I am happy to report that I have completed the first recipe in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice! This one was called Anadama bread, and it came out pretty well. I didn’t take a ton of photos throughout the whole process (namely because it’s too hard to wield a camera and knead dough at the same time), but I did take a few.The first thing I had to do was make the soaker, which was just a mix of corn meal and water. I made that on Friday night, amidst a dinner of pizza and beer and the excitement of playing The Beatles Rock Band, which Michael had surprised me with. The game is awesome, by the way, but we’ll stick to the topic of bread for now. So, I made the soaker and let that sit at room temperature overnight. My good friend Emily J was good enough to poke her head out of the Berkshires of Massachusetts for just enough time to hang out in Montclair with us and witness the beginnings of the process. Ask her about it—she’ll tell you how riveting it was.
Anyway, I got up at 8:30am on Saturday and proceeded to mix the flour, yeast, and soaker. That had to sit for about 90 minutes, until it became bubbly, at which point I added the rest of the flour, molasses, butter, salt, etc. I did run into one problem which came as the result of the move to Montclair. I guess it’s natural for a few things to disappear during a move, but it was particularly inconvenient to find that all of our dry measuring cups seem to have vanished. So, I had to use a liquid measuring cup instead. Subsequently, my flour measurements may have been a little off, but I think I made up for it in the kneading process. After about 10 minutes of kneading on the kitchen table, the dough sat in an oiled bowl for another 90 minutes.
This is the dough after the rising process. I probably could have used a bigger bowl, but I don’t have one! It’s okay—it made the rise all the more dramatic.
This was after I put the dough in the bread pans for another rise. I got nervous for a second because the 9×5-inch pans seemed a little too big. But, I don’t have smaller ones yet, so I had to press on.
Luckily, they rose very nicely. Then, it was time to put them in the oven—350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
This was the finished product. One came out a little lopsided, but on the whole they were pretty successful. The crust could have been a little crustier, but I was afraid of burning or over-baking. It has a nice texture with a hint of molasses flavor, and it made the apartment smell great!
Next on the list is a Greek celebration bread, and after that are bagels, which I’m pretty excited about. Hopefully I’ll find the time to make another loaf soon!