Baking bread with mud: Hendrik Lepel pizza oven building workshop
When the Husband and I stayed at Gort na Nain in May, I admired Ultan and Lucy’s recently built outdoor wood-fired oven. A sturdy stone-clad structure that they can use to bake pizza and bread, it sits in a magnificent location, on the then-sunny patio outside their kitchen, looking across the hills to the sparkling blue sea. My interest piqued, they put me in contact with the builder, Hendrik Lepel, and I asked him to keep me updated about any future breadoven building workshops.
On one of my rare weekends that actually incorporated both Saturday and Sunday (two so far, this year!) Hendrik happened to be holding a workshop at the Mallow Racecourse, building an oven for the Garden Fair. So, with visions of savoury pizzas and fresh-baked breads dancing in my head, I promptly signed up. Alas, torrential rain on the Saturday put an end to that day’s workshop but Hendrik persevered and the following day saw a small group of be-wellied participants gather to build under a tarpaulin at the racecourse.
Despite even more rain, that evening we had completed all three layers over the wet newspaper-covered domed sand mould that Hendrik had shaped the previous day. The following week it was successfully used to cook the most delicious pizzas at the Garden Festival – I was working in town but several of my customers gave me great reports on how well the oven was working.
Hendrik’s next workshop will be taking place at Kealkil, near Bantry in West Cork over the weekend of 23-24 of August, is limited to eight participants and is priced at €120 per person, including lunch. For more information and for bookings, contact Hendrik at 086 8838400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. As for me, I still have good intentions and am on a search for some subsoil to build my own oven. I just need someone to do some digging for me!
You can see some pictures of one of the first breadovens that Hendrik built on Irish Allotments.