Remember a while back when I mentioned joining theย  Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge? Well, I finally baked my first loaf! I have literally never made a loaf of bread before (well, besides banana bread) and after seeing lots of people’s pictures and discussions about what teeny, tiny mistakes they made, I was quite nervous that I’d end up with two pieces of plop (I guess it is normal that when you bake bread you end up with 2 loaves…surprise #1!). So, anyway, today I embarked upon my very first recipe (there are 43 total), which is called Anadama Bread. Similar to a white sandwich bread, but made with a cornmeal starter and molasses.

I started out last night mixing the corn meal and water in a bowl and letting that sit overnight. Then today I put that in the mixer and added the flour, yeast, and water, and gave it a whirl. I let it sit under a towel for a while to make a sponge (this bread was made using the indirect method, which means there are several periods of waiting for the dough to rise, but the sponge was my favorite part–it really looked alive!). Then I added the rest of the flour, molassses, butter, and salt, and mixed it up. Then it was time to put on the dough hook and let it whirl in the mixer! The dough was a lot wetter than I anticipated, so I added a good bit of flour…probably added close to 3/4-1 cup in the end. After 10 minutes in the KitchenAid on speed 2, I took out the dough and finished kneading it by hand. Probably could have gone a bit longer, but I was anxious to move on at that point! Put it in the greased bowl and let it rise. After punching it down in the middle, I took it out and divided it in half, then formed two loaves using Reinhart’s method. Then into the pans for the final rise, dusted with corn meal and into the oven! 40 minutes later I had two beautiful and fragrant loaves, if I do say so myself!

bread! 001

bread! 002

Quite pleased with my first run…am trying to be patient as I wait for it to cool so I can eat a slice-I’ll let you know how it is. If you want to join the BBA Challenge, just head on over to Amazon and pick up The Bread Baker’s Apprentice! There are 43 recipes so even if you’re starting late like me, you can catch up in no time. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!

Update: Actually you can find The Bread Baker’s Apprentice on Google Books as well…hooray! [Thanks Appoggiatura for the link!]

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16 Responses to “My first loaf of bread!”

  1. Nicole

    Your loaves look gorgeous (and definitely better than mine)!! So glad you’ve joined the challenge and so happy to see that you were so successful with your very first bread. Congratulations!

    Reply
    • jess

      Thanks Nicole! I’m really excited about the challenge as well–so pleased you started it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
    • jess

      Thanks Paula–it was! Crispy outside and sweet on the inside…I rather liked the dark molasses flavor after all!

      Reply
  2. Laurie Ashton Farook

    Your loaves are beautiful! No way to tell from them that this is your first time. Congratulations on no longer being a bread baking virgin! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  3. Susie

    Jess,
    Your loaves are PERFECT. Hard to believe that they are your first loaves.
    I’ve been a bread bakers for years and years and normally bake just one loaf at a time so baking more than one isn’t normal at least for me. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’ll be following your progress. You did great.
    Susie

    Reply
    • jess

      Thanks Susie! Everyone from the BBA group is too kind! Enjoying some toast and jam–then back to the real world, which for me is studying for finals hahaha :-\

      Reply
  4. Susie

    Jess,
    You will be doing the WHOLE book right? Maybe after finals are done you can get into the baking more.
    Good luck,
    Susie

    Reply
    • jess

      Yep, I’ll be doing the whole book. Finals are over on Thursday for me, so I will probably be able to do the next recipe this weekend. I’ll be traveling for a bit after that, but eventually I’ll get them all done!

      Reply
  5. Susie

    That’s great. I’m trying to get a head a little but not sure if it is working. LOL. I am going to be gone the whole month of Aug.
    Glad it is not a race. I may take 2 years. :o)
    Have fun,
    Susie

    Reply
    • jess

      Don’t worry; my luck was sorely misplaced during this past week for the cinnamon raisin bread…

      Reply

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