Friday, May 15, 2009
The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge
I love making bread. I don't know exactly why or how it came to be, but I do. There's something very soothing and therapeutic about it. It's tactile. Visceral. Natural. It seems to be one of the few things I do that allow me to just…be. When I make bread it's all I'm thinking about—mostly.
I haven't tried a lot of recipes, though. I've never made a starter, for instance. Never made rye bread. Or panettone. But that's about to change. I've joined an on-line group of crazy bakers, determined to bake our way through Peter Reinhart's award-winning book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread.
I've had this book for a little over a year. Dwight gave it—and two other bread books—to me for my birthday. I've often thought that I should take more time with it and learn how to make some new kinds of bread. I read through all of the introduction and tutorials, the how's and why's of making bread. With this challenge, I now have the perfect excuse to put it to the test.
So for the next year, give or take, I'll be living with Peter and his wonderful book, baking a new bread every week, along side 200+ bakers all over the world, sharing with them my successes—and inevitable failures—learning more about bread than I ever could just reading about it.
My journey begins tomorrow. The first bread, Anadama, takes two days, beginning with a cornmeal soak followed the next day by mixing, proofing, shaping and baking. I'm so excited to be doing this and I hope you follow me along the way.