The last time I wrote about The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge (the seemingly never-ending quest to bake all 43 recipes, in order, from Peter Reinhart's most excellent The Bread Baker's Apprentice), it was May 14, 2011, and I was proclaiming the superior toast qualities of Reinhart's exuberantly-named multigrain bread extraordinaire.
A lot has changed since then.
On May 14, 2011, Australian singer Danii Minogue resigned as a judge on The X Factor. I mean, it's been almost two whole years since Dannii Minogue was a judge on The X Factor! Lady Gaga was a week away from releasing Born This Way. Captain Jack Sparrow was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, in an issue that also included a preview of fall television pilots (Charlie's Angels, something called Good Christian Bitches). (Clearly, a Google search of the big arts and cultural news of May 2011 turns up, well, results that are anything but compelling.)
A review of my Facebook timeline from May 2011 shows that at that time I was busy drinking beers, taking care of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, visiting zoos with a small child, watching Roxette videos on YouTube, and discussing the Lisa Marie Presley cover of "Dirty Laundry" with anyone who would listen.
Eh, maybe that much hasn't changed.
So, it's been awhile since I've checked in with The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge. It's also been awhile since I've checked in with Reinhart, for that matter, though I do make his light wheat bread relatively frequently. Though the months and years have escaped me, I have always wanted to finish the challenge. It's been nagging at me, a yeasty voice calling out of the dark recesses of my pantry's flour bin, beckoning me to finish what I started. Truth be told: I did bake a few more of the breads before my excessively long hiatus, but I never wrote about them. One of those breads was the pain à
l'Ancienne. I didn't mean not to share it...
...but then I found myself up against the recipes in the book that utilize a wild yeast starter, which I did attempt. But my wild yeast starter failed spectacularly. I researched a few additional methods for getting such a starter going, but before I could get around to it...well, here I am. Older. Wiser. Wider. The mother of two children, not just one. And still wild yeast-less.
I now vow to restart the challenge. Even if all of the other original bloggers who originally picked up the challenge back in May 2009 either finished long ago or similarly gave up, shipwrecked on the rocky shore of a failed wild yeast starter, well, I persevere.
I am going to finish this, and I am going to eat some more awesome bread while doing so.
The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge asks that we do not share Peter Reinhart's recipes. Do you have the book? You really should; I'm just saying. The pain à
l'Ancienne recipe begins on page 191.
Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:
One year ago: tomato-water spaghetti
Two years ago: writing about delicious Polish food over at the Why CLE? blog
Three years ago: quinoa with caramelized onions
Four years ago: fregula Sarda with roasted zucchini, ricotta salata, and olives
Five years ago: pasta e ceci alla Romana