The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I Can't Believe I Baked the Whole Thing

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

I Can't Believe I Baked the Whole Thing

I just finished baking the 43rd and final recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Like some of you, I took the "BBA Challenge" and baked my way through PR's amazing book in order, recipe by recipe.


Read about the final Challenge bread and see what I'll be up to next at Of Cabbages and King Cakes.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

That challenge was quite an undertaking but you slugged it out to the end. The obvious question after running his list of breads is; how has this project changed your impression of the author? Many of us have this book and use it as a resource for baker questions. Would you recommend it for up coming bakers?


I had the same trouble with the cheese and roasted onions getting over done when I baked this bread. The second batch, I barely roasted the onions and let them come to peak in the oven at which point as you suggested they got tented with foil.


 


Good job gaaarp!


Eric

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

I, too, had this book for quite some time before the Challenge. I used it as a resource and also baked quite a few recipes from it.


The Challenge deepened my appreciation for Peter. He is an excellent teacher as well as a top-notch baker. I obviously didn't like all of the recipes, but I appreciate the variety and different types of breads he included in the book.


Before the Challenge, when a new baker asked what book they should buy first, I always suggested BBA. Having baked all the recipes in the book affirms that a hundred fold for me.


Phyl

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I agree on the BBA being a great book to get your feel of baking a wide variety of breads. There might be better sources for a specific bread to suit your tastes but Peter is a very good baker with a clear writing style that I think many people can relate to. The BBA is a solid resource.


I have enjoyed following your challenge bakes, thanks for sharing your efforts with us.


Eric

KansasGirlStuckInMaryland's picture
KansasGirlStuck...

So, I have BBA and have baked a few things out of it, but the challenge of doing the whole seems like quite an idea.  I have seen others post here about doing, but have not considered doing the challenge until now.


So I have jyust a few questions.



  1. How long did it take you to complete the book?

  2. Did you bake other things during the challenge?

  3. Any specialized equipment needed?


I can't imagine not baking some of my regulars.  I generally have a supply of sweet potato rolls, English muffins and a loaf of sour dough available for my daily bread fix.


I haven't read all of the non-recipe section on BBA, but what I have read is wonderful and enjoyable.  I love the story about his discovery of Pain al'Ancienne.


Anne

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Most people baked at a pace of about one recipe per week. There are 43 recipes, so it would take, on average, about 43 weeks. It took me 9 months.


I continued to bake other breads during the Challenge. Some of my regulars, as you say. And some others I just wanted to bake. And there were some breads in the book I enjoyed so well that I baked them several times before moving on or went back to them a few times.


I didn't have to buy any additional equipment to do the Challenge. I did purchase a Kaiser roll stamp, but that was just for fun. The things I used all the time were my Silpats (parchment would have sufficed), bench scraper, standard loaf pans and baking sheets. And of course lots of flour.


If you are thinking about tackling the Challenge, I would encourage you to go for it. You will hone your techniques and discover some breads you otherwise might never have made. And don't feel pressured to bake at a certain pace or give up your other baking. Just bake your way through the book at your own pace. You'll be glad you did it.


Phyl