I recently applied for a scholarship to take classes at SFBI. Here is my application essay:
If I were able to take the Artisan I and Artisan II classes at SFBI, it would be one of the most beneficial things in my career as a baker and baking instructor. Not only would the bread that I bake improve substantially, but many other home bakers would benefit as well from the knowledge I could pass on. The only way this massive benefit could happen would be through the graciousness of receiving the SFBI Scholarship.
I’ve been baking bread for more than 2 years now, but really got passionate about it in May of 2009, when I started Sour Flour. My first breads were made following directions from Joy of Cooking, but once I created my own starter I began experimenting with many different formulas. I started reading as many books as I could (Bread Bakers Apprentice, Bread Alone, Local Breads, Bread Baking: An Artisans Perspective, The Taste of Bread), as well as participating pretty heavily in the bread forums on The Fresh Loaf. People began coming over to my place to help me bake, and we learned from each other. Through these experiences, I decided to start offering bread classes to those that wanted.
Although my bread has progressed massively over the past year, it still has lots of room to improve. I first got introduced to SFBI when I heard about the need to read Advanced Bread and Pastry if I were really interested in bread. Just about every baker I have talked to has always talked highly about the information they have learned from SFBI. I also began buying my bread supplies from TMB, which had much better boards, tubs, lames, and baskets than I had found elsewhere.
Most recently, I competed in the SF Food Wars: Yeast Affliction competition, and got the opportunity to meet so many other bakers and taste a huge diversity of bread. I was extremely impressed by all the breads of the students of SFBI, and all the students raved about their experiences there. I also got some great advice from Michel Suas: I need to improve my mixing. I also realize that my shaping needs a lot of work, considering I have never had the hands on training from an experienced baker. I have learned much of the theory and practice of the bread, but there is only so much you can learn from books.
Sour Flour has given away almost all of its bread for free, as well as provided free training for anyone who wants it. We have partnered with a non-profit, and received a few donations, which has allowed us to continue to operate. However, there are limited funds, and although the Artisan I and Artisan II classes are so important to Sour Flour, we cannot afford it without a scholarship. Thank you for taking the time to consider our request to participate in these classes.