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Hamelman's 'Bread' Challenge + blog

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tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Hamelman's 'Bread' Challenge + blog

Hi,


  Ever since I saw the people jumping onto the bandwagon to bake their way through Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice, e.g. "The Break Baker's Apprentice Challenge", I thought, why not a "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes Challenge" instead (or in addition too ...for those seriously addicted types)?  I'm willing to put together a web site on the topic, much like the BBA Challenge's web site, manage registered bakers and links to their blogs and what not if at least a couple of people are willing to ...shall I say it?  Rise to the challenge?  Well, how about it?  Are you interested?  Now that we're all moved in and settled at our new house, I'm ready to get going again...



 


Thanks,


Brian


 

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

Hi Brian,


We've already got a group working on a Hamelman challenge with, right now, 29 members. You can join up there, it's just got set up and we're doing Hamelman but at a "Mellow" pace. We've already started with the Hot Cross Buns for March. 



 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Great idea, Brian, especially as Bread is about the only book I bake from.


I'm just not sure about sticking to a set menu of breads - working full time, then having to do the household chores, gardening (if it ever warms up), etc., means my only time for baking is over the weekend - and even that gets disrupted.


Have you thought about a structure?

AW's picture
AW

for doing this. I'd like to follow along as I've done a self-teaching thing too.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mini

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Looks like we have enough people to get started with.  (That was fast!)  I was thinking of going through the book from front to back, each person at his/her own pace, no fixed schedule ...just running blogs to track each person's effort, maybe keeping a master blog to track common questions/answers/hints/helps for the various formulae as we go.  The blogs are self-entered, e.g. you post your own pix (highly encouraged) and text, as you go.  Help for doing such things can come from me or this forum.  I haven't looked too closely at the blogs here at TFL yet, but maybe this is the place to do that ...we'll see.   In the mean time, feedback and ideas posted here would be great ...while I go and do a bit of homework and flesh things out a bit... I'll be checking in here several times a day (as usual)...


 


Brian


 

saraugie's picture
saraugie

Please count me in......awaiting further instructions......


Why not invite Jeff H himself ?  I think Tuesday's with Dorie, had herself baking along with the group.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Invite Jeff?  Novel idea... didn't think of that, but having ongoing input from him might be quite interesting and useful.  I'll take that as a 2nd priority topic... the first being setting up the basic infrastructure of course (registered bakers, blogs, etc) ...gotta do that first!


 


Brian


 

rhomp2002's picture
rhomp2002

Fascinating idea.  Dan has a website set up with a recipe and then a set time fo do the baking.  He is available to answer questions/solve problems online and the people involved can upload their photos so that they can be critiqued.  Looks like a good idea to me.  What an amazing way to lear from the masters and get your questions answered in real time.

saraugie's picture
saraugie

It seems to me that the author of a cookbook or any other, put forethought in how that book's information would be arranged.  What sections would come first, second ETC.  I think if we do the project, we agree to start at the first formula and end at the last.


I also think we should take our time, and report our techniques, along side the results after making a formula, IF we differed from how Jeff says to do it in the technique part.  We should go in open-minded and I for one, am willing to change if doing something makes the end result better.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Bread is my favorite book and everything I have baked from it is rock solid. I'll jump on the wagon.


 


Eric

asicign's picture
asicign

Bread is also my favorite bread book.  I tend to make the same 10 or so recipes over and over, so this might be a good opportunity to explore new territory.


 


Andy

GospodarnaNarzeczona's picture
GospodarnaNarzeczona

Hi,


W'd done this challenge already. Only for us, we show oue breads in a few days.


Great idea.


Visit my blog www.nakruchymspodzie.blogspot.com


 


Gospodarna Narzeczona

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Wow!  What a very beautiful and inspiring web site and blog!  I can't begin to expect so much from myself... What language is that?  Wish I could read it!


Brian


 

katzinchen's picture
katzinchen

I'm excited about this blog; it will give me a refresher course in Polish with words on one of my favorite topics.

GospodarnaNarzeczona's picture
GospodarnaNarzeczona

I'm sorry but I could menage a website only in Polish.


Thank you for your visit. So we participate in this challenge.


Gospodarna Narzeczona

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

I like the idea. But need to get my hands on the book first.

saraugie's picture
saraugie

In fact its almost 1/2 price and free shipping ! BREAD

Nim's picture
Nim

Same here...I just bought Leader's "Local Breads". Will have to check out Hamelman at the local B&N. But I am in, too....

judiandjeff's picture
judiandjeff

There is a post above about Mellow Bakers. They are doing what appears to be the same thing, baking thru Hamelman at a slow pace. Did anyone contact Paul at Mellow Bakers to coordinate?  He is also at yumarama.com , a great site. He already has the structure set up and the group is baking the first bread, hot cross buns.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

-But those art breads that go on the walls, not sure I want to do those. I mean, they're gorgeous and everything but they scare me. I'll try. Maybe I'll be braver when I actually have a real kitchen a counter top back.
Can we use the blog from TFL or do we need to set up our own website?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'll go there and look for the handling tips, if there is anything to add.  Play do is my "thing." In fact I'm playing with some at the moment but my copy of the book is available to me in a month.  I guess it will be glued to me for the next few years...  the tricky part will be coming up with an motivating theme and keeping the dough at the right consistancy for playing.  We will all get thru this...  like a team!


Mini

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I wouldn't see doing our own thing as a duplicate effort by any means, except for the web site portion of it, and for me that's a fun part of the project anyway.  Other than that, it's just more bakers baking more.  I'm certain that people somewhere have gotten together and baked their way through this book already and in fact, there's an example in this thread of that (the beautiful web site blog that's in a foreign language above).


I only hesitated on the Mellow Bakers idea because I didn't think Hot Cross Buns was the first recipe in the book.  I was planning on baking through the book in the order presented.  Am I wrong?  I don't have the book with me here at work, and the table of contents that you can read at Amazon doesn't list the breads within the chapters, just the chapter names...


Are people interested in baking through the book in order?  Are you interested in joining up with Mellow Bakers group baking and going in the order that they present?  What's the vote here?  Start a new TFL team or join the MB team?


 


Thanks,


Brian


 

Zeb's picture
Zeb

I would be very excited to join in too. :)  Do we need to have our own blog? Maybe at some point we can try and work out the nearest equivalences of english and american flours, I know they are different but so far I have had some good breads from following these wonderful formulae.


 


Zeb

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Not so complicated.


Flour Comparison

The following table compares the differences in Flour grinds and blends in different countries.

 http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/pages/flour#ixzz0jIdNNco1


 British/American Translations for Flour


http://www.ochef.com/883.htm

Zeb's picture
Zeb

Hi mrfrost! That's very helpful.  Thank you so much for those links. I will bookmark them for reference.


 


The ones I have particular problems with are high gluten and high extraction flour.  AP flour isn't the same as our plain flour but it is close enough. We also don't have anything like your white wholewheat flour, I know because I have bought a bag of KA white wholewheat flour here from an american store in Bath and it is not the same as any of our flours. At the end of the day I use what I can get hold of and try to be creative!  When you start out baking though from a book written with specific flour recommendations, especially recipes you haven't done before, it's nice to have the reassurance of knowing that you have flour as close to the author's intention as possible

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Pretty much the same here. High gluten flour is really not widely available for direct purchase here, except by mail/internet order. Same for high extraction, etc. White whole wheat, while it is becoming more popular, I would still guess the average American still has not heard of it, or knows precisely what it is.


Every place has advantages, challenges.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I think people should do whatever they like ...blog together with someone else, or have your own.  For those unfamiliar with the blog process, we can certainly help coach some of that as well.


Brian


 

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

I am interested for sure, even though it is an intimidating prospect. I have a similar hesitancy, though, about the decorative pieces as Tracy.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

That's the magic number in Bread.  Plus four decorative doughs.


I personally would need two years to bake all 85 - and even that would be pushing it.


Going into contemplation mode...


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I've been paging through the book this morning and I think I'm more interested in a concentrated study of specific chapters. Bread is such a great book I almost think it trivial to mash you way through from end to end. I would personally get more out of studying the section on prefermented dough for example. As Mr. Hamelman said, "It's all about the bread".


 


Eric

judiandjeff's picture
judiandjeff

A poster is interested in a concentrated study of specific chapters. i think baking thru the book in order would accomplish this. Hamelman starts with 20 "Breads Made With Yeasted Pre-Ferments", then goes thru levain breads, sourdough rye etc. 20 yeasted pre-ferment breads sounds pretty concentrated to me. I'm in, Brian


Jeff

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I like Eric's idea. Since Bread is set up sort of like a text book we could use it as a study guide and concentrate on certain chapters.


That way we have a goal other than just flogging through breads, some of which we may not really want to bake. We can discuss learing points of the chapters and formulas.


Good idea Eric!

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

...Is the magic number.  I'll shoot for having something up and running by Monday.  If it turns out that I don't hit that deadline, then I'll update all of you here.


 


As far as the sheer number of formulae in the book goes, I don't think anybody's in a hurry, right?  I've been wanting to do this for some time, even if it takes awhile.  I'm in the same boat as others on the decorative breads too, but I'll wait until I get there to decide if I'll do them.


 


Brian


PS: Eric ...I see no particular need to be regimented around here.  Got enough of that at work!  I'm hoping that most will choose to bake starting from the front of their book and working through it in order, I also have no problems with somebody jumping in/out on the deal, doing only certain chapters, etcetera.  We'll have to come up with some kind of award for those that do make it all the way through tho'.... it's a big challange.


 

AW's picture
AW

It might be nice to start with straight dough. I'd love to play with all of you!

chouette22's picture
chouette22

So I'll be on the lookout for your updates.

shoey's picture
shoey

I'm interested as well!


 

ap269's picture
ap269

I'm part of the Mellow Bakers and we just baked our first bread - hot cross buns. We'll be baking approximately 2 breads per month from the Hamelman book - the exact way on which bread to choose is still discussed. Come on join us and help set up the guidelines.



 

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

For me, one of the reasons that I wanted to go in order through the book is that Jeffrey has laid things out in a logical format that builds knowledge and skills in the order that he thinks is important ...this being great conjecture on my part, but it appears to be that way to me.  I'm sort of a systematic kind of person anyway, and tend to approach tasks sequentially ...probably some kind of handicap, dunno.


One of the reasons that I wanted to do a Bread Challenge web site, besides having fun with others of like mind, is that I think it'd be fun to grow the site into something along the lines of the BBA challenge pages at pinchmysalt.com.  In fact, I've already got the first rendition about 90% done.  I didn't quite make my 28-Mar deadline that I set for myself, but it'll go online tonight (29th) instead.


NOTE: I don't really want to work in a vacuum on this, noting that I'm no literary or creative genious, so feedback is something that I'm definitely looking for ...whether for rules (there really aren't any), web site content ...whether wording or "add this" or "remove this" kind of info, and what people think about the blogs/web sites and how we can make it easy for everybody to share their journey with the rest of us.  I can easily add a forum, like my boat builder's forum at http://www.glacierboats.com/forum, if people would like that although I think it'd be a bit better to use a site like TFL for more exposure.  But like I said, I'll have the first (draft) site set up by tonight ...really, it's nearly ready right now, but I'm an engineer and I believe in testing before releasing!  I look forward to hearing from everyone.


Finally ...I'm wondering what the route forward ought to be.  Mellow Bakers appears to be focused just on 'Bread', but at least my first glance gave me the impression that they'd be just picking out certain recipes to bake, not necessarily the full challenge of baking everything in the book.  Paul?  Maybe you can help us out here and talk about this a bit.  I did see your notes about some recipes are given in a few different 'flavors', e.g. Vermont Sourdough, the one with more wheat in it, etcetera, and that it makes sense for someone 'on the journey' to call that recipe "done" when they have baked just one of the related options.  I'm on board with that.  But anyway... I'll pop my web site up tonight, let people take a look, then maybe meet back here to see if we have a quorum for continuing with mine, or just Mellow Bakers, or both?  I'm willing to take any route forward...


Brian


 

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

Hey Brian,


We've been having a fair bit of discussion over at MellowBakers.com about the direction we wanted to go and we seem to have honed in on the following:


 



  • We're definitely doing the entire Hamelman book of 84 recipes

  • We have chosen to specifically NOT do the book "in order".

  • Random picking of 2 or 3 recipes each month (exact number still being decided as it will mean either a 3.5 or 2 year project)

  • Members can do 1, 2 or all 3 monthly recipes as their schedule and life allows (that's the Mellow part) 

  • Deciding which recipes are "variations" to be done as one bread and which are stand alone

  • Making sure each monthly recipe is from a different section (i.e. not 3 ryes or 2 sourdoughs)

  • Possibly including occasional "online" recipes as comparatives to the Hamelman breads AND to entice people without the book to get in on the fun.


These points are not totally finalized, we're still, as a group, ironing out some details but we're getting there. One way or another, we'll get some breads lined up for April and if needed keep fine tuning over the next few weeks. The Hot Cross Buns made a nice trial run and seemed to work out well.


On the "Blogs or Forum?" question, we're running with "Both". If you don't have a blog, you can post your bread reviews and photos in your own thread under that bread or, if you blog your baking, just do a quick recap, maybe link a pic or two and point to your blog space.


And that, in a quick recap, is where we are, in good enough shape to start group baking for real come this weekend for what will in effect be our Official Launch.


 


Paul


http://MellowBakers.com


 



 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It's gotta be easy to follow. I'm a little slow with the computer savy so it can't be too complicated. 


I was thinking that just as each of us has a blog, we could set up a blog for the book, that way each recipe has a forum page and we could add under it.  The table of contents would be the "favorites" for quick paging. 


Mini

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Mini,


  Blogs are not required, but there are free blog hosting sites that really DO make it very easy.  Certainly easier than building your own web site.  For example, at http://www.weebly.com, you can sign up for their free package and then use entirely drag-n-drop to build your blog.  For example, drag a text box into the blog area and type in it.  Drag an image block into your blog and browse to upload a picture into it.  They also have something like 70+ nice looking themes to pick from that you just scroll through and click on in order to give your site your own special look.  I would recommend that for starters, you should go to weebly.com and sign up and give it a trial run ...great starting point.  And there are others that you can look at and decide amongst if you like.  I haven't tried them all, but you've got it pretty good nowadays.  The blogs page at the website will (actually already does) have a list of free blog sites at the bottom as well as a link to a page that lists over 40 to pick from.  I'll have the 'initial' site online later this evening ...and it can start being used right away, but then again, it's totally up to the users when it comes to what they'd like to see there (including re-writing things, rules or the lack thereof, what's liked/disliked etc ...think "Baker's club" for that web site, not "Brian's web site" ...I don't want to work in a vacuum.)


Brian


 

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I hate to be stuck in a battle for popularity or directions and am entirely happy to go with the Mellow Baker's route or to allow the web site that I set up take off and get going.  I'm officially launching The Bread Challenge as of tonight... Here's the URL:


http://www.glacierboats.com/the-bread-challenge/


Please do post in THIS THREAD how you'd prefer to proceed ...Mellow Bakers or The Bread Challenge web site (above).  If nobody votes, then I guess both sites proceed as planned.


Thanks,


Brian


 

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

It looks great, Brian!


Can't wait to start!


C(hristina)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was clicking around over on Mellow Bakers and see a few familiar breadies.  As the choice of how many recipes and from which catagories they come from is still being discussed, I've noticed a few things and make a suggestion,  how about a little of both?



  • What if the first recipe choice went in order of the book, being chosen and following the "order" of a learning thread.

  • The second being random but in a different catagory

  • The 3rd choice could be same book-another catagory, the next month from the web, the next month from another recipe by Hamelman, then the cycle repeats.


What do you think?


The site is already set up.  It's been going on one recipe already, which is easy to step into and the site is not hectic but mellow.  One can follow the learning thread and still have plenty of opportunities to jump around.


Mini

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

The only reason I am not jumping onto the Mellow Baker challenge is because they are doing hot cross buns right now, and I already did mine using a Dan Lepard formula, don't really want to make another batch of those buns, however delicious they are. I may still get on board if the next bread is something I am interested in.


 


Depending how Eric sets things up, I would love to bake along. However if we are doing breads in order, one by one, I can see us getting fatigued eating/making similar breads several weeks in a row. That was a problem with BBA. I made quite a few breads from the high percentage rye chapter in "Bread", but can't imagine making them 9 weeks in a row, my husband would protest!:P I don't know what's the best answer, but definitely interested.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi


I've e-mailed Eric on this.   I'd like to be part of this; seems like a great idea


Thanks


Andy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It wouldn't be long before the recipe list is riddled with "already used" second/third selection recipes so hopefully by the time one stumbles into the rye section, half the recipes have been done already.  That means the first selection recipe will jump over the already done recipes going thru the chapters faster as it jumps to avoid repeating recipes. Theoretically, we would only make it 3/4 way thru baking straight thru.  Anyway there are more choices each month (and not by the week) to complement with what ever other bread you may be baking.  The idea to get a little variety in the choices but still have a progression.


Mini 

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Mini- I detect a brilliant streak in you ;p!


I think your idea is great, even though I seem to be confused as to whether you are suggesting to tag along with MB (I think you are siggesting going with MB?) or do the whole shebang on a seperate site. I guess in the end it doesn't matter...............I do like your three-tierd idea, though.


C

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I've thought about the fatigue factor too ...just plowing through the book may be a bit fatiguing if we make too many of the same type of bread in a row... Going in order, but mixing it up a little as others have mentioned, might be the best thing to do.


I think a recipe list from the book might a good idea so people can check recipes off as they are completed and then won't feel the need to go in order.  And I think that when 2 or 3 breads in a row are really just a minor variation of each other, that a "Pick one from the following group" would count for the whole group as well ...unless someone wanted to do them all (certainly OK).  I also think that breads that are in Chapter 10, Decorative Breads and Products, should be entirely optional.


Brian


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

It's quite elegant and clear.  Nicely done.


Will explore more after work, but just wanted to commend you on the setup.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Thanks, and I'm sure the site will be in a state of flux at first, especially as the ideas or guidelines get hardened up.  Hmmm... I wonder if anyone other than me has joined up yet?  I'll go check my email... Yup, got our first joiner, Andy Smith!  That makes 2 of us!


Brian


 

chouette22's picture
chouette22

...compliment you on setting up such a beautiful, elegant and clean site for this challenge. Very well done!


I haven't joined yet because I am waiting to see if we'll join the Mellow Bakers or go ahead with our own baking marathon.