PinchMySalt started the challenge to bake every recipe in Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice back in May of 2009. Some baker-bloggers have already completed the challenge, but others are only half way through. I decided to just jump on board and start baking. I probably won't catch up, but that will allow me to just do this on my own timeline.
The breads are organized alphabetically and before even beginning I had to read roughly 80 pages of introduction to bread. Did you know there are 12 stages to bread?
Bread Baker's Apprentice Bread #1 is Anadama bread. I'd give a more detailed bread description commenting on sweetness, softness, and dryness, but honestly, I'm new to all the bread lingo. It's a bit like asking a new wine drinker to describe a wine.
One advantage of being behind the pack is that I have a number of other blogger's posts to rely upon when I am confused. The author states you want the dough "slightly tacky but not sticky". Where is the line between tacky and sticky? Luckily, a fellow blogger already answered that question.
This dough was tricky for me. It was the first time I've really worked with bread dough, so I had no idea what feel I was going for. Windowpane test? I see the picture in the book, but my dough isn't even close to doing that. Have I added too much flour or not enough? Registers 77 to 81 degree on the instant read thermometer? What if my dough is at 74? Do I knead more? Just let it sit? Put it in the microwave? (Just kidding on the last one.)
I do have another question. What happens if your dough sits for too long? Bread making is all about timing and what happens if you forget about it during the 90 minute fermenting or proofing time and leave the house only the return an hour after you were supposed to complete the next step?
I forgot the saran wrap while I proofed, but my bread survived. The author discusses in the beginning chapters the importance of paying attention during bread making. He suggests you bake bread, especially if you're a beginner, at a time when you can devote your full attention to the process. Those of you who also have small children in house please commence to laughing along with me.Just as I was beginning to feel completely dejected about my first bread making experience- my temps weren't right, my windowpane was non-existent, I fermented and proofed too long, I didn't roll the bread into the pan very nicely- I began to smell the aroma of baking bread. It was like magic entered again. I created that smell. And, nothing that smelled that good could taste bad. And, I was right.