This is Peter Reinhart's chunky, beautiful bread-baking tome, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. How cute is the girl on the cover? I love that she is hugging a massive round of crusty bread. I want to do that every time I smell freshly baked bread. Everyone knows that I am a chocoholic, that I have an insatiable sweet tooth. But what you may not know is that, at the end of the day, I would choose bread every time. If I was stranded on a deserted island and had my choice of one type of food to eat for the rest of my life (what? that doesn't happen?), it would be a good crusty sourdough and a nice sharp cheese. I adore bread. I crave it. I devour it.
However, I can't bake bread. Oh I've tried a few times here and there - some successes, many, many more failures. The problem is that I have no idea what I'm doing. I usually mush together all the ingredients, cross my fingers and hope for the best. I have no idea how to knead. Yeasted dough seems to freeze up into a shrunken, lumpy, pock-marked, intractable mass at the mere touch of my fingertips. I don't know a poolish from a biga, a banneton from a couche.
Twitterverse to the rescue. Nicole, of Pinch My Salt fame, decided to bake her way through all of the recipes in the Bread Baker's Apprentice and twittered last week to see if any one else was interested in joining her. Thus the Bread Baker's Apprentice (BBA) Challenge was born! When, in a rare moment of ambition and industry, I decided to join the challenge, the group consisted of about sixteen would-be apprentices. We would make our way through the book on a very loose schedule and share our successes and mishaps via blog posts, photography, and twitter. Now the group has grown to over a hundred people from all over the world, with all different levels of baking experience. Perhaps I have bitten off more than I can chew - what with the full time scientist jobby-job and the even fuller time mommy gig and the upcoming relocation across the country? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, visit the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge page to view the impressive blogroll and visit our Flickr group to see all of the photographic bread love.