Advanced Bread and Pastry Giveaway


Allow me to introduce the bread I made today: Caramelized Hazelnut Squares. I first made this stunning open-crumbed, nut-studded bread in the Advanced Breads workshop at the San Francisco Baking Institute. As I have said many times, I’m a big fan of SFBI and I think everyone who can possibly manage it should take a course or two or five there.


If you can’t, the next best thing is the book Advanced Bread and Pastry by the school’s founder Michel Suas, and I just happen to have a signed copy to give away, courtesy of Michel and the other very nice people who run SFBI.

This incredibly comprehensive textbook lays out the theoretical and practical foundation you will need in order to understand and execute its 300 or so bread and pastry formulas, many of which are staples of the SFBI curriculum. From fermentation to flour technology to shaping techniques, it’s all in there. The book is intended primarily for professional baking students, but like the SFBI courses themselves, it is quite accessible to home bakers who are serious about learning and practicing the craft.

That’s you, right?

You can earn a chance to win the book by saying something interesting in the comments before 11:59 PM (PST) on Tuesday, February 10. I’ll draw one at random, and SFBI will ship the book directly to the lucky winner (who must have a USA shipping address).

If you can’t think of anything to say, feel free to tell me which of these breads, which were made and photographed by me in various SFBI workshops, and whose formulas are also found in the book, you would most like to make:

baguettes.jpg Baguettes from Artisan I
multigrain-sourdough.jpg Multigrain Sourdough from Artisan II
buckwheat-pear-2.jpg Buckwheat Pear Bread from Whole Grains and Specialty Flours
croissants-2.jpg Croissants from Viennoiserie

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    Whoa, *the* Advanced Bread and Pastry by Michel Suas! I have heard nothing but well-deserved praise for it, and it would be a great addition to anyone’s collection of baking literature.
    Have you ever taken any courses over at King Arthur Flour, or know how those compare to the courses offered at SFBI? I’d love to take a course (or two, or five) at SFBI but if I’m currently living in Vermont, I suppose it makes more sense to attempt a pilgrimmage to KAF for now.
    p.s. Your caramelized hazelnut squares look fantastic, as usual.

  2. Nick says

    I love this site it helps me fill up my free time with baking (unemployment = lots of bread!) Would love to win the book so I could try some of those wonder SFBI breads

  3. Renee G says

    Oh this book sounds fantastic. I’d love to try making the Buckwheat Pear Bread.


  4. Melanie Thurber says

    I desperately want to conquer sourdough. I failed once, and am a little too scared to try again. Plus, in Laurels Kitchen, she wants you to use 10lb. of organic wheat flour for the starter to sit in for the first 3 days. So, I am waiting for my wheat lady to get me 10 lb:) Then, I will have to try again.

  5. says

    something interesting eh…hmmm, well, here’s a secret ‘goal’ of mine…I would LOVE to make artisan bread…with that rustic look, texture…the air pockets…I want to get it right!

  6. Wendy says

    Would love to be able to take a class there but living in Maine makes for a hard commute! Will be taking a class at a local school next month so that will have to do. I have been eyeing this book for a while… saw it too late to ask for it as a Christmas present… so would love to win it! Have been baking bread for a while and sourdough for a couple of years now… just made cornmeal sourdough pancakes for breakfast – yum!

  7. Teran says

    I would love to make a good sourdough. I’m a little leery of it, I’m sure this book would be a great help!

    Great giveaway!

  8. says

    I came across your website as I am experimenting with a liquid levain culture and needed some advice. Your blog is just extraordinary and has answered my many questions. The bread images are devine; the SFBI classes sound like heaven; and I can’t wait to try some of your bread recipes! Thank you! Thank you!

  9. says

    Well, I’m not so sure about the interesting bit – it might be called whinging, too – but I’ll never be able to travel from Australia to San Francisco and enroll in one of their courses… However, a friend of mine is currently on business in the US and would be my shipping address – now isn’t that a great turn of fate?
    As for the breads, hard to say which one to make first…I’ll read the book from cover to cover first and then make up my mind..;-)

  10. jacquie says

    Oh how i would love to be able to go to a course there. Unfortuately, I can’t imagine that ever being possible. Maybe they would be interested in offering a satellite course on the east coast? :) not likely but one can hope. the bread i would make would be the buckwheat pear bread. the combination sounds great.

  11. says

    Oh, as a newly bread baking obsessed person, this would be SUCH a great book. If I don’t win it I might have to ask for it for my birthday…or just go out and buy a copy.

  12. says

    I’m just getting started with yeast baking, and it is such a deep rabbit hole! I’ve done a lot of reading, but am starting slowly at first. Someday I’ll be at the stage where I can make advanced breads, and then that pear buckwheat bread will be mine!

  13. says

    The buckwheat pear bread looks AMAZING. Bread baking is so comforting, creating warm and crusty loaves from just flour, water, yeast and salt. There’s something very irresistible about being involved in something that our ancestors have been doing for centuries!

  14. carole carlson says

    I love to bake bread and am now trying to find out to make my buns lighter.
    So glad I found your site

  15. Akiko says

    I’ve been amazed at all the breads you bake and share, ever since the delicious peach brioche tart I saw a while back. I’d love to venture into advanced baking and the croissants and pear buckwheat bread are definitely calling! Thanks for your inspiration.

  16. Kate says

    Oh man. I used to run the retail end of a bakery, and never baked at home. Now, baking keeps me sane as I work on my PhD. One of the faculty members in my department is an expert on French bread. Wouldn’t you love to award me with one of these books so I can bake my way into his good graces?

  17. Melanie says

    Those Carmelized Hazelnut Squares look fantastic. I just happen to have bags of local (Oregon) hazelnuts in my freezer waiting to be made into somthing this delicious. Now if I just had that cookbook…:)

  18. says

    Yep, that’s me!
    Because I need my ** kicked to bake more bread.
    Because my 5-grain failed yesterday for the 1st time.
    Because I never get to SF let alone to bake :-(
    Because baking takes my mind of the final job interview on wednesday.
    Because I want it?

  19. Bruce says

    Definitely the Multigrain Sourdough ! By the way, Alan Scott (Ovencrafters) passed away this past week in his native Australia.

  20. says

    Well, just found your blog and I am a yeast bread lover so to learn how to make it better would be a goal. Please add me to the drawing.

    Robin in Virginia

  21. Nick says

    In tyring to come up with something interesting to say, I would like you all to know that this book would be a fantastic addition to my non-existant bread book collection. With over 1,400,000 google entries for the title, the book contains 1043 PAGES of possibilities, pictures, instruction, and amazing bread dreams and yeast exploration ideas. Thanks for the chance and the entry!

  22. says

    And I have no chance to get the book as I live outside the US but still I would love to get at least the recipe for these amazing good-looking caramelised hazelnut squares. This is what really looks like bread.

  23. says

    I just happened to click a link to this site for the first time today. Your photos are lovely and inspiring. You are generous to share your knowledge and creativity. Thank you!

  24. Douglas says

    This book would be an amazing one to have. I worked at Della Fattoria on the west coast last year and was able to meet one of the authors named Tim from the SFBI. He used to be the head baker at Della and made some incredible bread.

    One of the most interesting experiences while working at Della was their brick ovens and utilizing their natural starter to leaven all of their bread! There was no commercial yeast in sight of the place (and its quite a large farm). All of their doughs were super hydrated resulting in outstanding crumb structure. Everything was done by hand except for mixing. The brick ovens (2) at the beginning of the bake day had a core temperature of 750 degrees!
    The first duty I learned while I was at della was how to unload the oven when the bread was baked which is quite a challenge for a number of reasons.
    These oven are huge and loaded by another baker by hand with a 15 ft. long peel that can hold only one or two loaves at a time. To load the ovens fast enough there is a table in the corner of the room with a whole stack of peels which another baker continuously loads bread onto as the other baker wheels the loaded peels around and loads into the oven. Now, since these peels are so long when the loading baker turns with one to enter the oven you have to duck to avoid getting hit by the handle and knocking of the precious bread (!).
    Since I was the unloader and typically the bread in the first oven was done when the second was being loaded I participated in this unique “bread ballet” with the other baker as to not collide with each others whirling peels.

    The most amazing part of these ovens, is that after the door goes on the oven when the first batch is loaded, I would normally be taking loaves that were baked out of the back after only 5 minutes! Incredible!

  25. Angel says

    Your blog and the “Bread Bakers Apprentice” has changed my life. No longer do I worry as I knead but instead I lose myself in the magic of yeast and dream of oven spring.

    May all of your crusts be crisp and may your bread always rise.

  26. Janie Ficara says

    Hi Susan,
    My heart fluttered when I saw that you were giving away a copy of that book — it is high on my wish list! My sourdough/fermentation journey has been a long one, beginning in San Francisco and traveling on to an apartment in New York and now a farmhouse in upstate NY. These days I’m maintaining two starters — one at 75% hydration and one at 50% — but there was a time I had six different kinds going. Your blog was a bright discovery over the holidays (searching for panettone!) and now I visit it faithfully for inspiration and your lively writing. Thank you for all the beautiful work you put into it. I’m enthralled by your photography and was thrilled to have my own bread photography mentioned by Dan Leader in ‘Local Breads’ after I took a sourdough class from him at ICE in New York City (not mentioned by name, but the next time I saw him at his Boiceville bakery he pointed it out to me in the book at the end of his introduction…!). One thing I know for sure: bread springs from my heart. It settles me. The process thrills me like no other. A big thank you to you and SFBI for offering this amazing book to one of your lucky readers.

  27. says

    I just finished Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie and Baking Certificate a little over a year ago. I loved my Bread classes and bake bread at home when I can….Challah is my favorite so far. Work has me learning about “Pueblo Bread” (New Mexico bread) and I love altering the recipe just a little to see what come out.

    Love the site
    Keep on Baking

  28. says

    I have been baking breads for years and am a true fan of Peter Reinhart, Nancy Silverton and Maggie Glezer among a few, but this book by Michel Suas is obviously a necessity in my collection. I can’t wait to test his recipes in our new Earth Oven (compliments to Kiko Denzer and his direction) and share with friends!

    Thank you for sharing your talents with the world!

  29. Lou Allard says

    This is better than entering the lottery.
    A coupointers may earn me a book.
    Raising dough in a cold house: put digital therometer in over (with dough) turn on
    electric oven until temp reaches 80 degrees then turn off oven. The temp will rise to over a hundred ,then start to decline.( record your own settings, results)
    a hour later give it a brief boost of heat.
    Next Wheat berries google will tell you where to buy them.
    Boil a batch for 1 full hour. Cool put desire amounts into plastic bags and freeze.
    Add some to any bread you are making.
    “Painting” loafs pre bake: experiment wit
    egg white only, egg yoke only, whole egg mixed with a bit of milk. Record results.
    20 years agowhen I moved south I could not find any decent bread so I taught myself. Finally I’m pretty good at it.
    PS easy way to get a good sourdough starter : buy from King Arthur.
    Yes I also make my own.
    Cheers Lou

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