The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SFBI Artisan I workshop: Day 1

dmsnyder's picture

SFBI Artisan I workshop: Day 1


Wow! There is no way possible to describe today in full, even with photos. I'll try a summary.

The day started with coffee and fabulous raspberry muffins and meeting some of the other students. Once the class convened, after a brief but very warm greeting by Michel Suas (hisself!) we each introduced ourselves. About half the class are culinary professionals - some professional bakers. They came from Portland, Seattle, Pittsburg (PA) and elsewhere. Other students were chefs who wanted to add bread making skills. The other half were home bakers, some of whom sold their bread on a small scale.

The teacher was not one of the regular faculty. Miyuki is a graduate of Johnson & Wales and has worked in production at SFBI for 4 years. She occasionally fills in as an instructor. She was knowledgable, organized, responsive and clearly expert.

About half the day was spent in the classroom reviewing "the basics." It was like an executive summary of the chapters on the baking process, dough handling and ingredients in Advanced Bread & Pastry, except we could ask questions when we didn't understand or wanted more information. The other half was in the "lab." We worked today with a straight baguette dough Miyuki scaled and mixed. (Tomorrow we do it all.) The hands-on part was scaling, pre-shaping, shaping, proofing, transferring, scoring and baking. For every step, Miyuki demonstrated for the class then wandered among us to monitor our own attempts, correcting errors and answering questions. At the end of the day, when we all had our 5 baguettes, she assessed each student's shaping, scoring and crumb structure. If something was not perfect, she told us exactly how to correct the problem tomorrow. She instructed us in the criteria by which baguettes are judged in competition, including how to taste them.

It was wonderful to see Miyuki handling dough and shaping, but the biggest surprise was feeling the dough at various stages of an improved mix. Miyuki did use the window pane to demonstrate the degree of gluten development. The surprise was how low a level of gluten development she took as her end point for mixing.

My greatest pleasure was being able to shape full-sized baguettes rather than the demi-baguettes I must shape at home because of the narrowness of my baking stone and oven.

My biggest challenge (so far) has been in scoring, but I'll have plenty of opportunity to practice over the remainder of the workshop.

Here are a few photos of people, equipment and product. The baguettes pictured are the ones I made. They had the best flavor of any baguettes I've every tasted anywhere, but I'm promised improvement as the week progresses.


The Front Door


Our instructor


Loader and deck oven


Some of my classmates


My first full-sized baguettes, waiting for judgement





Franko's picture

 Hi David,

The scoring on your baguettes, particularly the middle one, is as good as any I've ever seen. Glad your having fun and looking forward to your next post.

Best Wishes,


Mebake's picture

Very nice course i'd aspire to, David!. Lovely baguettes, given the limitation you had to live with at your home! and that sure does look like a "lab", only one i'd want to have fond memories of!

Awaiting crumb shots!


teketeke's picture


Your scoring is fantastic. You could sell without doubt.I wish I could join with you. I want to see how professional bakers make baguettes!  

arlo's picture

Thanks for the day one recap! Sounds fantastic, and I'd say your scoring is right on target, especially the loaf in the middle.

The oven you show in the picture is very similar to the oven I used in the Naturally Leavened Bread Class at Zingermans. It was quite smooth (operating) and heated to about 500. Any idea what your breads were baked at?

dmsnyder's picture

The baguettes were scaled to 350 g. They baked at 450ºF for 22-25 min.

BTW, Friday there will be a demo of the way SFBI recommends baking in a home oven. Stay tuned.


Farine's picture

Terrific post, David! I almost feel I am back at SFBI... What a treat!  Thank you.

rossnroller's picture

I've heard lots of good things about the course, but I suppose it's unlikely I'll ever journey across hemispheres to do it. Happy to have the opportunity to settle for a vicarious experience via your detailed reports. Looking forward to the coming instalments.


proth5's picture

Hey, and I'm calling there today!

The bread is lovely.  Do you get to play with the loader? 

Make sure they get my mixer shipped out - I'm coming home to bake real soon!

Have fun!


dmsnyder's picture

The loader photo was for you, Pat! 

The loader in the photo is automated. You punch in which deck and it loads (or unloads). With the double ovens, the only manual work is moving it side to side. We didn't get to play with it. Maybe tomorrow.

So, you're signing up? Which course?


proth5's picture

Thanks - now where's the sheeter? :>)

Automated loader.  Sooooooo cool!

After my long sojourn on the Pacific rim, I am being very careful with my "extra" travel for the next so many months.  But I do have an SP-5 on its way to my house.

We'll see what my future education holds.  I want to get back to actual baking before I do more class work.  remember, I've barely baked at all in 8 months...

Keep having fun!


SylviaH's picture

your posts and photos, David!  Thanks for sharing!


Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake does look like a Disney attraction! Everything a bread baker dreams of..make sure to have a classmate snap a pic of you in your new gear.

The baguettes look great and I'm sure were the envy of your other home baker classmates!



belfiore's picture


What a great recap of your day! Your baguettes look amazing and I'm sure your instructor was complimentary. I can't wait to see your next installment.

Have Fun,


Urchina's picture

Oh, I am so looking forward to tonight's post! Don't let us down!

And I'm putting a class like this on my list, once I have a year or so of serious home baking under my belt. 

M2's picture

Thanks for sharing! 

jyslouey's picture

just by looking at the pics, I know the classes may be too advanced for me after all.

If this was an exam, no doubt you'll be ranked as their top student and passed wiith flying colours.  I look forward to hearing more about the classes.   Judy

dvuong's picture

I believe Miyuki is on the cover of BBA and seen throughout the book as well.  :)

dmsnyder's picture

The name of the young woment on the BBA is "Fumio," as I recall. (I wondered about this too, so I checked.)