I joined a baking group, The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge created by Pinch My Salt. The group will attempt to bake all the recipes in Peter Reinhart's cookbook, from the first one to the last, arranged alphabetically. I have been a fan of Peter Reinhart after reading and baking several recipes from THE BREAD BAKER'S APPRENTICE and learned a ton from it. I recommend this book to anyone who is just starting to bake breads or has been baking and wants to learn some more. The recipes are easy to follow and there are a lot of pictures to guide the home baker. I love all the breads I made from this book and as a result I volunteered as a recipe tester for his new book Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday to be published in the fall of 2009. I had a lot of fun baking and eating all the different breads I baked (and still baking) as a recipe tester specially the croissants and I'm eagerly anticipating the issue of his book. While waiting for it to come out, the BBA Challenge will keep me occupied and happily baking for the next 40+ weeks. Thanks to Pinch My Salt for this brilliant idea.
The challenge starts off this week with Anadama Bread which is in almost all of my baking books but somehow I have never tried making it, I'm not sure why. It's a shame because this bread turns out flavorful, chewy, and has a crunchy bite that I like. The bread is good by itself, toasted or untoasted, or with butter. I do believe soaking the cornmeal makes a big difference in its taste and texture. I'm surprised that I like this bread because I am not a big fan of molasses. The taste of the molasses, I used a light colored one, is subtle and does not overpower the overall flavor of this pleasantly sweetish bread. And the aroma in my kitchen while the bread was baking was just wonderful.
I followed the recipe as written although I halved it because I thought no one in my house will like it. The dough performed exactly as the book says. When I saw that the bread was rising taller than expected I got worried it will have large air pockets but thankfully the bread came out fine. My only regret is I did not bake the full recipe. I wouldn't mind baking Anadama bread again.