"Bread is the staff of life, it's so important."

Professional chef Sharon Roberts is so passionate about one particular type of bread that she has made it her mission to spread the word about sourdough.

Through her range of workshops, which take place in Wimborne, she is educating both bakers and non-bakers about the mystery surrounding the ancient bread making process, and encouraging people to shun supermarket bread in favour of artisan bakeries.

"Bread has been eaten for thousands of years and now people are, quite literally, turning away from it and that's not good," she says.

"I specialise in sourdough, meaning that I understand it and how it works. Understanding each stage of the sourdough process, which needs to be treated individually.

"Supermarket sourdough is an absolute travesty. The whole ethos of sourdough is just three ingredients – flour, water and salt. Supermarket sourdough contains additives, palm oil, plus they use highly refined flour which causes spikes in our blood sugar level."

Sharon spent many years as a private chef working on charter super yachts and catamarans in the West Indies and Mediterranean.

But a few years ago, she decided to settle in the UK and moved to Hampshire before relocating to Wimborne five years ago.

"I came back to England and realised that all this extraordinary food that I was able to eat was not quite as readily available," she says. "So I started making my own bread and travelling that extra distance to find a good bakery.

"Most people that are into baking or cooking at some point decide to make their own bread. Especially now, because sourdough is becoming much more well-known, so most people generally are a bit curious. Sourdough is just shrouded in mystery.'"

Intrigued by the process, Sharon began researching its history two years ago and discovered that sourdough – a natural yeast – is an ancient process of making with just four, water and salt that goes back to the the time of the Pharoahs.

"I ended up doing so much research on scholarly papers and scientific papers, at the point of me having the Eureka moment of understanding what it's all about, I had so much information and so many notes that that's how I started writing my e-leaflets," she explains.

"There's a lot of mystique and magic. Flour is not sterile, so it's the bacteria in the flour that creates this bubbling, rising of the bread. So in Egyptian times, it certainly would have been looked at as something magical, this bread rising in the air."

She has now put together a series of e-booklets on the topic, and, last September began running a range of Learn Sourdough workshops at Wimborne's Dorset Homebrew.

As well as teaching participants about the bread's history, she includes a Q&A, demonstration and the chance for the audience to have a go themselves, before sending them home with some raw dough, a recipe and a list of suppliers.

"The great thing is, they're so social," says Sharon, who is a member of the Real Bread Campaign.

"It just shines a light on how important food is and eating well, bringing people together. People have a shared interest – the shared interest is eating. You don't even have to be a baker or a home cook.

"If you get enough people that, no necessarily go home and make the bread, but support their local baker, they're just one of many that can spread the word."

In addition to her workshops, which generally host around a dozen people, Sharon also runs Sourdough Parties, where she will visit a host's home for a more intimate lesson.

"Sourdough is unique in every way and even smells different to bread made with dried yeast," she says.

"The main ingredient is time – anything that takes time, you can expect something exceptional."