Last year’s lockdowns may have seen many a Kiwi learn or rediscover the joy of baking their own bread, but crafting a beautiful handmade loaf has been a much longer love affair for Isabel Pasch of Bread & Butter Bakery and Cafe in Grey Lynn.

Pasch’s popular bakery and cafe is celebrating its eighth birthday next month and is marking the occasion with a limited series of organic sourdough baking classes to further foster customers’ newfound enthusiasm for bread-making.

The classes, led by Pasch and one of her senior bakers, will take place in the bakery kitchen of the bustling Bread & Butter café across two Saturdays in March. Each class includes hands-on bread-making with organic ingredients, morning tea, lunch, and plenty of freshly baked goods to take home. Participants will also get their own live starter culture to use at home to perfect their recently acquired skills.

While German-born Pasch might be a trained microbiologist and science journalist, her passion for bread and baking saw her become a café owner, with Bread & Butter now found at three Auckland locations – Grey Lynn, Ponsonby and Whangaparaoa. Also the author of the Bread Politics blog, Pasch is on a mission to make organic bread more accessible to New Zealanders and has been running baking classes quarterly since 2016.

She says she couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Bread & Butter’s birthday than by sharing some of the baking knowledge she’s picked up over many years of practice.

“Bread baking is an art and a science, and it takes years to perfect it, so while we aim to give class participants a good foundation through teaching the basic techniques, they do need to be aware that no great bread master has ever fallen from the sky,” she says. “It’s practice and making mistakes and learning from them that will eventually turn someone into a great bread baker.”

Bread & Butter’s sourdough classes will teach participants a simple but versatile recipe that can be used for loaves, bread rolls, baguettes, pizzas and more.

“We will show you how to execute it correctly step by step, so the class will (hopefully) give you the confidence and necessary information to tackle bread baking at home and with great results,” Pasch says.

While the class waits for dough to rest and prove, they will learn about the history of grains and bread-making and what makes artisan and sourdough bread-making different from the commercially produced loaves found in supermarkets. The class will also look at the nutritional values of bread and grain-based diets and discuss gluten in bread.

Bread & Butter Grey Lynn is also rolling out a refreshed look and feel for its birthday and will continue to provide the delicious baked goods it’s become famous for.

Bread & Butter’s sourdough class is available on either Saturday, March 13 or Saturday, March 20 from 10-3pm. The class costs $150 per person and includes recipes, a live starter culture to take home, lots of baked bread, morning tea and lunch. Each class is limited to 10 people, so bookings are essential. Bookings and enquiries can be made by emailing [email protected]. For more information see www.breadandbutter.nz.

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