BBA – Anadama (Part I)

Today begins the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. Well, for me. The original challenge, posted on the blog Pinch My Salt, presents an excellent way to work through Peter Reinhart’s latest book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

See, homemade bread has been on our menu for the past 5 years or so, and I’ve always been found cookbook/recipe/bread machine manual in hand staring at the finished product with some pride and just the merest twinge of disappointment. Truth is that homemade bread beats out store-bought bread any day of the week. But making a loaf of homemade bread that tasted as if it had just come from the wood-fired oven of a splendid bakery? That just wasn’t happening in this house. I was happy if the loaf rose well, which sometimes seemed to rely on the whims of random gods of the mysterious ether. Then I found at this post at Smitten Kitchen. The recipe was promptly printed and the bread made. Wow! My bread came out looking and tasting just as amazing as hers! Guess I’m back in the bread making groove again.

The trouble is we’re a family who likes variety. So one recipe just wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted more, and I wanted them to be just as wheaty and good as that one. Enter The Fresh Loaf site, a veritable pantheon of culinary giants bread gurus. If it’s about bread, they have it. The *.rss feed is mindblowingly scrumptious, and the forums are the place to go when you can’t figure out why your starter just isn’t starting. Back to the BBA.

At The Fresh Loaf I read many a post extolling the virtues of Mr. Reinhart’s book, so I decided to check it out from my local library. Imagine my surprise (no, don’t. it’s not as if SK’s recipe didn’t have the credit Right There.) to see that the wheat bread I’d found so amazing —wait for it— was from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice!

Which brings me to today’s BBA portion of this post, the soaker for the Anadama bread. A bit of this:

and that:

has been mixed and covered, and is resting on my counter until it’s ready for use for tomorrow! Step one completed.

Just out of the oven is a loaf made from a recipe posted on A Bread A Day. It’s not a gorgeous loaf in terms of shape, but otherwise it’s a stunner! I did things a bit differently than the recipe, namely using the stretch and fold method, rather than kneading. It produced great dough.

Which made a loaf that got great oven spring. Look! The slices even opened up!

And, of course, the crumb shot.

My daughter thinks it has great flavor. I agree. We couldn’t wait too long and sliced just a bit to try after it had cooled for 45 minutes.


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