

Someone is poking at the fire...hey where'd you go?

Such a shame the webcam isn't realtime, but it's still great to check out what's happening.

Graham's picture
Graham 2012 September 12

Thank you for the comments.

I have lowered the camera and now have it closer to the bench for improved 'bench action' as requested. Much happier with this location although occasionally a baker's balding head may obscure the view.

Also considering mounting a video camera for permanent Ustream streaming...just a bit worried that the lack of action during downtime (about 8 - 12 hours a day) will be a bit boring for live action.


Matty7D 2012 September 12

You could hire some dancing girls during the downtime.  Just replace their batons with french sticks.


A live stream would be fantastic! (with or without the dancing french stick twirling girls)

Matty7D 2012 September 15

Looking at all those balls of dough sitting there is making me hungry.  My mouth is watering just knowing how amazing the end product will be.

alchemyst 2012 September 27

Hi Graham

Thank you for sharing with us the live at the bakery !  I love the idea of having temp. sensors live feed !  ... and the live video feed is so inspirational. Makes me think about our small oven - if we add a life camera feed it will make me finish all the details still missing :)

At 9:00- 9:20 - are you baking focaccia today ?

Excuse my ignorance - I know it is winter in Tasmania , but are you keeping the temperature of the proofing troley artifically low ? ( in a way using a retarder ? )

greeting from the other half of the globe.

Maria and Martin

Graham's picture
Graham 2012 September 30

Hi Maria and Martin.

I was probably baking pide around that time in the morning. 250g balls of dough are prooven up over night (8C - 14C approx) and simply stretched, sprinkled with salt, finger dimpled, baked and olive oil brushed on when they come out. Sometimes we make an olive version.

As far as retarding goes we just open a window and let in the cold night air. That is sufficient for our colder months (April to October). In the warmer months we rise the bread during the daytime until about two thirds risen, and then place into our coolroom for overnight retarding. Daytime temps are around 18C to 30C during the warmest 2 or 3 months. We get a mid 30C to high 30's for around a week.

Thanks for watching. Graham

Graham's picture
Graham 2012 November 14

Yes...apologies. We developed a network problem about 2 weeks ago. The camera and data sender are running fine but images and temperature data are not being received by the web server. This weekend I will have time to look deeper and hopefully fix it...

Graham's picture
Graham 2012 November 29

Webcam and Temperature Graph now fully operational.

The camera and data sender (oven and proving temperatures) were unable to send information to the webcam page for the last 4 weeks, due to a host setting that took a lot of work to identify.

All good now. graham

PeterH 2013 February 22

Hi Graham, hope all is well at the Companion Bakery, I very much enjoyed your second ever tour of the bakery back in early January this year.

I am back in Nth NSW now, stone grinding flour and baking sourdough in the slow combustion stove, (too wet outside to bark up the big masonary oven) we're currently burning scavenged (storm damage) Casuarina Cunninghamiana, known localy as River Oak or Creek Oak. I have also heard it refered to as the 'Baker's Friend', it does burn nicely, hot and little ash .......

great to see the loaves popping out on the webcam this morning !!!



newgoo 2013 February 27

Hi Graeme 

i seem to have problems viewing the webcam either on iPhone or iPad.  Seems to only refresh once every 2-30 mins? Is there anything I can do to get a smoother stream? Frustrating as I am only getting very brief glimpses of mixing,shaping etc. at the moment I'm stuck at 1713 with a view of you shaping and balling rolls I think? Grrr :(


Graham's picture
Graham 2013 March 4

Hi newgoo and Cathy (very glad you enjoyed the course Cathy).

I do have a camera that we can stream live video from. It is amazing quality the only problem is periods where we are not baking, which is about half of the time. Agree that the current camera setup is too I'll open the video chanell again soon for a trial. graham

Old Possum's picture
Old Possum 2013 March 5

Hi Graham, the problem with the camera refresh rate is intermittent. Sometimes it cycles at the expected 6 second intervals but most of the time it cycles every 10 to 20 minutes. I've had it do both just this morning. It seems to have been like this since the last big problem you had with the server not receiving the camera signals. Help from Maedi?


farinam's picture
farinam 2013 April 15

Hello Moohie,

Perhaps its just because we are down under and everybody knocked off to watch Adam Scott take out the Masters.

Have alerted Maedi.


lukespook 2013 April 24

I am new here, but I would really like to be able to see the bakery in operation via the webcam. Any idea why it stopped working?

Graham's picture
Graham 2013 April 26

Apologies. A car smashed through our shop front window 2 weeks ago. The driver was very drunk but otherwise unharmed.  Our camera was not damaged but a s/w update at that time (made while trying to access car-crash footage) has caused issues. Will restore asap! Graham

shasta's picture
shasta 2013 May 12

Hope you can get the camera back up again soon Graham! I miss being able to look in on the bread making!

Moohie 2013 May 23

Wow, I only just checked back on this thread (after wondering each day why the picture was still upside down). That's dreadful about the crash, lucky there was no one in the shop. :(

Moohie 2013 July 1

Do you still see the upside down picture Petanque? I've got a right way up picture with the correct time and date in the corner. 

(But I do keep getting error messages with lots of bizarre script running along the top of the page - and occasionally running down the whole page).

farinam's picture
farinam 2013 July 1

Hi Moohie,

I get a 'new' picture when I come onto the page with the correct time but it does not seem to update on any reasonable time-scale.

The other problem, with the error messages, is apparently something to do with the ISP and software updates.  Maedi has been working on it but I am not sure of the current status and when it is likely to be fixed.

The spambots have also been very busy of late.

Hang in there.


Graham's picture
Graham 2013 July 1

Cam and temperature data sender working o.k, except cam image does not consistently refresh. Not sure if this is due to sending image to server issue, or script on web page that refreshes image. BTW the temperature data graph does not refresh automatically....the page needs to be reloaded.

I am currently keeping a newly fed starter warm at the oven door. Oven is cool (170C) or this spot would be too hot. I have borrowed the wireless datat sender from the 'Proofing Trolley' to keep an eye on starter temp. This probe has a waterproof probe which has been inserted into the depths of the starter (75% hydration dough, not liquid).

petanque 2013 July 2

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I get a different picture each time I load the page but it doesn't refresh.


The picture flashes every 1-4 seconds it seems to vary.


What sort of local time is there often activity?


Now it is refreshing?????

Willow's picture
Willow 2013 July 10

Hi Graham,

Having a wood fire oven to bake bread has been on my bucket list for years  ..... and now I have one (almost finished)  - I'm feeling totally panicked by the whole process of timing the oven with the dough ....

I've been watching you and the girls bake and prepare on and off for a few days now, hoping to gain insight ..... and have a few questions - Can I ask :

- Did you move the fire around the floor ? - there were times no flame could be seen at all

- Why do you wear a mask at the oven ? I'm thinking ash and flour and protecting your moustache and beard ?

- It looks like you haven't closed the oven opening overnight/during the day at any time. Is that possible only because there is no draft ? - I was of the belief that the door had to be closed ...

- Our oven is outdoors -  is there anything you would do differently in an outdoor oven ?  


Thanks in advance,

Now, back to your kitchen ... the fire is being restoked ...

Graham's picture
Graham 2013 July 14

HI Willow

Our oven is about 2.7 metres internal length, from the back wall to the door. The cam can only see into the front of the oven....the right hand side of the image is almost half way in.

Yes, the fire is usually started at the front and then either allowed to gradually burn back to new wood, or pushed to the back when well alight and fresh wood is then placed in front of the fire (at which point the fire burns from rear to front). I tend to use the 2nd method more often and this would hide the fire from camera view for a large period.

Towards the end of any firing the fire / coals are usually two thirds of the way back.

The mask? Breathing in lots of flour is not good for you...and carbonised flour I suspect is the worst. That is probably the main downside of freeform baking...lots of dusting flour used in process. Flour is used to slide loaves off the peel. This carbonises on the oven stones and needs to be swept out with a damp towl (some bakeries use a heat resistant vacuum cleaner).

Tinned loaves generally use far less dusting flour. At home I would not worry about a mask if you are only doing a few loaves and have good ventilation. Still best to avoid breathing flour dust.

Our oven door is open during firing to allow draft in to the fire and for the exhaust gasses to escape. Once the fire is out we estimate the best position for the door to sit...on completely to hold heat, off completely to aid cooling, and partially open to cool more gradually.

Hope this helps! Graham

Willow's picture
Willow 2013 July 16

Yes, thank you .... I see the door now ... and we tried firing as you described with much better heat distribution. I always thought of my sourdough as family - like raising a child .... the oven is much the same it seems, as it settles in and matures, the way and what we feed it etc .... congrats for combining the two commercially !

Teejaytoo 2013 August 21

Wow, I have just headed to the webcam and there is an actual human in the bakery!! It's the first time I have seen anyone there, it being 23.00 UK time and I should be in bed. Have a Good Day.


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