The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Bread Challenge is officially launched

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

The Bread Challenge is officially launched

Hi,


  As noted in a related thread, The Bread Challenge is officially launched.  The Bread Challenge is similar to the Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge, only we will be baking our way through Jeffrey Hamelman's book, Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes.  If you are interested in joining us on this journey or would just like to check it out, you can find out more information at http://www.glacierboats.com/the-bread-challenge


  It is important to note that a similar effort, http://www.mellowbakers.com, is also starting ...nearly simultaneously.  I think that if someone wants to participate in both efforts, that that would be fine.  As far as I can see, other than the different content at the web sites, the biggest difference comes down how you go about baking your way through the book:


Mellow Bakers


- It appears to me, noting that it's not my site and I may accidentally get the information wrong, that recipes are selected on a month by month basis with the intent that the participants bake those recipes more or less in unison ...I think.  Again, I have not read every single post in their forum.


- The primary user interface is a forum with several boards within it.  A rich and informative style.


- People join up by registering at the forum and then participating, no need to play "catch up" if I recall


 


The Bread Challenge


- People join by filling out a very short form which may or may not include information about their blog or web site where progress and baking processes are illustrated by the baker


- (Soon) there will be a recipe list from Jeffrey's text, recipes grouped by type.  "By type" means that if there is more than one variation of a recipe, e.g. Vermont Sourdough with a bit of rye in it versus Vermont Sourdough with whole wheat instead, then those recipes for a group.  To avoid fatigue in baking the same type of bread several times throughout the book, those taking The Challenge just need to pick one from each group.  Note that the decorative breads in Chapter 10 are optional.


- While some may bake from the front of the book to the last, it's important to note that you may bake in any order that you like.  You can join up and then choose to only bake breads from a particular chapter rather than taking the whole challenge.


- You pick which breads you bake each week or month


- A blog (or web site) is recommended so we can all share in your process(es) and results, but a blog (or web site) is not required in order to be on the journey.  I'll be producing instructions/tutorials for how to start a blog here at TFL and at the most popular free blogging sites.  There is already a list of free blogging sites posted, along with pros/cons for each, suitability for first-timers etcetera.


- A forum is coming, as is a world map where you can place stickpins to indicate your location in the world


 


I think that about covers it.  Stop by and take a look!  Join with us if you like (we have 6 or 7 on the team already).  Take a look at the Mellow Bakers as well, joining one or the other or both.  But most of all, let's just go have some fun together and share the fruits of our labor as we bake through Hamelman's book!


 


Thanks,


Brian


 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

1. My blog is in Chinese (have one here too, but the main one I keep everything and has a lot of traffic is hosted on a Chinese server). Since my readers are Chinese, and most of them don't have access to the book - not available in Chinese, English version not sold in China, due to the "great firewall" of China, they can't browse a lot of foreign websites - I do post Chinese translation of the recipes whenever I post a bread. Some are from books, some are created by me. I always cite the source and emphasize taht it's worthwhile to buy the book if possible. With BBA challenge I did post recipes, but I got permission from the author himself (by email and in person when I attended his lecture). In fact a lot of my readers got hooked and bought the book in US then paid enormous amount of money to have the book shipped to China. I saw that yoru specifically say not to post recipes, does that mean I can't join? I totally understand your reasons, it's just that my situation is a bit unique. BTW, a year ago, I was baking a lot from the Artisan Breads In Five minutes, and posted about 10 recipes on my blog. A lot of people are interested, now a Chinese publisher has bought the right and asked me to be the official translator! So I'd like to think by posting recipes from these good baking books, I am helping the cause rather than hurting it. Note that I have a lot of pictures on my blog, so hopefully English speakers can understand it without reading the Chinese text. :)


 


2. I have already baked over 10 breads from "Breads", can I post those? Or do I have to redo them?

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

1. As for posting recipes ...it's all the usual copyright stuff.  I will adjust my statement to say something like "follow the policies of your blogging or web site host" or maybe nothing at all.  Most hosts state specifically not to post copyright material unless you have the permission of the owner.  I will not be policing anybody's content, so maybe I shouldn't state rules about content, eh?  Thanks.


2. I prefer as few rules as possible... If you've already baked recipes from Bread, I'd say to count them.  I'd personally love it best if you could post them in your blog, e.g. if you have photos of any kind, along with any comments you'd like to make about the recipes, techniques, results and what not.


 


Brian


 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Oh, there's nothing wrong for you to specify about the copyright stuff, I personally think it's important to always respect the recipe authors, that's why I want to clarify with you first. :)

LindyD's picture
LindyD


 I will adjust my statement to say something like "follow the policies of your blogging or web site host" or maybe nothing at all. 



If you're going to adjust it, Brian, I hope you  make it clear that recipes should not be posted unless the poster has received the permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, to do so.   There's a big, fat paragraph about copyright just before the dedication.


Legalities aside, I think it is a disservice to any author to disseminate his/her work over the Internet without obtaining permission to do so. Admittedly, I've been careless about that and have done it a couple of times, to my regret.


Authors people put a lot of time and effort into their books and expect to be paid for their efforts.  In the case of bread books, publishing a baker's formulas and techniques over the Internet means loss of royalty income to the baker.  After all, if it's free on the Internet, why buy the book?


All that said, I do appreciate the freedom allowed in your Bread challenge.  There are some recipes I have no interest in baking (or eating) and I especially like no set schedule or lists of breads that are to be baked within a certain period of time.   A nice, laid back approach.  Thanks for setting it up.


Now, to figure out that blogging stuff....

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

...And that was my intent when I typed up the first statement.  I respect copyrights and the blogging sites insist on it.  It's easy to ask for permission.  I've got a wine goblet image that I'm about to use on the web site and I just got permission back from the company that owns the image that said I can use it as I wish ...but I'll return the favor and make it a link-back in both text (a tiny footer on the page) and on the image.  Helps with search engine optimization both ways too.


Brian


 

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Hi Brian


I get a 404 message when I click on your glacier boats/bread challenge link


Cheers, Robyn

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

...Try again.  As someone else pointed out, there was a period "." appended to the end of the link.  Since the link was at the end of the sentence, the forums software included the "." when it automatically converted it into a link.  I removed the "." and it appears to work now.


Thanks


Brian

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Brian,


I joined the Bread bake-o-rama today. I don't know how much dedicated effort I will be able to deliver but I have baked many of the breads already and have great respect for Jeff Hamelman and the recipes in the book. I consider Bread to be the best artisan bread book available for many reasons.Not for the recipe's but, for the methods.


Participating in this challenge will encourage me to do my best work for the post. Where as I sometimes post not so great results as a learning tool for folks who like to see what others are struggling with.


People reading this who don't own the book and don't plan to participate, I suggest buying the book and follow along, asking questions when needed. Reading the side bars and sub sections on the basic compartments inside of the process will make you a good baker. Jeff Hamelman is a guy you would like to have over for a cup of coffee and conversation. It comes out in his writing that he is dedicated to the breads he makes.


So yes Brian, I'm in. Thanks for your efforts to make us all better bakers.


Eric

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Glad to have you, thanks!  I agree with your thoughts about Jeffrey and his book...


 


Brian


PS: I'll get you linked in tonight... Did you start a blog yet?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks Brian,


The only blog I keep active is here. I think I'll leave it that way. There are plenty of TFL members who will want to see the progress of this activity I suspect.


Eric

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Eric,


  Got it.  I set up your link at The Bread Challenge at lunch today... Glad to see you on board.


Brian


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Brian, is my email address hidden or is it open to every viewer? (don't want unwanted junk mail)  You may laugh, but it has already gotten complicated for me.  


(You might want to correct Eric's name above...)


Eric, Brian, how does that work?  You put a separate post in your blog for every loaf? 


Mini

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

The only thing exposed to others is the link to your blog or web site ...nothing else.


 


Explanation:    The Bread Challenge web site doesn't maintain any user profiles. The feedback and join forms merely send me (alone) an email message to let me know someone provided feedback or joined the challenge and that's where the buck stops.  I move messages into a 'Members' folder on my mail server and leave them there.  I don't expect to ever send email to anyone once things are set up, including group emails.  Announcements can be made at the web site and I need to make sure an RSS feed is set up as well so those who want to, can subscribe and get notified when content changes.


Brian


PS: Don't ask me how I managed to type "Erig" instead of "Eric" ...I somehow fat-fingered that one.  At least it's correct a the Bread Challenge web site... :)


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

That's what I have been doing here. It isn't very clear that it is a blog with any order. If you search on my user name, the 4th item is the top level entry of my Blog Posts.


Brian, what do I need to do to have the post show up on your site? Never mind I just figured out what you are doing.


Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Brian,


The problem with linking to the TFL blog is that all my breads are included. We will all have to be careful to title the Bread Posts the way they are listed in the book.


Eric

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Brian,  Start a new member here at TFL. call him Bread, Hamelman Challenge.  Then as recipes comments drift into the site you have set up, make a blog entry page here (using the recipe name or groups of names or Chapter name if no recipes are involved)  where comments can be added by members or you can add comments and links to non-members blogs like we do here all the time and you could link TFL members to this TFL blog automatically.  That way not all our individual blog entries have to be searched thru.  


Just say I do the first recipe.  I write it up in my blog.  I find the Bread, Hamelman Challenge Blog and write a comment under the appropriate blog entry page, say Baguettes with Poolish pg 101.  Maybe I type... Eureka it is possible!  and then post a picture and a sentence or two linking the reader to my blog where more details can be found or I just stick in my flop picture and write "Drat" and a plea for help (the more likely possibility.)     ((I haven't signed in yet at the glacier boats site so I don't know how the dialog stuff works.  I'm going there now. :))


You started the blog so you can also go each blog entry title and click on the "add to favorites" creating an index for the blog for speed paging. (Beats going page for page thru the blog if needed.)


Anyway these are just a few thoughts.  Is it possible, probable, too much work?  Should I do it?


Mini

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I think the hardest nut to crack, and one that someone has asked me about privately, is how to keep track of everyone's progress.  If everyone used a blog that had an RSS feed attached to it, e.g. some of the free blogging sites but not TFL blogs as I understand it, then I could use a feed aggregator to collect up all recent blog entries into a single list.  I also want to look into forums that may allow 'blog type' posting, the chief difference being that blog entries appear to be all on one page and are listed newest to oldest rather than the other way around in normal forum threads.


Hmmmm... give me this evening to look into things and see what solutions I can come up with.


Brian

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

OK ...Spent all night looking into using RSS so we could a) publish our blogs and b) aggregate them into a single web page so we could see the latest blog entries.  I found that ALL of the free blogging web sites that I looked at (Weebly, Blogger, WordPress) already publish an RSS feed for your blog if you form one there, AND The Fresh Loaf blogs are available through an RSS feed as well.  For the TFL feeds, you just add "/feed" to the end of the URL for the blog and you have it.


Yes, I can hear you now... You don't want to deal with the technical details, just the results, right?  The way to see everybody's latest blog entries in one location is as follows:


1) Use free reader software and import the list of blogs into it automatically (from an OPML file that I can make available at The Bread Challenge web site), or


2) I set up server-side RSS aggregation and publish to a simple web site that you go to and ...voila!  Everything is there for you.


Obviously, option #2 above is the best since it means the users (that's you) just click a link at The Bread Challenge and you see the latest from everybody's blogs ...and can click once more to actually go to their blog (although that would be unnecessary).  Before I can do this however, I need to set up the various options that are available for free and try them out before I unleash the stuff on you, the innocent public.  Stay tuned ...If all goes well, I'll make an announcement here about it.  If not, then I will make another announcement ...one that recommends a couple of free readers that you can use (online or a free package to install on your computer) and instructions on what to do to get started.


Brian


 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Ever blog here has an RSS feed.  If the blog URL is:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/blog/mcs


Then the feed URL is:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/blog/mcs/feed

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Yuppers ...I noodat!  Kewl!


Brian


 

Feelin Crumby's picture
Feelin Crumby

Hello All,


Looking forward to being a part of the challenge and seeing everyone's results. I'm finally set up with a digital camera, and will be able to return to posting to my blog . . . it's been awhile. Good Luck to everyone, and have fun!!


Feelin Crumby

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Hi All,


  Well, less than a week has passed and we now have 14 members.  At least two of them have baked their first recipe from Bread and have updated their blogs to show it: myself (Brian Dixon) and Mike Callihan.  There are some other really nice web sites and blogs being set up too ...stay tuned!


  The web site has also been updated in several ways, but most importantly, has received new how-to information on blogging (for the uninitiated) ...including 2 new tutorials on how to sign up for and create your blog.  It's easy to do here at TFL, and also at several other sites.  The tutorials cover Weebly and TFL.


  I have also created a new blog for The Bread Challenge ...not that we need a blog to keep track of updates, but I did take advantage of a handy feature of Weebly: I added a page there that includes RSS feed readers for all member RSS-enabled blogs so you can see updates to all the blogs in one location.  I will write a web service that will allow me to do it in my own web page, but that's going to have to be completed on a time-available basis.  For now, we have The Bread Challenge blog site for that.  It works fine for now since we don't yet have a cumbersome number of member bakers.


Enjoy!!


Brian


 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Brian,


Well I made both of his baguette recipes and posted these in the Lesaffre Cup post.   Also there is the Horst Bandel post going nicely: please take a look and leave comments.   See: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17254/horst-bandel039s-balck-pumpernickel


I have 2 that I've just finished and will be posting pretty soon, but I don't want to say much more than that now; that's a surprise!


Best wishes


Andy

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

You're cruising right along!  Good stuff!

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

You might want to tell your readers that section 4 of Hamelman's book  -  Bread Made with Yeasted Pre-Ferments - is available from the publisher on the 'net in it's entirety (free, of course) at this link...


http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/72/04711685/0471168572.pdf


The file can be saved on any computer.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I had no idea Chapter 4 was available for free... Since it's the first chapter with recipes in it, it'll let some get started on the cheap.  I'll add a link to it on The Bread Challenge web site.


UPDATE: I've added an RSS feed aggregator of sorts for the Bread Challenge as well.  The URL is http://thebreadchallenge.weebly.com


 


Brian