Entries Tagged 'BBA Challenge'



Back to My Roots: Sourdough

I recently returned from a 10-day trip to Oregon.  Three of those days were spent in Portland with a fun and inspiring group of food writers and photographers, the rest were spent between Eugene and Florence, where I spent some time with my ex-husband’s family who I’m grateful have decided to keep me in their lives.  It was my first trip to Oregon since my husband and I separated in the spring of last year and though I was a nervous, emotional wreck in anticipation of it, the entire trip turned out to be a cathartic and healing experience. Continue reading →

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Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Panettone

Bread Baker's Apprentice Panettone

I’m sad to report that I have now had my very first failure in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.  I’ve made mistakes and had a few problems with some of the earlier breads, but they all managed to pull through and turn out pretty great.

Then I met Panettone.

Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas bread that originates from Milan and is popular throughout the world.  I’ve always loved it.  My first experience with panettone was when I worked for Lenscrafters in college.  Lenscrafters is owned by an Italian company and our Christmas bonuses came in the form of this sweet, rich, and fruity bread.  Not everyone liked it, so there were always extra boxes of panettone sitting around the Lenscrafters break room in December.  But I loved it.  I would toast big hunks of it (under the broiler because it was too big to fit in my toaster) and eat it dripping with butter.  It makes great french toast, too!  I also ate my share of panettone while living in Sicily.  It’s sold everywhere in Italy – little shops, big grocery stores, from the back of trucks on the side of the road. Continue reading →

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Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Pane Siciliano

Sliced Pane Siciliano

I have been looking forward to this Pane Siciliano for months, but for some reason just couldn’t get it started.  Perhaps it was the knowledge that this particular bread takes three days to complete.  Even though I knew that most of the allotted time would be dedicated to waiting for the dough to ferment and didn’t require any extra effort, I was still intimidated.  It’s hard for me to plan things one day in advance, much less three days in advance!  But I finally did it.  And yes, this golden-hued bread was worth the wait.  It was as delicious as it was beautiful. Continue reading →

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Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Pain de Campagne

Pain de Campagne from The Bread Baker's Apprentice

With this bread complete, I’ve officially passed the halfway mark in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.  I’ve now baked the first 22 of the 43 breads in the book and I’m fairly confident that I will make it through the second half by the end of this year.  I really can’t believe it’s been over a year since we first started the challenge. It’s taken me longer than I had anticipated, but even if I haven’t always been able to keep up, it’s been very rewarding to see all my new baking friends plow their way through the book.  Several people have already completed the challenge, and there are new people starting from the beginning all the time.  Congratulations to Oggi for being the first person to complete all 43 breads!  You can read her last post and see her top 10 favorite breads at I Can Do That. Continue reading →

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Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Pain à l’Ancienne

Baguettes Out of Oven

This seems to be one of the most talked about breads from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and I’ve been looking forward to giving it a try since first starting the challenge.  While I’ve read plenty of rave reviews of this bread over the years, I was attracted to pain à l’ancienne for a couple of other reasons.  First, the photo of rustic-looking baguettes in the book is beautiful and I’ve always wanted to make bread that looks like that.  But I was also very intrigued by the method. Continue reading →

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Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

Sliced Multigrain Bread

Continuing on with the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, I have reached the 20th bread in the book – Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire.  The name makes me laugh, but this bread truly is extraordinary.  It has a moist and chewy crumb that will stand up to just about any sandwich filling you can dream up, but it’s by no means dense or heavy.  And it makes some of the best toast I’ve ever had.

This one is a two-day process because the grains need to be soaked overnight, but the bread is quite simple to make and it’s definitely one of my favorites so far.  My only regret is that I didn’t make a double batch. Continue reading →

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Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Marbled Rye

Marbled Rye Crumb

It’s taking longer than I anticipated, but I’m still plugging away at The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge and enjoying every minute of it.  With the completion of this gorgeous Marbled Rye, I’ve mixed, kneaded, shaped, photographed, tasted, and shared the first 19 breads in the book.

Each successful loaf feels like a huge accomplishment, but this one in particular was special to me because it was the first time that I’ve attempted baking rye bread.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, because before this I had never even tasted marbled rye, but I was blown away by this bread.  The flavor and texture were wonderful and I fell in love with the striking appearance of the loaves. Continue reading →

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Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Light Wheat Bread

Light Wheat Bread Sliced

This soft, light sandwich loaf is the 18th bread I’ve baked for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.  Yes, I’m slowly but surely plowing through the book, and although there are still 28 breads ahead of me, I am confident I will finish the book…eventually!

Mr. Reinhart’s Light Wheat Bread was definitely a crowd pleaser – easy to make, easy to eat, and not too bad to look at, either.  The proud loaf that came out of my oven puts store-bought sandwich bread to shame and the simple formula is perfect for beginning bread bakers. Continue reading →

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