The story of a wild yeast. 101 years young.
My name is Lance and I want to tell you about Alfonsina, the heart and soul of MOTHERDOUGH.
Alfonsina is a wild yeast culture started in the spring of 1919 by a baker in the town of Clusone in the north east of Italy. Sadly, the growing popularity of supermarkets and convenience shopping resulted in this panificio having to close its doors permanently about 12 years ago.
I received a piece of the original culture from the grandson of the bread-maker who gave her life. I made a promise to keep her alive and here she is!
In the early years of our relationship, I learned to use Alfonsina to churn out delicious homemade breads, focaccia and even panettone.
More importantly I learned about what she liked, what she didn’t, how to make her happy and how to keep her in the best condition possible. At her best she produces delicious baked goods with an exquisite flavour, balanced and delicate.
In 2016, while living in Italy, I decided to open a restaurant in South Africa. ROSTO.
Alfonsina was smuggled into South Africa in a toiletry bag to become ROSTO’s first undocumented employee. She slept in the kitchen and she worked long hours. She became the hero behind ROSTO’s popular focaccia counter. Unfortunately ROSTO closed at the end of 2018, but Alfonsina survived and moved to Cape Town.
As 2020 unfolds with one of the biggest challenges the world has ever seen, everyone seems to be baking bread.
Why you ask? I think it is because there is something very rewarding about making bread.
It is really satisfying when the loaf comes out of the oven after the kneading, the folding, the proving and the patience to wait for it to rise. There is the excitement of the first cut through the crust. Then, there's the comforting smell. The smell of freshly bread throughout the house is unique and somehow just tells your mind, "Relax, everything is going to be fine."
And so, I have decided to bring Alfonsina out of retirement and to share her with you. To help you develop your own Motherdough culture and to discover the infinite pleasure that the simple ingredients of flour and water can bring.
Lance. (aka by my online alterego as Luca Campetto)