A Stir The Pots Post

Schools out for summer…breaking my teeth on baguettes!

by | Aug 16, 2009 | SFBI


Hydration, percentages, bulk ferment, levain, pre-ferment, biga…


My baking vacation at  Michel Suas's bread baking classes at SFBI left my head packed with, we'll call them, "breadisms."



This first course, Artisan I, was focused on baguettes, difficult yet simple. The egg shelled, soft crumb loaves, considered sometimes holy or holey. My first batches were horrible, I was out of practice, lacking bench time, not to mention without a deck oven at home. Regardless, no excuses! Just got to practice, practice and finally, one day, you can get a perfect baguette. Then you can make anything else; a batard, a boule, or even a miche!


On arrival, my first quest for school was getting there. Or rather, walking there. For whatever reason, each morning I woke up with a first-time-at-kindergarten  butterflies. It's been a decade since my first baking course and I now
get stage fright. A lot of dough has passed between my hands since those early days. Today I'm an actual professional chef, but still just
baking like a crazed uncontrolled yeast infection in my apartment.

Anyway, each day's brisk walk to and from the school let me work my way through the anxiety, as it led me through an industrialized park, manicured lawns of a DNA company, even a nice creek with wild fennel and birds,and always at the beginning of the day, the rising sun.


Wild fennel with escargot, hmmm nice flavors!


Wild life amongst the industrial park, there is hope for the planet!?


The sun came out of all the San Francisco fog, actually we had a few hot days.

I will write a lot more about the class, but I am heading out tomorrow for the other half of my vacation, sort of a working food trip… more on that later!

Finally just a thank you of course to Erin Bailey, Laura Luna, Safa Hamzé and all the interns who fed us daily! Oh, I can't forget Michel Suas, for providing a rich environment for budding bakers to grow, like a levain, we just keep rising!

So here are some more baguettes.




  1. MC

    Great post and great pictures! I love it and can’t wait to read more. Have a great food vacation!

  2. Nils

    Good stuff. Wow, baguette in the 1st course…tough. Did the other bakers catch up with you?

  3. sydnee kennedy

    You are more than welcome for the food! And your baguettes look fabulous.
    -Sydnee Kennedy (SFBI Intern)

  4. Hilmar

    I was looking for information about SFBI and found you.
    Great blog! I love it!
    Happy Holidays!


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