Category Archives: BBA Challenge

Kaiser Rolls

Kaissers-BakedToday’s blog post will be relatively quick. The main reason being that these Kaiser Rolls, recipe #16 in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, were made at the same time as I was baking the Vermont Three Ways which was, of it’s own accord, a bit of a challenge. The end result being that there weren’t a lot of photos taken, so we’ll just have to do with a few sample shots.

Just realized: We’ve already done a third of the recipes in the challenge! 43 bread recipes means the Italian Bread was the 1/3 milestone. Wow, we’ll be done in no time!

This bread requires a Pate Fermentée but the amount shown in the book makes twice as much as this recipe needs. So you can either find another recipe that will use half up, save the rest (it can keep for a few days in the fridge) or cut the amounts shown in half and get enough for these rolls. Continue reading

Pane Italiano: Molto Delizioso

ItalIntroHere we are with Italian Bread, recipe #15 in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. (And no, I won’t butcher the Italian language for this one any more than I just did.)

This recipe was pretty much a repeat of the French bread I made two weeks back so the steps along the way are nearly identical. The most obvious difference is the shape – the French bread was a baguette and this is a batard. There’s also sugar, malt and oil in the ingredient list where the French bread was strictly flour, salt yeast and water. The process itself, otherwise, was pretty much the same so as easy as the French bread was, so is this.

Let’s have a look at that.

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Le Pain Français du #BBA

FrenchBBA-SneakPicBonjour et salut à tous! La recette d’aujourd’hui est un pain français du livre «The Bread Baker’s Apprentice» par le boulanger célèbre, Monsieur Peter Reinhart.

And that’s all the French I’ll force you to suffer through for now. So yes, today is French Bread day in the BBA Challenge and dare I say, “it’s about time!”. Not because the other breads so far have been bad but because I’ve rather been looking forward to this one for a while.

Although my extended stay in Paris was a couple decades back, one of the very best things (although there were many) was being able to get up in the morning, go around the corner this way or down the street a bit that way, and hit a bakery to pick up a still warm fresh baguette, perhaps some almond croissants, then head back to the apartment and consume it with some strawberry jam and crème fraîche (yum!! Rather like Devonshire cream) along with a hot cup of coffee while looking out onto the bustle of Boulevard de Rochechouart.

This experience is simply not doable back here in North America as there aren’t bakeries in almost any neigbourhood and even when there happens to be one, it’s simply not a habit here to get bread for the meal and expect to go out again next time for the next loaf, warm off the shelf. No, we may pick up a loaf at the local grocery store that we don’t expect to get into for hours if not days, the quality simply isn’t the same in these factory-produced breads.

So getting to this particular loaf is giving me hope of getting a little bit of that ‘plaisir’ back, and maybe reliving a little bit of that Paris experience. You can probably tell I haven’t made this yet (I write the blog up halfway while waiting for things to proof or bake) so I don’t know how it will turn out.

Let’s get going and see, non?

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Corn Bread: Breakfast in a slice.

CBFancyShotCorn Bread: Breakfast in a slice.

This is recipe #10 (1/4 of the way there! [almost]) in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.

By now we know the drill: look up the recipe, translate the ounce weights to grams for better accuracy and get all our ingredients set up for the Mis en Place. So let’s get this show going.

Wait!! Before we get going, there’s the overnight soak we need to attend to. So our coarse (palenta style) cornmeal gets a bath of buttermilk and left on the counter until next day. Straight forward to not need photos, right? Good, cause I didn’t get any.

So one full sleep later…

The ubiquitous Mis en Place. Althought there are  a fair number of ingredients here, the process is really simple.

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WAIT!! Hold on, we’re already ahead of ourselves. A step we did before getting all the ingredients ready and measured was to cook up our bacon, about 15-20 at 375ºF on a parchment covered baking sheet. Book says use two, but there was plenty of spare space on one sheet. I even used 10 ounces of bacon to not leave one lonely slice in the package (and get in deep doodoo for it too)

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Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin BreadMore cinnamon goodness!!

With this ninth recipe in the The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, we’re making what is generally a “treat” style bread, or at least it was when I was growing up. Only very, very occasionally would we be lucky enough to see a loaf of raisin bread show up in the weekly groceries.

Having now made this loaf, I can’t tell you how simple it is to make and that there’s really no reason to not treat yourself a little more regularly. All it is really is mixing the ingredients, knead, rise, shape and pop into the oven. Ridiculously simple.

I decided to make just one loaf as I wasn’t really sure if we could get through two loaves before our next challenge bread comes up (corn bread). Well, duh! Why in the world did I think that? It’s half gone already. And it’s barely a few hours old.

OK, so get the book and make this!! Impress your friends, treat your family or yourself. It’s super simple and one hella lot cheaper than buying the same thing at the store (not counting on the fact it’s just not as good as home made)!

Here we go!!

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Casatiello Bread for #BBA Challenge

Nearly didn't make it into the bread

Nearly didn't make it into the bread

I went out and bought the “special” ingredients needed for this Casatiello, an Italian “cousin” of the eggy French brioche and the fifth recipe in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. The 200 gram of Calabrese salami and the 250 gram chunk of Provolone cheese cost $12. Yipes, I thought, this had better be damn good bread.

Just as a test I had a few crackers with the cheese and salami, you know, just to make sure this was a good combo. Good thing we only had a couple crackers left or there would have been nothing remaining of the salami and cheese for the bread. Also gave a test cracker to my other half. Turns out spicy deli meats are not a favourite at all; now I know the salami’s all mine. Muahahaha! And so is the bread. OK, I cut the recipe in half then: one loaf should be plenty for lil ol’ me. Darn, now I’ll have all this spare salami and cheese. What ever shall I do?

I immediately put “Crackers” on the shopping list.

OK, let’s get this show on the road and see what we  end up with since we know the “featured ingredients” are awesome. Continue reading

Brioche: a quasi-fail (#bba)

Sometimes you think you’re doing the right thing but it turns out you’re not.

This was one of those times.

Although, in reality, it’s a small problem and nothing that can’t be resolved by EATING THE EVIDENCE. Still, it would have been nice to get it a little closer to “right”. Woe is me. Let me tell you what happened…

I decided to give bread #4 in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge a go yesterday and of course (since you already know what the post title is) it was Brioche. There are three variations of it to choose from and I went with Rich Man’s version. This one  has a whole whopping pound of butter in it, vs the Middle Class and Poor Man’s versions with a half and a quarter pound of butter, respectively.

So let’s follow along the process.

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As you can see, the ingredient list isn’t exactly strange. Except that we’re not using just a little bit of that butter, we’re using the WHOLE thing. The recipe indicates that, in baker’s percentage, this loaf is 87.7% butter in the end. In case you’re thinking that means it’s 3% other things, allow me to explain in a little more detail.

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