The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Artisan Bread School with Carl Shavitz

Parcival's picture

Artisan Bread School with Carl Shavitz

Hello everyone.  I've been a silent participant in The Fresh Loaf for the last few years.  I have been experimenting with many of your recipes trying to teach myself how to make a decent loaf of bread with reasonably good success.

This summer I had the chance to kick my bread skills up several notches.  More accurately, I would say I actually learned how to make bread this summer.  Previously I would simply following a recipe, not really knowing or understanding how slight tweaks in hydration or flour-type would affect the end result.  After a one week stint at a Carl's full-blown bread making school, my bread making understanding and know-how has finally gotten the jump start it needed (no pun intended).  After 5 days in a row of working with various doughs and making various bread types, I left the Artisan Bread School with some solid bread knowledge and skills.

First thing I put to the test was my ability to make a starter from scratch at home.  Myself and fellow classmates all successfully did this under Carl and his colleague Lori's instruction.  But, I was wondering how successful I would be on my own.  I'm happy to say that I now have two fully active starters -one that I took with me from class and one that I created ~3 weeks ago- that I use to make at least 4-6 loaves a week.

With this bit of confidence under my belt, I hope to become a more active member of this community.  Before, I felt like all I could do without embarrassing myself is look at everyone else's recipes, end product pictures, and comments.  Now I feel like I have a good enough understanding of break making principles and can actually turn out a loaf of bread that trounces most local bakeries in my area.  Looking forward to virtually meeting more folks over the coming weeks and months and posting some of the results of my new found love of true bread making

Will also post some pics in the coming weeks once I more fully get my shaping technique down.  The breads that come out of my oven all taste great, but I still have a blow out every once in a while so I'm spending a lot of time on the shaping aspect of bread making right now