I can’t believe it’s been over 2 months since my last BBA post! Of course I have excuses – my wrist & coarse ground rye flour.

My left wrist started bothering me a few months back and since I spend my days changing diapers and playing monster trucks, dough kneading is the only thing I could come up with. It has improved since I stopped making so much bread so I guess I’m going to space out my bread making from now on. Should also help this baby weight situation.

And coarse rye. No one sells coarse rye. I thought I might have to grind my own like Kelly did but I couldn’t even find rye flakes! I eventually ordered some from Bob’s Red Mill which btw, you might think is cheaper than King Arthur when you peruse the website but let me tell you, they make up for it in shipping.

So that’s why it’s been a couple months. I think I was kind of dreading the pumpernickel as well. I’ve found that I’m just not a big fan of rye breads (and I actually skipped 2 of them to get to pumpernickel. Don’t worry, I’m going back to them before I move on).

It was an easy bread. One of the easiest in the books, I think. Apparently, rye dough gets gummy if you knead too much so there was only about 5 minutes of kneading. Not bad at all!

I found there wasn’t enough dough for loaves. The recipe says it makes 2 loaves but when I divided to dough it barely filled out the bottom of the pans. I let it rise for awhile and then realized that there was no way it was going to make it to the top of the pans. I pulled them out, stretched, and called ‘em baguettes.

To get the dark color of pumpernickel, you have to use caramel coloring, coffee, or cocoa powder. I used cocoa powder because it’s what I had and I think there was probably a little too much cocoa because the chocolate taste was definitely there. I don’t think I would have noticed if someone else had made the bread but, you know, I put it in there so it was very obvious to me.

Will I make it again? No, probably not but it wasn’t as awful as I had expected. To me, it tasted just like every other rye bread but with that chocolate undertone I mentioned.

If you want to make some pumpernickel, check out The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Also, visit the BBA blogroll to see how all the other bakers are doing.

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I’ve been putting this BBA bread off for awhile just because the picture in the book bored me. From the picture you can’t tell that it’s baked as boules or that you get to mark it with a pretty design. Now if the picture had shown me that instead of boring looking slices next to some grapes, I probably would’ve gotten to this one a lot sooner.

Like most breads in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, it wasn’t difficult but it did take 2 days. Day 1 was mixing up a biga and after fermenting for a couple hours, it’s refrigerated overnight. Day 2 involved a little mixing, a little folding, and a whole lot of waiting.

This bread isn’t kneaded at all. It’s stirred vigorously and, like I mentioned, folded a few times. The only issue I had with that is that when I went to shape them into boules I degassed them way too much which gave me a fairly tight crumb instead of big, beautiful holes.

Right after these came out of the oven (and I sliced into one to make sure it was edible), I took a loaf over to my grandparents house because I know my grandfather is a huge fan of bread. He told me that the bread was terrible as he sliced his second piece. ;)

When the loaves first came out of the oven the crust was very crispy and delicious but overnight it definitely softened up and is more chewy than crispy. The book mentioned this would happen but I’m still a little disappointed.

The Pugliese is on page 222 in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and is definitely worth checking out. Make sure you visit the BBA blogroll to see how the other bakers are doing.

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I’m not really a lucky person. I’m kind of like Lindsay Lohan in Just My Luck after she kisses the boy. What? I’m the only loser who’s seen every Lohan movie? Okie dokie…

Anyway.

I won a giveaway! Me! The girl who not long ago slammed her thumb in her Camaro door and then had to spend 3 minutes digging through her purse to find her keys and then another 2 minutes trying to get the key to go in the keyhole, all with a baby strapped to her chest. That one right there pretty much sums up my luck. So yeah, I know you’re dying to know what I won. It was a $50 giftcard to Bake It Pretty thanks to The Sweetest Kitchen. $50! Of cupcake goodness! It was one of my more exciting moments of 2010.

I tell you this because I got those cute Panettone wrappers thanks to that giftcard. I was not excited at all about making Panettone (which is the next bread on my BBA list) but as soon as I saw these wrappers I couldn’t wait.

The bread was, as expected, not my favorite. I don’t believe dried fruit and nuts have any place in yeast bread. Ever. It’s just a no. That said, I only used raisins (not golden) because that’s all I had. I also left out the liquor because we don’t keep that either. I did, by the luck of the Irish (get it?! Because it’s Saint Patrick’s day! I kill myself.), have slivered almonds.

The bread was more difficult than the others only because it requires a barm which is the sourdough starter that is in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Lucky me, I happened to start my sourdough starter a few weeks ago.


I halved the recipe and still got 6 loaves that looked like oversized biscuits. They were so pretty, they baked up perfectly. Like I said though, we weren’t really fans. There was just a tiny bit of butter in the dough but it still had a brioche feel to it. It was pretty bland and not something I’d make again. It was fun though and I’m glad I had the cute wrappers!

Interested in giving it a try? Open your copy of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice to page 202. And check out the BBA blogroll to see what the other baker’s thought of the Panettone.

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It seems like I’ve been having really good luck with the BBA breads lately so it was only a matter of time before I ran into another dud. Yup, that beautiful loaf of bread was nothing but a waste of my beloved sesame seeds.

It was a simple bread although it took 3 days. Day 1 was mixing the pre-ferment and allowing that to rise before letting it sit overnight in the fridge. Day 2 was mixing the actual bread, shaping it, and then letting the bread hang out in the fridge overnight. Day 3 was baking.

Not a lot of work but a lot of time.

I prepared my oven as I have for the past couple breads (hearth baking) but this bread didn’t have quite the spring that the others had. The crumb was very tight and it was just a very dense bread.

If you’re interested in trying to bread, check out The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The formula is on page 198. And be sure you visit the BBA blogroll to check on the other bakers!

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I cheated on this bread. Just wanted to get that out there.

The next bread on my list was the Pain de Campagne which is similar to French bread but has a teeny bit of whole wheat (or rye) flour in it. It requires a pre-ferment and needs hearth baking to get the best results.

I was having a bad day week month when I made this bread and I really just wanted to make some bread to take my mind off everything. I started this one and a sourdough thinking at least one would be done that day (because I always fail to read ahead) but no luck, they both were 2 day’ers.

So I turned this one into a 1 day bread. I let the pre-ferment sit as long as I could but you could definitely tell a difference in flavor from this one and one that has been allowed to sit overnight in the fridge. I was also pretty horribly at shaping and slashing these.

You can laugh at that one. I know I did.

I think I want to try this one again when I’m not so impatient because it’s supposed to be a really good bread.

If you’re interested in making the bread as the book instructs you too, go check out the The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It’s on page 195. Make sure you visit the BBA blogroll to see how the other bakers are doing.

One year ago: Italian Mac & Cheese

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