The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SFBI Artisan II Course

Mebake's picture
Mebake

SFBI Artisan II Course

Dear TFLers,

Earlier this month, I have taken artisan II sourdough classes at the San Francisco Baking Institute. Upon my arrival, I contacted David Snyder (dmsnyder) who offered to pick me and my friend from the Hotel next morning. As blogged by David, we parked in the city, and walked up to the ferry building , where the Saturday’s Farmer’s Market was located, and there, we met David’s brother Glenn, (also a TFL member).  

After visiting the Market and notably Acme, and Della Fattoria Bakeries and having some of their pastries, Glenn took us to a high rise building  where he works and the view of San Francisco Bay from his office was spectacular.

        

We went down and walked across the block down to Tadich Grill. We had some fine grilled fish there, and the place was charmingly classic and vintage. Loved the food and the sourdough on the table.We then headed back to pick up some tickets for the muni (Bus) in order to get to mission district, where Tartine and thorough bread bakeries are. We had some fine pastries and coffee, at Tartine. I bought a Danish Rubrod , since their fresh bake for the day has not yet come out of the oven. I took some photos when they were loading the country white. It was probably around 3:30 in the afternoon by then.

   

We moved to Thorough Bakery, which is owned by the San Francisco Baking institute, but were not able to consume any more pastry or coffee .In retrospect,  I regret not sampling their wares,  as i found later how good SFBI’s pastries are. Later, we took the muni Back to where the car was Parked and we drove to meet Glenn at B. Patisserie; another Bakery Co-owned by Michael Suas of SFBI. Needless to say, that everything was spectacular. I bought a baguette, and had a Kouign Amann Pastry.  Exhausted from the 16 hour flight, and overfed with Pastry and coffee, we asked David and his wife Susan to drive is back to the hotel. David, his wife Susan , and his brother Glenn were such kind, and hospitable people. I thank them so much for that super fun day.

The following day, my friend and I took the Bart to the city, where we visited The Mill.  We had a late breakfast of almond butter on Whole Wheat toast , and a coffee. We lined up for a bread, too, and picked up an Einkorn loaf. The Toast was very good, and so was the bread. We walked back to the nearest BART station and headed back to the Hotel in order to take rest  for next day’s class.

    

 

Next morning at 7 am,  we headed for the Institute.  Our Instructor was Chef Miyuki, who began the day with a lecture summarizing the main points covered in Artisan I class, and introducing Sourdough Baking. After having acquainted with the rest of the students, we were divided into 3 groups, each stationed at a table. On the first day, we had a yeasted levain White bread to mix, proof and bake on the same day. Furthermore, we had to start a new sourdough culture which we are supposed to bake with on the 5th day. Also, we fed multiple levains for Day 2 doughs, and scaled their final dough ingredients.

On Day two, we mixed final doughs for 4 breads:  a single fed stiff levain, a double fed liquid levain, a double fed 70% stiff levain, and a double fed 40% stiff levain. By the end of the class, the breads were baked, and some were cold retarded to be baked first thing on Day 3. We had a tasting session, where all breads are sliced and sampled. The single feed stiff was the most sour of all 4, followed by the 70%  and the 40%.  As expected,  the liquid levain bread was mild with a slight hint of sour. Before we left for the day, we mixed levains for next day’s breads, and scaled their final ingredients. We were scheduled to bake different breads for Day 3:  a Whole Wheat sourdough, a sour Rye, a multigrain, and a semolina bread.

 

Day 3  began by mixing the scaled dough ingredients for all recipes, one at a time. We then baked the retarded loaves from day 2, which were cooled and stacked away for later sampling, We witnessed firsthand the effectiveness and efficiency of a spiral mixer. We learned when to stop mixing, and how to test the dough for strength. Miyuki demonstrated the stretch and fold in the bucket, in addition to scaling, pr-eshaping, shaping, scoring and baking. It was such a delight to see her skillfully and swiftly manipulate a piece of dough into a seamless elegant shape.  We baked all loaves, and prepared the leavens and scaled final dough flours for next day’s breads.

My Day 4 breads

After having our breakfast on day 4, we proceeded to mix the final doughs of all 4 breads. The breads were: Walnut- raisin, Olive , Ciabatta, and Challah. A Hand mix dough was also mixed to be baked next day retarded as a Miche. Same goes for Day 4; proofing, scaling, shaping, and baking. However, we retarded the Olive and Walnut raisin to be baked on Day 5. I was finally confident of braiding a challah dough, after Miyuki’s demonstration. At the end of the day, we mixed leavens for Day 5, and scaled the final ingredients.

Day 5, has arrived.  I noticed no loss of energy or enthusiasm amongst my fellow students. We were all working with dough as if it were day 1. We began by mixing 2 doughs: a A levain Baguette with a Biga, and a stiffer French dough for decorative shapes. Cold fermented Olive and Walnut raisin were then baked, and then set aside to cool, followed by the 1.5 Kg Miche. Miyuki showed us how to stencil images/letters onto a Miche.  We scaled and proofed the baguettes on linen, and then shaped the French dough into decorative pieces, such as a fendu, a tordu..etc. It is noteworthy to mention, that most of the breads that we baked in class had a small quantity of instant yeast added.

 

As the last of the baguettes came out of the oven, we headed to class for a recap Lecture. At the end of the lecture,  Michael Suas, the man behind it all, walked in. He congratulated us, and after a brief chat with the students, he distributed the certificates. Before departing, we gathered downstairs for a group photo, and bid the faculty and each other farewell.

 

As a finale, i visited the Fisherman's Wharf, where Boudin Bakery is. I took a couple of pictures, and bought a chocolate filled sourdough. It was such a monumental Bakery to be in. and so ends my trip.The charming experience of these 5 days will remain etched in my memory for years to come.

Khalid

 

Comments

nmygarden's picture
nmygarden

Khalid,

Thank you so much for sharing with us, truly a fantasy course and surely helps you gain experience, skills and confidence to meet the challenges in your future. It was lovely that TFL'ers spent quality time sharing their passions for baking and traveling.

What wonderful memories you take with you!

Cathy

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Cathy.

Always my pleasure to give something back to this wonderful community.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

who wants to open a a bakery somewhere special:-)  Well done and

Happy Baking Khalid

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, DA :-)

Happy baking to you too.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Khalid,

Who would have thought that just a few years ago you would be in San Francisco sharpening up your baking skills in a class full of other bread baking enthusiasts!  

What a long way you have traveled and I have so enjoyed reading about your journey along the way over the years.  Thank you so much for taking the time to write about your experiences in the class along with the great pictures you were able to take too.

I imagine you got a lot out of the class because of your years of baking and that these classes affirmed what you have taught yourself as well as honing the skills you already have.  

Looks like you had a good variety of breads to practice on as well as the leavens you were preparing.  Your loaves looked very nice indeed.  Loved the color of crust on the challah and your nice braids.

I am looking forward to seeing where this leads to next.  I am sure it will be another great adventure.

Thanks again Khalid!

Janet

Mebake's picture
Mebake

My pleasure, Janet 

I've been reflecting on this myself; how a homebaker who bakes for his household is transformed into an a serious enthusiast who   plans to make a career out of breadmaking.

I learned so much. It was such a fun trip. 

As always, appreciate your nice words.

 

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

As a former San Franciscan who gets back less often than I like, I ate up every crumb of your story! At what hotel did you stay on your visit? Am curious for my return visits. Also:

Do you have any regrets about starting with the level II class rather than level I?

Are there other SFBI classes you're tempted by if you had the opportunity to take more?

What were your favorite things about this class, and what would you change?

Was 5 days too long, too short or just about right?

Lots of questions... answer all, or as many as you like! Thanks Otis

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, Otis

I was at Staybridge suits in San Bruno. 

I have no regrets skipping Artisan I class. Much of what was summarized from ARTISAN I , i already knew.

I'm think i may come back later for wholegrain breads/ ancient grains Class. 

My favorite thing about this class was the actual hands on experience. Knowing when to stop mixing, how to properly shape a dough..Etc.  Five days were sufficient. You need time afterwards to digest all the material given during these days.

I think you'll find the course useful and exciting. It is with your money, and more.

 

 

 

 

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

I would echo Otis on a couple things. Did you feel you missed anything starting with level II or did you get the sense that is for real beginners? Would also like to hear what you found the most useful from the class.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, Edo Bread

As noted above, i have found that the material covered in Artisan I is basic. It Is good foundational material for yeasted breads, but i wanted to hone my skills  wirh sourdough breads.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Miyuki was my instructor for Artisan I. Isn't she great? It sounds like the basic curriculum for Artisan II hasn't changed significantly since I took it. I noticed your comment about the energy level maintaining throughout the week. Your breads looks great!

Were there any other recognizable TFL members in your class?

I'm glad you returned home safely. I look forward to hearing how the SFBI workshop influences your baking over the coming months.

Finally, I know I speak for Glenn and Susan as well as myself in saying it was our very great pleasure to meet you and to show you and your friend a city we love.

David

Mebake's picture
Mebake

You are welcome, David!

Thanks. Yes, Miyuki was a great instructor, she knows how to orchestrate a class so well. 

I don't know if any of the students was a TFL member. I forgot to ask, as so much was going on during those 5 days, i got swept into the daily regimen of baking.

Thanks, once more , for the memorable day, David.

p.s. I've baked a miche, and will blog about it soon.

 

 

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I'm glad that you enjoyed your visit, including the working part of it.  I'm curious to know if the course changed any of your assumptions or plans for your new business?

Best wishes for your bakery.

Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Paul.

The visit has reinforced my desire to start an Artisan Bakery. Despite being a laborious affair, i persevered through it just fine. 

Best wishes to you,

 

 

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

You have pushed me over the edge with your response, Khalid. I am going to look up schedules and start finding a way to get myself there in 2016. Thanks! Otis

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Otis,

You'll not regret it, ever!

 

Carolina's picture
Carolina

Hi Khalid,

I am a newbie to commenting on this forum.  I just loved your post and your photos.  I have been trawling the internet looking for courses and you made this course sound fabulous.  Do you have to have done the Artisan I course as a prerequisite? As I live in Australia I probably will only get to do one course next year and want to be sure it is the best one for me.  My dream is to bake from home for a farmers market...

Carol

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, Caroline

It depends how far your skills are in breadmaking. If you got the basics down in terms of mixing, fermentation, shaping, and scoring, then go for ARTISAN II. If not, ARTISAN I is a necessary foundational classes for anyone who wants to bake seriously from home, or kitchen. 

Good luck, and welcome to the freshloaf!

Carolina's picture
Carolina

Thanks for your advice and your warm welcome - I did a 6 month baking course last year 2 weeks of which were artisan bread baking but I certainly need more experience/tuition with shaping and fermentation and in particular with problem solving due to climatic changes etc.  I will certainly do one of the courses next year but as I am coming from Australia I realise that I will probably only ever do one course and want to make sure that I get the most out of it.

Thanks again - I will keep looking at your photos which will help me to make the decision.

 

Carolina's picture
Carolina

Thanks for your advice and your warm welcome - I did a 6 month baking course last year 2 weeks of which were artisan bread baking but I certainly need more experience/tuition with shaping and fermentation and in particular with problem solving due to climatic changes etc.  I will certainly do one of the courses next year but as I am coming from Australia I realise that I will probably only ever do one course and want to make sure that I get the most out of it.

Thanks again - I will keep looking at your photos which will help me to make the decision.

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, Carolina

How long have you baking breads at home? Do you bake sourdough breads? 

 

Carolina's picture
Carolina

Hi,

I have been baking bread at home for about 4 years starting with the Jim Lahey no knead bread and then after  successfully making a levain 3 years ago I now bake a boule (tartine method) and ciabatta (a recipe from the wild yeast blog) once or twice a week.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I suppose you could go for ARTISAN 2, then.   Please, read dmsnyder's blog on this forum, he blogged about ARTISAN I class 5 years ago. 

best wishes,

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

I had an email exchange with Babeth at SFBI and she gave me the 2016 schedule for 5 day classes, which is not yet posted. I am sure if any of you contact Babeth@sfbi.com she will do the same for you. There are EIGHT sessions of Artisan II in 2016! According to Babeth the classes fill up about 2 months out which tells me how much time I have to start making my schedule. I am going to do this, Khalid!

One thing I might mention, as a former resident of San Francisco: SFBI is NOT in the city itself, but in an office park a few miles south near the airport. Looks like it is about a half mile walk from the nearest public transportation, the Caltrain station. It is not hard to drive into San Francisco proper, but it is difficult/expensive to find a parking spot once you get there.

When I go, I think I will stay as close to the Caltrain station as I can, walk to class, then take the train up to the city after. (Classes run from 7 to 3 daily, so you'll have plenty of time to explore after but it will be a challenge to get there in the morning.) Caltrain runs several times an hour and connects to SFMuni, which will take you all over the city. Muni is a tourist experience, of sorts, in itself. There will be interesting characters on the bus/streetcar and you will get a leisurely tour of the neighborhoods you pass through.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Probably the best option is one of the hotels near Oyster Point. SFBI sends a list when you register for a workshop. Many have a free shuttle service to and from the SFBI. Some, like the one at which Khalid stayed, are also close to a BART station. If it has been a long time since you lived in the Bay Area, the rapid transit system may be new to you. It is much better than CalTrain now. Unfortunately, there is not a station really close to SFBI.

David

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

I've been gone just since 2008, so BART was well in force then. The Caltrain station is much closer to SFBI than the SFO or San  Bruno stops, I believe? But once you get to BART it will take you directly downtown and to the East Bay without the need to transfer. Really what swayed me was the fact SFBI is in walking distance from Caltrain and the 2 or 3 hotels right there.

There are great SF bakeries that must be visited in any case. Acme in Ferry Plaza, B Patisserie in Pacific Heights, Josey Baker on Divisadero and of course Tartine in the Mission. The visitor needs to make a list and then figure out how he/she is going to get there. Planning a transportation strategy is part of any trip to SF, and an interesting one IMO. Otis

isand66's picture
isand66

Khalid, so nice to read about your adventures in SF and your SFBI classes.  I'm sure it was well worth it and will serve you well in your journey to opening up your own bakery.  I wish I was on the West Coast so I could have met up with you.  Anyway, I look forward to reading more about your preparations for your new venture and I'm sure we will be treated to some fine baking posts soon enough from you!

Regards,
Ian

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Ian

I wish i'd visited the east coast, this way i would meet you, and Varda. 

I will you keep you posted on my bread venture.  

Best wishes, my friend

varda's picture
varda

and I'm sure a fantastic experience.   I'll be poring over your pictures for awhile.   Now off to do my first TFL post since forever.   And do hope you get to the east coast at some point in the future!

Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Varda

Its about time we get to know of your latest endeavors :)

When i make it to the east coast, i'll drop by and say Hi. Probably bake something with you too :)

Khalid