Nicole of Pinch my Salt sent out a twitter message saying “I need a challenge. Am thinking of baking my way through every single recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Anyone want to join me?” Well I jumped right in. Both feet, no thought at all. I think I was one of the first 5 that joined…did I even have the book? Nope but I ordered it that night!!!
We are now almost 200 strong with members everywhere on the globe. It’s an incredibly enthusiastic group that wants to share like no group I have ever belonged to before. Awesome!
Our goal is to bake our way through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. An intimidating book at anytime but to think that you are going to be baking one of these recipes a week is slightly overwhelming to say the least. But I love a challenge and feel a real need to get out of my comfort zone. Oh yah, I bake all of our bread but I never seem to have the time or the desire to try something new and different. This will change all that!!!
This week’s bread is Artos: Greek Celebration Breads and we were given several options for making this. The first one, and the one I choose to make, was the classic Greek Celebration Bread. We could also have chosen to make Christopsomos which is a Christmas Bread and Lambropsomos which is Easter Bread. I choose to make the basic recipe as no one in my family really likes nuts and dried fruit in their bread…yes even balking at raisin bread!!!
We were also given two options for a sponge. We could either do a poolish or a barm (I choose to do a poolish as I had no pineapple juice!!!). The only change I made to this was that I ran out of regular honey so I used some cinnamon honey I had and it blended perfectly with all of the other spices in the bread.
This is a wonderful bread that is full of spices and gives off such a wonderful aroma while baking but it also makes a HUGE loaf. Just imagine the smell of cinnamon, cloves allspice and nutmeg!!! I’m not too sure if mine rose too much but it definitely split while baking.
My absolute favorite thing about this bread though was the morning that we decided to make French Toast with it. The spices in this leant itself perfectly to French Toast and I would make it again just for that purpose!
Want to Bake Along With Us?
There are several ways for you to join in the fun! First of all, you need a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Then just start baking! Even if you are starting late, just begin with the first recipe and start working your way through. There are several ways to communicate with the group as you begin your journey:
Flickr: We have set up a BBA Challenge Flickr Group where you can upload photos, see photos from other members, and even post questions and comments in the group forum. It’s a private group, so you will need to click on the link that says ‘join this group’ if you want to be able to post photos. As long as you are willing to bake bread all of the bread from the book, you are welcome to join the Flickr group!
Twitter: If you use twitter, you can follow what the group is doing by searching for #BBA or #bba using Twitter’s search box. You can join in on the conversation by adding the #bba or #BBA tag to the end of your tweets when you are talking about anything related to the BBA Challenge. For me, following what people are doing on twitter has been the most fun!
Facebook: If you’re on Facebook, you can join the BBA Challenge Group there and share photos, ask questions, and talk about your bread baking experiences with other BBA members on Facebook.