Stage One of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge is now underway. Even though I ordered the book with my new Montclair library card, it got sent to Bloomfield (where I used to live/work) because a setting wasn’t changed on my account. So, I had to stop in to my old library to pick it up yesterday morning. And, of course, in the five minutes I was there, I ran into the director, my old boss. A short yet awkward exchange ensued (there used to be a lot of drama between him and the old Children’s Librarian, my other boss), and then I was finally able to leave, book in hand.
I read a lot of it while I worked at the Douglass Library that afternoon. It seems like a pretty good book with lots of interesting tidbits about bread, flour, yeast, all that good stuff, and all of which I’ll forget in a few days. However, it did make me feel a little intimidated. I’ve already made some good bread in my baking career, but this book planted some seeds of doubt about the project—mainly because it wants me to have a food thermometer, baking stone, and numerous other things that I don’t have, and it advises me to do various things in my oven to create a “hearth”-type atmosphere for various loaves (i.e. using a steam pan to create steam before putting in the loaf—something I had never heard of before).
My oven is a whole other area of uncertainty. It’s old and electric, and uses a hanging thermometer to tell the temperature, which may or may not be accurate. It’s also quite small, so hopefully it will hold up.
Depending on how the weekend turns out, I may try to bake the first loaf on Sunday. It’s called Anadama bread and uses some interesting ingredients like corn meal and molasses. It seems like a pretty straightforward loaf, so if I’m able to accomplish it, that will be a nice confidence boost for the next one. I’m going to try to make it without worrying about my lack of high falootin’ baking supplies, and hopefully it will be a success.