Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Bread Baker's Apprentice

I am rescuing my blog from cyber obscurity. Okay, let's be honest. It's still obscure, but I plan to write on it anyway. I conceived this blog to document my love affair with bread. So far, it's been a one way affair.

In my life, I have savored enough delicious bread to make Dr. Atkins and his acolytes choke on their bacon. But as a baker of bread, I have fallen far short. Sure, I may have made one or two lackluster loaves. And one of my first culinary experiences involved popping open a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. But I am leaving my fond memories of the Pillsbury Dough Boy in the past. My new man is Peter Reinhart. Each night I curl up with him and his book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and I dream of the bagels, baguettes and ciabatta that will one day burst from my oven.

Of course, I may be overreaching a bit. I am a complete novice, and this book is heavy on things like pre-fermentation and formulas that take two days. But I have found additional inspiration in the form of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, an insane batch of bakers from all around the world who have devoted themselves to making every bread featured in the BBA. I have been lurking on blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages devoted to the BBA Challenge, and I have found both inspiration and practical advice. While some bakers tell of loaves that succeeded beautifully, others share their failures or things that didn't turn out as planned.

I hope for some success, and expect my share of blow ups (not literally, I hope, but I did read of one ciabatta that went boom). If I succeed, our family will feast joyously on homemade bread. And if it doesn't work out, I can always run down the hill for a loaf from Acme, Bay Bread or La Brea.


Lucia from Madison said...

Baking bread is so rewarding. Good luck on you endeavors. I too love to bake bread. I received the Jim Lahey, My Bread Book for Christmas. I look forward to following your baking adventures.

Erika said...

My first effort -- Anadama bread -- is fermenting right now. It took me a looong time of kneading until the dough reached the right temperature. I'm not sure I was forceful enough with my kneading. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Erika said...

Lucia -- Thanks for your kind words. Your pizza bianca looks delicious!