The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Artisan Bread School

lorip's picture

Artisan Bread School

Carl Shavitz, Director of the Artisan Bread School will be offering two 5 day courses in Anchorage, Kentucky.  The first 5 days course is Sunday, August 18th through Thursday, August 22nd.  The second 5 day course begins Tuesday, August 27th through Saturday, August 31st.  You can find more information and apply at his website

I took the course last year and absolutely loved it.  I highly recommend it. 

dsadowsk's picture

But I'll settle for the King Arthur whole grains baking course I'll be taking in July, which I hear great things about.

breadline's picture

Having been on two other courses, one the East and  the other on the West coast, and been totally disappointed I took the Artisan Bread School course in Kentucky. I have to say it was fantastic.  Just what I needed.  I in turn recommended it to half a dozen other people.  I know that two of them, immediately after taking the course, opened their own bakeries.  This is the real McCoy.

LaVonne P Schaffer-Rennie's picture
LaVonne P Schaf...

I have recently moved to a high alltitude home in Reno, NV and  now I need to know the secrets to transform my regular recipes to the new altitude for baking. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Skibum's picture

. . . I live in Canmore, Alberta at an elevation of 4,420 feet which is similar to Reno.  When first trying to make French style bread @ 67% hydration, I could NOT get all the flour incorporated.  After much experimenting, I found that I had to go to about 72% go get the dough consistency I witnessed in King Arthur videos.  So more water or less flour which is supported in one of the U Denver links supplied by breadline.

Regards, Brian

breadline's picture

Hi LaVonne

Carl Shavitz, in his course notes for Artisan Bread School, gives the following links specifically related to this subject:


King Arthur Flour has a section on this at

The above also refers you to Colorado State University Extension Service links and

I noticed Carl recently gave a course in New Mexico where the altitude is similar to yours so perhaps one of the people on that "high-altitude" course can be more specific.

You might want to attend one of his courses, they are spectacularly good.

OakLeaf Farm 1716's picture
OakLeaf Farm 1716

I took Carl's class in 2010 (Olympia, WA) and again in 2012 (Tuscany)...The second time I took the class had the same syllabus, but I took the class because it was in Tuscany (played hooky in Florence), and it was great seeing Carl again - he's very inspiring!  

Two of the students in the 2010 have their own bakeries. The students who are a couple in 2012, I think are seriously looking at starting a bread business. 

After taking the class, I feel  I can tackle any bread recipe. The hands-on experience is the  best way to learn to bake bread. Learning by watching and doing. You will learn to make the best focaccia ever.

Highly recommend the course in KY.  Not in Tuscany. Too distracting to be near Florence and Chianti region!

BakerSD's picture
  • The Good
  Carl is a very good self taught baker.  I think this helps in translating techniques in the class.  You will learn to make some really good Foccacia which you practice almost every day.  This will reinforce the techniques for kneading, folding and shaping highly hydrated doughs.  You will also learn to make your own starter and maintain it.  You will practice shaping loafs every day, but due to the limited quantity of loafs you actual shape each day (2) it really is hard to get the muscle memory from the exercise.  These are all great fundamental skills that you can learn from in the 5 days of the class to become a good home baker.
  • The Bad
This is advertised as a course where professionals have gone on to start their own bakeries. The techniques you will learn originate from self taught methods for producing very limited quantities. Carl to my knowledge has never worked in a bakery and therefore can not translate his methods to a viable model beyond what you can do by hand in a mixing bowl.  To further complicate matters the loafs that you learn to make require allot of attention and are in my opinion have unnecessary steps and require more labor than is required to make a great loaf of bread. (The methods in the Tartine book are much easier, smarter  and in my opinion produce better loafs of bread. My frustration from this course comes from the fact that I paid close to $3000 not including travel and lodging for this course and am only left with being able to make some really great breads but only a couple at a time. This should be advertised as a home baking workshop.  Carls response is that you can not make great breads using traditional methods and get good results when you make allot of them.  Using the technique that you learn in this class that is true, however many of professional  bakers are running viable bakeries producing breads that are fantastic.  Carl calls himself a master baker, but I feel this should be reserved for people like Chad Robinson at Tartine who have years experience running a successful bakery producing fantastic breads.  If you want to learn to make bread at home this is a good course, however if you want to ever do more than that I would look elsewhere.   
  • The Ugly
Carl is posting on this forum under false pretense using the profile name of Breadline.   I doubt that he has been to a King Arthur course or the SFBI classes (Rather than being the "Real McCoy" I think its the "Real Decoy") .  LoriP his bakers assistant is also promoting the course on this forum whit out stating that she actually works for him.  Carl also tends to show the most attention to the ladies in the class and the better looking the more help you get.  I am not a touchy feely person so the hugs were a bit uncomfortable for me.  To compound matters there was a gentleman in our class that tended to be slower and require more help.  Rather than giving him the attention he needed Carl would become frustrated and often make comments under his breath that created some awkward moments.  There were other moments that lacked professionalism but I will reserve my comment about them. Bottom Line,  I have real issue with not being above board and being deceptive. Carl is a very skilled home baker but not a baking professional.  Buy the book Tartine and spend your week at home with it and save $$$.