Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Must Have: The Bread Baker's Apprentice Book

I have a little confession to make.

If you have been following my blog for a little while, you may have remembered me mentioning something about joining a bread baking group about five months ago (or maybe not and now I've pointed out something that I haven't followed through on). This group called The BBA Challenge(Bread Baker's Apprentice) was formed by Nicole at Pinch My Salt and the goal was to make a recipe per week and post about each result.

From the very beginning, it was stressed that although many people would follow a weekly schedule, you could go at any pace that is best for you and your schedule, so don't worry if you didn't bake a recipe every single week. I was very excited and all ready to jump on the bread baking wagon, especially since I owned the book and had made some recipes from it while I was in culinary school. Now, here is another bit of information to add--I also joined the Daring Baker's Kitchen at about the same time and have found that a monthly challenge has worked much better for me and my level of commitment at that time.
Back to my confession.

I made the first bread recipe (LOVED IT), posted about it and and life got busier and I never made it back for the second recipe (if you look at the side bar with the labels, you'll notice there is only (1) BBA post). I used to follow the google discussion groups and other members of the groups blogs for the first month or two, but then I felt SO guilty about not keeping up, that I had to stop. And it's not like I'm even being held accountable for whether or not I'm making any of the breads, but I still feel a twinge of guilt about not following through. I guess I am on the slow, slow, SLOW schedule and have now made a goal to bake at least three more recipes by the end of the year (yep, I think I can perhaps handle one per month).

So what is my point today? Just this. I saw the book on my shelf, looked outside at the overcast, cold, fall-ish weather outside and thought, "Hey, today is a great day to make bread and maybe others would like to know more about this great book." Also, we have some freshly ground hard white wheat that needs to be used (see picture with large container of flour two pictures down). And hey, fresh warm bread straight from the oven? I think I can make that sacrifice on my day off.

Let me introduce or re-introduce (if you are already aware of this book), The Bread Baker's Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart.

This book is a wealth of great information and contains excellent directions for making delicious bread. Even if you haven't had much experience in baking bread, but want to learn and know more, then this book is for you. If you don't have this book, but would like to try a recipe from it, click over to my post about the Anadama Bread recipe. Try it and let me know what you think about it.

I will be making one of the many great recipes from this book today and later this week, I'll post pictures and more information about how it turns out.

In the meantime, I'd love to know what your favorite bread to make is or if you don't make bread, what is your favorite bread to eat?
Happy Bread Baking Monday!


  1. I hate following a schedule! But... it's good to have goals and deadlines. Such a hard line to crawl! This bread looks awesome though!

  2. I've been struggling w/ this recently in regards to the Daring Bakers. Sigh. I love Reinhart's books, it's like having him there in the room, teaching. (which is also a fabulous experience, should you ever get the chance) Happy bread baking!

    On a side note, thanks for your input into the product development corner, I'd love to hear more about your business as it grows.

  3. Hey I'm about a month behind now and I was about a month ahead at one point. It doesn't matter. Now that the cooler weather is here I'll probably get back into it.
    I'm on recipe 18 which I think I will do tomorrow.
    I'll be watching to see what your into baking. : ) It's all good. :)
    PS My favorite bread ever is Flax Seed Bread.

  4. I'm a carb addict, all breads make me very, very happy. However, since surgery I can no longer eat much bread AT ALL, let alone in bulk like I used to.

    I am going to assume you want to hear about our favorite bread, even if the bread doesn't include yeast in the recipe?

    I love, in no particular order:
    Chocolate chip pumpkin bread
    Sourdough bread
    Wheat bread warm from the oven
    English muffins
    Scones-Does this count?
    French baguettes
    Hearty white bread, heavy, but warm and dripping with butter.

    Ok, I'm making myself stop now.

  5. Maybe my new favorite bread is the multigrain extraordinaire in the BBA. Just a beautiful loaf. But my favorite bread to make is my mother's coffee cake, I can feel her hands with mine.

  6. I would love to learn how to make a crusty, soft gluten free baguette. I'm not really a bread person in daily life, but there are lots of kinds that I would love to try GF versions of =D. This book looks really good. Good Luck baking through it!

  7. I have been thinking about getting that book for a while, and now I definitely will. The bread looks great! I like baking whole wheat sandwich bread and focaccia. Both pretty easy and so good! I hope you find the time to get some more baking in. I hope I do too!

  8. You have a tight schedule to begin with, don't think you should be too hard on yourself about keeping up the weekly schedule. However, I understand the "guilty feelings" you might have! ;P

    My favorite kinda bread are a really GOOD CRUSTY baguette, Caramel Apple bread from Bangalo Bread Company ( in Beaverton (however, still a little too sweet for me...if only I can figure out what they put in there!!! :P), and also some Asian style buns. I have just made some and they are on my blog now. Asian breads or buns, have soft crust, usually brushed with an egg wash. When we were back home this summer, we ate a lot of them. The store I particularly like is called Bread Story ( YUM!

  9. I was thinking about the BBA Challenge as well and completely freaked myself out in regards to regular bread baking. While maybe when you are more comfortable baking more bread, I will try to get the book. :-)


  10. That's on my to buy list for a while now! I love baking bread at home!

  11. I don't bake bread anymore, because I'm lucky enough to live in Belgium, squeezed between France (croissants, baguettes, brioche) and Germany (pumpernickel, rye, sourdough rye). We can get wonderful bread every day. The only one I miss is good old San Francisco Sourdough. Yum.

    Congratulations on the bread. Don't sweat the deadlines. This should be fun!

  12. Thanks for the DB welcome and kind comment. I don't have a lot of experience with baking bread but I do eating it! I love sourdough. And pumpernickel. I will have to check out that book--looking forward to your next post.

  13. Great write up on the book. I love baking bread - at my own pace - but don't have this book. I've seen it around obviously with members of this group. I really should get my hands on it. Look forward to seeing how your breads turn out!

  14. Haven't made bread for ages- but am into making rolls right now. Same thing, but easier. Guess my favorite bread would be a 5 grain- we have a French bakery nearby that does a great one.

  15. Thanks for such great comments everyone! I loved reading about all the bread favorites and now my mouth is watering! :)

    Fahrenheit 350: I actually like having a schedule, but I think I took on a bit too much a few months ago. :)

    Chou: His books are great--we had several bread formulas from him in culinary school. Anytime you want to chat about business, let me know. :)

    Susies1955: Flax seed bread sounds yummy! I'll have to see if I can eventually catch up.

    Jeanna: Wow--you came up with a great list of breads, and yes, scones count in my book.

    Rosemary&Garlic: I will look up that recipe--it sounds like something I'd love too.

    Lauren: If I come across any gluten-free recipes, I will send them your way. Although, you will probably create something before then and it will be fabulous! :)

    Msmeanie: If you get this book, you'll love it! Focaccia--say no more--love it! :)

    Jenny: I read the links you posted--so interesting and that place in Beaverton looks really great. I'll have to check it out soon.

    Kris: I bet that you would make beautiful loaves of bread--you are great at all you do.

    Clumbsy Cookie: It really is a must have! :)

    Kate: If I lived there, I'd be buying that great bread too!

    Carly: Ohhh pumpernickel--another favorite of mine. :)

    Julia: Thanks, let me know if you get this book.

    Barbara: You can't go wrong with a 5-grain bread--always delicious!