The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SFBI Artisan I workshop: Day 1 minus 1

dmsnyder's picture

SFBI Artisan I workshop: Day 1 minus 1

We had a leisurely drive up to South San Francisco today for the SFBI Artisan I workshop which starts tomorrow and lasts 5 days. We're staying at one of the hotels nearby - 1.5 miles from SFBI itself.

We drove over to see where it is. SFBI is on a hill with a beautiful view of the hills West of the Bayshore Freeway (US Hwy 101). It's in the heart of the Bay Area biotech enclave. In fact, SFBI and TMB are essentially an island in the Genentech campus, which is huge. Immediately to the East is SF Bay. There's a wonderful walking path that goes for several miles along the bay here.

We drove into San Francisco for dinner at Out the Door, a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant in the food court adjacent to Bloomingdales. (Not your usual shopping mall food court, believe me!). We had had reservations at Fringale, a favorite French-Basque restaurant, but I got a phone call from them just before we were going to change clothes for dinner. Fringale had "an emergency" and was closed for the evening. I was thinking the chef had dropped dead or something, but it turned out the exhaust fan in their kitchen went out. Hopefully, it will get replaced tomorrow and we can get another reservation during the week. (They make a delicious duck confit served on a lentil ragout. I need some.)

So, I'll attend the first session of Artisan I starting at 0830 tomorrow. I've my brand new chef's jacket and beanie (Yes. Really.) in my back pack, along with the suggested note pad, marking pen and calculator. And two cameras.

I don't know who the instructors will be yet. I have expectations regarding the curriculum, but I'm prepared to be surprised and expect to have a blast.



arlo's picture

Best of luck and I am sure it will be a great experience. From what I've read on the SFBI site about that class, it sounds like it would be a great time learning those bread recipes and taking an in depth look at how preferments affect formulas.

Hopefully you will still have time to get to Fringale too!

On an off topic side note, after I am done baking at work today, I plan on coming home and trying your formula for the pumpernickel loaf from Secrets of a Jewish baker. You mention using one cup of old rye for the altus and soaking it in water. Should I use a 1:1 ratio old bread to water, and should it be hot water, similarly to the old bread soaker in Hamelman's formulas?

Thanks David, and have a great time today in class!

dmsnyder's picture

If you use hot water, it seems to get absorbed quicker. Otherwise, it doesn't matter. I've never measured the water. I saturate the bread, then squeeze out as much water as I can by hand.

I'm sure you can't go wrong following Hamelman's instructions though.


Judon's picture

Have a great time David - you may even teach them a thing or too!

I always look forward to you posts and know that your body of experience will enable you to extract the most from this course.



Trishinomaha's picture

I will be following your adventures at the SFBI this week - what a great opportunity - You are already such a great baker I'll be interested to see if you come up with new insights as you make your way through the classes this week. I'm also looking forward to the photos - Have a wonderful time!


jyslouey's picture

I have also been thinking of taking one of their classes at some point when I can retire and spend more time learning the bread basics.  However I'm somewhat concerned that it may be too advanced for me.  I hope to learn  more about the classes and then decided if I should take the plunge.

proth5's picture

Do they require the outfit at SFBI?  There are times I think of buying an outfit, but I fear losing my astatus as "raggedy home baker."

Have fun and learn a lot!


noonesperfect's picture

They do highly recommend the chef jacket and the black/white checked pants.  However, in my classes people wore anything they wanted, including denim jeans and tee shirts - no one was turned away because of their attire.


proth5's picture

always puts me in mind of this quote

 I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. ...  If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes.

Henry David Thoreau

I can't count the times I've arrived at a class where everone but me had an outfit!

Again, David - have fun and learn lots!!!


dmsnyder's picture

The only requirements are closed-toed shoes and long pants. Aprons are supplied. The majority of the students did wear chefs jackets, but most of the home bakers didn't.

In general, the dress was very casual. "Raggedy" would have been the conformist solution. (Now, how do you process that information, Pat?) 


proth5's picture

- I'll need to process it slowly.

You have to remember that for the past 8 months I have been surrounded by the very defintion of sartorial conformity.

Sounds like a fun time so far.


Floydm's picture

I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences there!

SylviaH's picture

I'm looking  forward to reading more about your trip and classes.  Your dining experience for this evening sounds so delicious!!  I not only love eating wild duck but it always brings back many pleasant memories.


ananda's picture

Hi David

Have a great time in these classes!

I'm looking forward to reading of your experiences and new learning

Best wishes


belfiore's picture
belfiore'll be teaching your own classes! You know, Fresno is only a 2 hour drive for me, lol!!!


Farine's picture

Artisan I is very good (I mostly remember all the flour info + the rigorous training on how to shape baguettes) but I think you are already way over the general level, David. Don't get disappointed and do go back for Artisan II and III.  Artisan III especially is more where you belong... In any case, enjoy!


dmsnyder's picture

I am enjoying the class so far and it is meeting my expectations. I haven't had the opportunity to interact with professional artisanal bakers before, and have been so envious of your visits with M. Rubaud and Jane Benoit's with Anis Bouabsa, for example. 

This experience is certainly whetting my appetite for more such experiences. I do expect to take Artisan II in November or December and hope to take Artisan III (and perhaps other courses) next year.


wally's picture

yes, that's what we'd like David!  Have a wonderful week and I look forward to your reflections and learnings.


Paddyscake's picture

requisite picture of Baker David required for of us waiting back home!! You have a captive audience doubt you will have fun!!