I’ve decided I’m going to learn how to make bread by hand, the old-fashioned ‘artisan’ way… and I’ve found just the person to teach me!

Penelope Zeffertt lives and works on a farm and grows or produces most of her own food. She ditched poisons over 13 years ago, and is now working on becoming almost entirely self-sufficient.

She’s one of those amazing people who knows how to preserve food in an impressive variety of ways: drying, pickling, jam-making, fermenting… She makes her own butter, cheese, kefir, cultured sour cream, pickles her own olives, produces natural fruit vinegars and even brews ginger beer!

Above all, Penelope’s passion is for making food the natural way. Whilst commercial producers take chemical shortcuts to reduce preparation processes, losing both flavour and nutritional value along the way, Penelope believes in doing things from scratch:

“Even though many of our traditional foods are still available, they bear very little resemblance to traditional products with the same name and are made today using very different methods – the traditional methods provide a food that is packed with nutrients and beneficial micro-organisms(referred to today as pro-biotics) and has a complex range of flavours. “

I couldn’t agree more, and was excited to find out that this knowledgeable lady offers courses in the making of artisan bread – from scratch, by hand, with no funny chemical rubbish.

“I teach people the simplicity of these techniques, the safe use of natural microbial fermentation, the superior flavour and extraordinary nutritional value they possess and I do it because I believe people should be exposed to the knowledge of how to make their own food, providing them more choices and less dependent on low quality, ready made foods sold in major outlets.

By knowing how to prepare these foods people can have access to healthy food that is also much tastier than the equivalent foods available in shops. I would like to make consumers more aware of what they are consuming and hopefully make them more active in demanding better quality of food production and availability in our country.”

Penelope’s next workshop – “The Bread Workshop” – is coming up at the end of May 2009, and I’m signed up and rearing to go.

artisan_oliveOver two hands-in-the-dough days I will be learning:

  • How to start and maintain a wild yeast starter.
  • All about flour and the difference between milling methods
  • The food value of real breads Vs. shop bread

I’ll find out how to create:

  1. No-Knead Artisan Bread using commercial yeast
  2. No-Knead Artisan Bread using Sourdough starter
  3. Pizza dough, Focaccia and Rustic bread rolls.

The course includes recipes for over 10 different breads using this method, a wild-yeast starter for sourdough to get you going and (importantly) post-workshop support via email and phone.

How very cool indeed. And, fellow wheat intolerants, there is reason even for you to take part in this course: very often wheat allergies mysteriously disappear (or are minimal) when eating bread that has been made naturally, without chemicals and preservatives (or so I’ve found, in my case) – so learning how to make your own could mean a welcome break from 100% rye (love it though you might).

So, the details:

This is an article written in 2009.  This workshop is NO LONGER OFFERED in Cape Town.

Times and cost:  Hands-on workshop – two sessions over two days (R700 per person)

  • First session   Saturday 30 May 2009 afternoon 14:30 – 18:30
  • Second session  Sunday 31  May 2009 morning 09:30 – 13:30

See you there!

%d bloggers like this: