a spread of many artisan loaves of bread in a basket

Asheville Bread Festival…and More!

March 18, 2023

Asheville Bread Festival- After a three-year hiatus, the Asheville Bread Festival is returning and is scheduled to take place April 22-23.

If pastries and bread are your thing, you’re in for a real treat. Whether you enjoy home baking, or just appreciate the end result, this year’s Asheville Bread Festival is sure to deliver. In its 16th year, this two-day event provides a wonderful way for bread enthusiasts and professional bakers to showcase skills, share ideas, network and improve their bread-baking abilities – together. 

And, it’s no coincidence that this year’s festival coincides with Earth Day as the baking industry’s sustainability factor will be a key theme. Attendees will learn about everything from fermentation and sustainable food systems to how to handle food waste.  

Bread Festival Schedule & Highlights

Here’s a brief schedule summary to help you start planning your Asheville Bread Festival weekend getaway: 

Saturday, April 22: From 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: New Belgium Brewing Company will host the bread fair which will showcase local and regional artisan bakeries. An assortment of items including breads, pastries and flours will be sampled and sold and a bread and beer happy hour with panel discussion will take place later in the day. 

A series of hands-on workshops and lectures are also scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at various spots around Asheville and Hendersonville. There’s even a mill tour at Carolina Ground Flour.  

Some workshop highlights include: 

  • Easy, Sustainable, Delicious: Basic Sourdough Loaf with Martin Philip, head baker at King Arthur Flour
  • Understanding the American Loaf with Amy Halloran
  • Healthy Body Mechanics and Techniques for Bakers with Susannah Gebhart
  • Spanish-Style Laminated Pastry with Josh Young
  • Bagels with Kander Blume 
  • Naturally Gluten-Free Bread with Brennan Johnson
  • Naturally Leavened Enriched Doughs with Grace Garry

So, what’s your jam (or butter)? To learn about all the workshops available, visit: https://www.ashevillebreadfestival.com/workshops

Sunday, April 23: Blair Marvin of Elmore Mountain Bread; and Martin Philip, head baker at King Arthur Flour, will lead the way in this six-hour wood-fired Master Class with intensive instruction and discussion. This event is only available to professional bakers. 

Tickets go on sale in early March- snag your tickets here: https://www.ashevillebreadfestival.com/2023tickets

Stay with Us During the Festival

Of course, if you decide to attend this year’s Asheville Bread Festival, there’s no better place to stay than at one of our historical bed and breakfasts. Many innkeepers are master bakers in their own right and are excited to share their knowledge too. 

You just never know what will land on your breakfast plate. A peach shortbread biscuit from the Sweet Biscuit Inn? Yes please. An apple cranberry stuffed turnover from Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast? Oh yeah. A reverse chocolate chip cookie from Bent Creek Lodge? You bet! Some Asheville Bed and Breakfasts also offer their own baking classes. For example, baking enthusiasts can sign up for a culinary experience at the Applewood Manor

Pop quiz: what is the best kind of bread? 

Answer- the kind straight out of the oven. 

Thankfully, our Innkeepers know that and they don't hit the snooze button on the alarm clock when it’s time to get up and make something delicious. 

Recipes From the Innkeepers!

Below are some favorite recipes from the Innkeepers.

Baguette or Salted Knot From Applewood Manor

a loaf of white sandwich bread, sliced on a cutting board with a knife plus a small boule
All the Bread!

Difficulty: Medium
Servings:1 serving
Source: My collection

450g KA Sir Galahad or All Purpose flour
50g rye
295g warm water
2g yeast
9g salt

This is single recipe but I quadruple the recipe for 8-9 350 gram baguettes. I bake until lightly brown but cooked through and then cool and freeze. From freezer at 350 degrees, bake bread first in foil then take out to finish, should be brown and hard to the touch but not dark brown. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.

Mix flours & water in a Kitchen aid mixer fitted with a dough hook on low until it just comes together (will look shaggy) then allow auto-lease (baking method to allow flour to absorb water and reduces the kneading time) for 15 minutes, add yeast and salt during the 15 minutes. Mix on high with dough hook 3-8 minutes. Remove from mixing bowl and Knead by hand until the dough springs back when you touch it. Place in an oiled plastic bin with a top (Tupperware or Rubbermaid type) at least double in size of the dough, cover with top and let rise 1 hour. Fold all sides and flip and let rise for 2nd rise 30min.-1hour. In a bowl take all ingredients and mix by hand or a fork until it starts to come together, shaggy dough. Let rest 15 minutes. Pour shaggy dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to kneed to form a ball. It may be slightly sticky but that's ok. If you have a dough scraper, it helps in keeping it from sticking to the counter. Try to not over flour, this will make the dough tough. Lift the dough ball and slap it against the counter and flip the dough in your hand almost like a fold. Turn dough and repeat until dough no longer sticks to the counter and when you touch the dough it springs back. Rise as noted above.

Form into 300 gram pieces for baguette, 80-100 g pieces for small rolls or football shaped sandwich breads or small baguettes.

Challah Recipe Suggestion from Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast

three loaves of challah bread in pans
All the Challah!

This enriched dough makes the best French toast for our guests at breakfast.

Recipe and Tips: 

The recipe is copyrighted and available online at Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. However, my tip for challah is to divide a batch into 3 loaves, braid per the instructions, and place in 9×5 loaf pans. Also, no seeds is my preference. Bake as directed until golden brown on top but wait for the loaves to cool before cutting, if you can!

Cranberry Bread from 1899 Wright Inn & Carriage House

A breakfast plate with fruit in a crystal cup and a slice of cranberry walnut bread
Cranberry Walnut Bread pairs well with fruit

Serves: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 70 min.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. orange zest
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
1 1/2 cups cranberries, cut up

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt & baking soda together. Cut in butter- mix till crumbly. Add egg, zest, juice all at once. Stir till mixed evenly. Fold in raisins and cranberries.
Spoon into a greased 9×5×3 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 65-70 min. Till toothpick comes out clean. Rest in pan 15 minutes then remove from pan cool on cooling rack.

Cheddar Scallion Biscuits From Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn & Spa

a hand holding a plate of cheddar scallion bisiuts
Do biscuits beat bread? Yes!

Prep Time – 15-20 minutes
Cook Time – 15 minutes

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus a tad more to brush biscuit tops
1 8-ounce bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, approximately 2 cups
½ - ¾ cups chopped scallions (I use ¾ cup)
1 ½ cups whole buttermilk


1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set it aside.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, garlic powder. Add a few cracks of black pepper, approximately ¼ teaspoon.

3) Using a handheld grater, grate butter directly into the same bowl. I like to throw the butter in the freezer before this step to ensure it is cold and easy to handle. The secret to excellent biscuits is COLD BUTTER.

4) Use your hands to combine the butter with the flour mixture by gently pinching butter into flour until pea-sized bits begin to form throughout. It’s ok if there are some larger bits in the mix. Many times, the biscuit dough gets worked so much that the butter softens before the biscuits go into the oven. You want to handle the dough as little as possible, so the butter stays cold.

5) Add in shredded cheese and scallions. Toss together until just combined.

6) Lastly, make a small well in the center of the bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Use a wooden spoon to bring the dough together. The dough should be slightly sticky. Bring dough together as much as you can.

7) Empty dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Coat your hands with a bit of flour and gently knead the dough together. Fold dough onto itself 2-3 times, then use a rolling pin to roll out dough into a rough square, approximately 9*9 inches. Add a touch more flour to the rolling pin to prevent sticking, if necessary.

8) Using a biscuit cutter, or a drinking glass, stamp out biscuits and place onto prepared baking sheet. I use a 2 ¼” cutter, but you can use cutters sized 2”-3”, depending on how large you want the biscuits to be. Punch down and out – DO NOT twist the cutter when stamping dough. Place stamped dough onto prepared baking sheet. Biscuits should be placed together touching each other to help them rise tall. Re-roll any remaining dough scraps to make more biscuits.

9) Place biscuits into a freezer, or if freezer space is limited, into a refrigerator, for 10 minutes.

10) Bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown in color.

11) After removing from oven, brush tops using a pastry brush with melted butter if desired.

12) Enjoy these flavorful biscuits warm!

Try out one of these fabulous recipes and let us know how you liked it!

And, if you still have room for more delicious baked goods after all this, Asheville is home to many wonderful bakeries ranging from the unique to traditional. A couple favorite mentions from our Innkeepers are: Mother, OWL Bakery and Well-Bred Bakery.

three loaves of brioche on their sides with a price of $9


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