The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Arts and Crafts Market #13 , and a new oven

Mebake's picture

Arts and Crafts Market #13 , and a new oven

Been quite busy for the last months, but I have some news for you all.  First, I would like to share some pictures of my latest participation in ARTE (Arts and crafts market, or Artisans of the emirates). Things have been evolving gradually for me, and I have become more confident with higher production volume; I’m now capable of baking 12 loaves at a time in my new oven : Giorik – Magnifico,  a countertop convection oven with humidifier, pretty much similar to Varda and Janet’s Cadco.

The oven bakes well, and I’m beginning to learn ways to generate enough steam while keeping the heat in.  I’ve baked three loaves for the last market: A rye sourdough with sprouted rye, flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds; a Whole Wheat levain, and a Vermont sourdough with whole wheat. The Rye was baked in pans, while the oven was shut off for the first 15 minutes (steam towels in). The Whole wheat levain, and the Vermont were baked free form on trays. The difference between the whole wheat levain and the Vermont was in the duration of bake with the oven off. The whole wheat levain were baked in a preheated oven that was switched off during the first 15 minutes (all with steam towels in), while the Vermont was baked in a preheated oven that was switched off for only 10 minutes. The result was quite obviously in favor of the latter: the 10 minutes off. The oven spring was improved and cuts opened evenly, and resulted in a better crust overall. I don’t claim that this is a conclusive controlled test, as the whole wheat levain was slightly under proofed, and thus exploded somewhat in the oven; and thus the crust was hard and thick. The Vermont sourdough was retarded (shaped ) and baked after two hours of countertop warm up time.

The sprouted Rye sourdough, my new recipe, is loosely adapted from Hamleman’s 80% Rye with rye flour soaker. It was sliced on the Market day, scaled to 600 gr loaves , then wrapped in paper bag and tied with a craft twine. In hind sight, I should have left a whole unsliced loaf for display. The rye was also a success . The slowest selling bread was the whole wheat levain. The crust was thick, and the flavor was slightly sour, which did not appeal to some clients.  One client thought that the dough was flavored with lemon juice!



Whole Rye flour40217grams
Light rye flour60326grams
Sprouted rye berries843grams
Toasted sunflower seeds5.530grams
Toaseted Pumpkin Seeds5.530grams
Sea salt211grams
Whole Rye flour100217grams
Light Rye flour 326grams
Water 190grams
Sprouted Rye berries 43grams
Sourdough 424grams
Soaker 163grams
Toasted Sunflower seeds 30grams
Toasted Pumpkin seeds 30grams
Sea Salt 11grams
Total 1,216grams

The day at the Market was crawling in terms of visitors’ flow. The sale peaked at noon, as soon as the market started at 12:00 pm. Not surprisingly, the Vermont sourdough was a instant hit, and sold out within an hour. I’ve only baked eight loaves of the Vermont, due to my limited refrigerator capacity, but I’m planning to purchase another tub to retard my dough in bulk. Furthermore, the Vermont sourdough , or “Country White”, was baked early in the morning of the Market day, and was fresh.

Yet, I’m still the only, lonely, bread baker in the Market. I’m puzzled by the lack of awareness for Artisanal breads, especially for Sourdough; quite few of the customers appreciate the flavor. About a month ago,  I had been to Kuwait on a personal trip and visited a sourdough baker at her stall in a local Market called: The secret garden project. It is such a nice community Market, lead by organic farming enthusiasts and foodies. The lady’s alias on Instagram is :  Auntmarie’s bakery, and she makes Delicious , and attractive sourdoughs. Other vendors at the event make sourdough bread as well and sell Tartines , and it seems as though Artisan bread culture has quite caught up with the local foodie scene in Kuwait. What struck me even more is that The lady sold out her entire thirty loaves, mostly sourdoughs, in an hour! The price tag for a 1 Kg Miche was not cheap, but the bread was spectacular ( I have purchased two loaves myself ). I wondered why this was not the case back in Dubai, even though it is touted for being a sophisticated multicultural destination in the middle east.

On another cheerful note, I’ve signed up for Artisan II bread classes in June 15th at SFBI !  I feel I need the hands on experience and the professional training, now that I’m beginning to switch into a new career in baking.  The reviews on the courses from renown TFL members like Dmsnyder and several others on, in addition to the recommendations by the auntmarie’s, (who has attended both Artisan I, and II), were more than convincing.

That is all for now,

Best wishes to all, and Happy baking!







dabrownman's picture

berries to sprout!  Now there is a whole new world open to you.  That rye bread looks especially tasty.  Not surprising the white less sour bread sold out first.  It is what makes SF famous.  Most people just don't like sour white bread and why Tartine and Forkish are designed to be on the mildly sour side.  Love your new oven too.  I think that Dubai will catch up the the Kuwait Culinary Scene one day.  Good luck with the SBFI courses.

Happy baking Khalid

Mebake's picture

Yes! It seems I did. must have been too much water in the past. I've got it right this time. Thanks for the pointers on sprouting. I'm really enjoying the flavor like you said. The country white was both fresh and mild; hard to beat. i got compliments on my bread from the event host herself, and now she asks for more. 

I belive Dubai will catch up to the sourdough bread scene one day. It has already begun.

Thanks on the well wishes, and kind comments DA.

Happy baking


CeciC's picture


u going to sfbi as well? 

Im gonna take a 5 days workshop later this month! We are only 2 months apart otherwise we could be classmate n bake together

happy baking


Mebake's picture

Too bad, eh! What class have you signed up for cc?


CeciC's picture

ive signed up a 5 days workshop of sourdough bread and you? 

if this goes well I might sign myself up for another workshop next year if financially allow. Have you planned your trip? 

Mebake's picture

Me too, i've signed up for the same class.

I'm in process of obtaining a visa, after which i'll begin seriously planning my visit. I hope you enjoy your class.

wishing you all the best,


pmccool's picture

The breads and the new oven, that is.  Glad to hear you get to attend the SFBI class.


Mebake's picture

Thanks alot, Paul :)


redif2003's picture

Wonderful job Khalid! it takes a lot of courage to follow such a path for a new career, I truly admire your courage and wish you all the best. Will you be visiting San Francisco only? any plans for visiting east coast?

Your bread looks amazing! Do you get a lot of international visitors at the market? Are you planning to expand and service the local restaurants at any point?




Mebake's picture

Hi, Amir

Thanks! Unfortunately, I don't have plans to visit the east coast. As to the Market, yes, most of my visitors are foreigners from different nationalities who reside in the UAE. And yes, I'm planning to start a small bakery and hope to deliver to restaurants, and health stores in the country.


Janetcook's picture

How exciting about the SFBI classes!  

I am also happy to hear you got your new oven.

I generally turn mine off for 10 minutes at the beginning of the bake.  I have a steam button and I add enough water that it pools on the floor of the oven and it takes about 10 minutes for it all to evaporate.

I generally pre-heat high to compensate for the heat lost durning that 10 minute off time.  When I turn the oven back on I lower the temp. to the 'regular' baking temp...Usually 400°F or 375°F.  I keep an eye on things though to make sure that the crusts don't get too dark.  

With all of your experience you will get the hang of it quickly I am sure.

Thanks so much for the update.  I so enjoy reading about your journey!

Take Care


Mebake's picture

Thanks, Janet! So it works.. I'm also partial to the 10 minutes off time. will see how this effects different doughs.

Appreciate your kind comments, as always.


chouette22's picture

... you along on your journey! Interesting to see how differently bread is received in Kuwait versus your own home. I certainly hope that the enthusiasm will catch on soon. 

Great oven!

I was considering that very same class for myself, but it is too close to my trip to Europe, thus I am postponing it. I am very much looking forward to your posts about that experience - I hope you will share it with all of us!

Mebake's picture

Thanks, Chouette. I certainly hope so too.

I'll share my experience of SFBI , and hopefully take some pictures too.


embth's picture

Congratulations on your new oven and best of luck with your class.  It is fun to follow your progress as you develop your bakery business.   Word will spread about your fresh, healthy artisan breads and soon you will sell out on every market day.  Wishing you continued success,  Liz

Mebake's picture

Appreciate your kind words, Liz.


mcs's picture

Wow!  It's great to read about the transformation that you're making as you're learning how to use your equipment to its fullest capacity as you simultaneously learn about your customers.  Very interesting.  It can be tricky figuring out when you should be putting effort into educating your customers and when you should be listening to what your customers want :)  Keep up the great work and also keep sharing your market progress!


Mebake's picture

Hi, Mark

Thanks! You just have to strike that balance between your preference and what you think is right, and what the customer ultimately wants. I've got so much to learn.

And good luck with Sinclair Bakery, and have a safe trip to Europe!


bakingbadly's picture

Beautiful breads, Khalid! Let me tell you, I'm excited to see and read about your progress! While reading through your post, my gut kept telling me that you'll surpass me as a bread baker and that you'll establish a successful bakery in Dubai. No envy, just proud of you. Seriously.

Would love to meet you one day. Your passion and story (written by Karen) resonates with me, and I know your breads will knock my socks off.

Take care and best of luck!


Mebake's picture

Thanks. So kind of you, Zita. I'm proud of your achievement too. So much progress in so little time can only mean a burning desire for your passion. Keep it up!

Best wishes for Backerie!


Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

That'll be one giant leap for bread-kind, when you touch down at SFO, Khalid!  Can there be a stronger expression of your committment to your new path than to travel halfway around the world to refine your skills?   Of course you must make the required inspirational pilgrimage to the holy (as in crumb) shrine at 18th & Guerrero, although after long days in SFBI's kitchens, perhaps running out to a bakery isn't Desire #1, even if it is Tartine.  And you must have considered that some of TFL's most accomplished bakers are in CA.  "Golden" opportunity to hook up.  I hope you can, if your family will let you extend the trip, supportive as they must already be!

Safe travels and all the best. 


Mebake's picture

I can't have it any other way, Tom, i'm too hooked up now. Bread and bakery is my one way ticket. As to Tartine, well ,that is part of the plan; if mr. Lower back permits ;)  

I'd love to know who amongst us lives in sanfracisco. David Snyder, Glenn his brother.. Yep, who else.

Thanks alot Tom for the kind and encouraging words.


Ovenbird's picture

Thanks so much for sharing this. It is very inspiring to see someone following their passion and making such beautiful creations to share. I would love to know more about the oven you are using, that looks like a nice piece of equipment! I'll have to look back through your past posts. Keep up the good work and good luck with your baking education.


Mebake's picture

Thanks, Ovenbird!

I haven't written reviews on the oven, yet. You'd better check out TFL members: Varda, and Janet, they've discussed in length the operation of an oven similar to the one shown above : Cadco Rosella. Both ovens are in the same category and run in more or the less the same way. 

Best regards,

Isand66's picture

I'm so happy to hear about your new oven and those breads look great.  I would expect nothing less from you.  You will enjoy experimenting with the sprouted flours now that you have got the hang of it.  What a treat it will be for you to take the classes and SFBI.  I wish I was on the West Coast so we could meet.  Continued wishes for success following your dream.

Best Regards,


Mebake's picture

Thanks, Ian!

Yep, i love the flavor they add to a dough. I'm not sure i'm going to make sprouted flour , done it before and disn't notice much different. It was a lengthy process too, but that was years ago,  and i didn't know any better then. I'll take your word for it. 

I wish i'd be able to meet all TFL members. Too bad US is so vast? ;)


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Khalid.

I too am enjoying hearing about your progress, even if I don't comment on every report Your breads look wonderful. I hope the word gets out to your natural clientele.

I am happy for you that you will be attending the SFBI Artisan II Workshop. You will have a marvelous time, I'm sure. 

I would really love to meet you face-to-face while you are at the SFBI. I  am not in San Francisco. It's a 3 hour drive. And I am getting back from a visit to Portland on 15 June. My brother Glenn does live in San Francisco, and several other TFL members live in the vicinity.   There are certainly many bakeries worth visiting in San Francisco, not just Tartine. 

I would be surprised if there is not at least one other TFL member in your class.

Let's "talk" via Private Message about the possibilities. 


Mebake's picture

Hi, David

Thanks! Appreciate your kind words. It'd be an honor to meet you. I'm trying to reschedule my visa appointment, as I unfortunately missed it. We'll talk about the possibilities in private messages.

Best regards,