The Bread Bakers Apprentice

THIS has been an experience. Baking my way, along with several other friends, through Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice. That what I have been for the last 40+ breads, an apprentice. This apprenticeship began in August of 2009 when Nancy suggested we do a small goupr of BBA with just two breads a month rather than weekly. Weekly was just too much bread. I started with the Ciabatta bread, caught up, and last week Kayte and I, well, Kayte, finished the breads. The last two in the book are Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Torpedoes and Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche.

The Torpedoes are made with boiled unpeeled potatoes, slices of cheddar cheese (although I used shredded and it did fine!), and chopped fresh chives. The bread was so chewy, rustic, and delicious.

The tops of the loaves are slashed so that the cheese oozes out onto the tops of the bread. Fresh out of the oven it was wonderful. Grilled for a sandwich it was perfect. Definitely a repeat here.I am glad I made two to begin with. One is safely tucked away in the freezer.


The Miche was full of Asiago cheese both internally and sprinkled on top before baking. There was also sauteed onions on top {although they may look burnt, they are pleasingly caramelized!!}

This bread was AMAZING!! All the flavor of the cheese and the richness of the bread. It is a three day bread but worth all 72 hours. One day to make the sponge. One day prepare the dough and sautee (or roast) the onions and one day to bake the bread. Did I say how amazing it was?? I only made 1/2 of the recipe and it resulted in a large 11 inch diameter bread.


You should have been reading the tweets that were being passed back and forth between me, Kayte, and Rebecca. It was as if we were obsessed with bread. Well, of course, we ARE !! So much fun baking with others, even if we are thousands of miles apart!!!!

While Kayte has now finished all the breads in Reinhart’s book I still have 5 to go. Four of them are sourdough and one is the Artos: Greek Celebration Bread. I will get to them. Really, I will!!

If you get a chance visit at Grandma’s Kitchen Table and look at Kayte’s breads. And Rebecca made it with the original group.

Thanks for tagging along on my apprenticeship and thanks to all the other Slow and Steady Bakers for introducing me to such wonderful breads.


Whole Wheat bread is NOT something our family eats very often. I know it is better for you than white bread and I often add whole wheat flour to other things I bake – quick breads, etc. I actually like Whole Wheat bread but I am really the only one. Which is why when I made this last basic bread from Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice I only made enough dough for one small loaf.

Reinhart’s bread had a wonderful rustic texture and a nice nutty flavor. It was good toasted and plain. Nice bread.

I used my “Nancy Pan” which is long and narrow. It was actually a little long for just one dough recipe so I put a ‘stopper’ on one end.

That kinda-sorta worked but the bread did not rise much over the edge of the pan. But it is just fine for me and small sandwiches.

There are only two breads left in the BBA book. We should finish them by mid-March. So follow along with me, Kayte, and Nancy as we finish the breads.

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ALLEGEDLY Marie Antoinette is said to have retorted, “Well, let them eat cake {brioche}!” when told that the people of France could not afford bread. {Studies show she probably DID NOT say anything like this}. The Phrase Finder reminds us that the victors write history and the French people didn’t really care for Marie very much!!

Personally, I would rather eat BREAD!!!

Which is way I (and many many others) decided to bake my way through Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Well, that journery is almost done and over the last two weeks Nancy, Kayte, and I have made THREE variations of Reinhart’s white bread.

While all three of my breads LOOKED exactly alike – I made rolls with all three recipes – they all tasted differently.

Bread #1 uses powdered milk and water.

Bread #2 uses buttermilk (or whole milk).

Bread #3 uses whole milk and utilizes a sponge.

ALL three were very good white bread rolls. We used them for sandwiches, hamburgers, and plain with butter just out of the oven. But of the three the rolls made with BUTTER MILK (#2) were the best. They had a richer sweeter flavor than the other two. As I was putting MEP together I realized I had no bread flour. I took a chance (after talking to Kayte and used AP flour instead. It worked out beautifully. If you want to try the buttermilk version you can find the recipe on Brown-Eyed Baker’s blog

Version #1 with powdered milk and water is on bouillie written by Celeste.

I looked all over the net for Version #3 made with whole milk and a sponge and could not find it. The BBA group isn’t publishing the recipes. The recipes are on pages 265 – 269.>

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I am really enjoying making bread again. It is just relaxing to put it all together, knead it into a soft supple dough, and watch it rise into a beautiful loaf. And the fragrance in the kitchen is worth the hour or so wait for it to rise. There is nothing better or more comforting than the smell of fresh bread.

And this one was no different.

Reinhart says that while we spend a lot of time with Italian and French breads we tend to ignore the fact that most of the French breads came via the Austrian bakers who arrived in different parts of Europe . What makes the Vienna Bread different is the inclusion of certain enrichments in the breads of Austria. In this case, diastatic barle malt powder which causes the crust to brown faster.

Loaves or pistolets are suggested with this dough, but I chose to make rolls. 1/2 of the recipe gave me 6 lovely rolls. Perfect for sandwiches.

The rolls were a beautiful yellow with a slightly sweet taste. You need two days to complete the bread. One day to make the pâte fermentée and one for the actual bread baking.

Thse are in Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (page 261)

Kayte and I are finishing up the BBA challenge so check out her bread, too.

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Kayte and I are still working our way through Reinhart’s Bread Bakers Apprentice. Last week we made the Stollen. This week we made Limpa and Tuscan Bread.

    Swedish Rye aka Limpa

I like rye bread and this one is no exception. It is slightly sweet due to the molasses and brown sugar. The recipe calls for fennel, anise and cardamom as well as orange peel or oil {which I used}. I didn’t have any fennel, but the 1/2 tsp for one loaf didn’t really change the flavor.

The dough was not easy to work with. It is very firm and I kept thinking I had failed totally at this bread. But in the end, it came out just fine. Even the top slashes were good!!!The Limpa reminded me a lot of pumpernickel. But sweeter.


The other bread is this Tuscan Bread.

This was a beautiful simple bread to make. But it is different from other breads. And it is different for one reason. It contains NO salt. None!! Which means there wasn’t a lot of taste in the bread. According to Reinhart this makes it perfect for “…lavishing it with intensely flavored spreads and pastes, or eating it with flavorful dishes…”

I followed Reinhart’s suggestion and ‘lavished’ it with a Cajun Olive spread.

I also tried it with EVOO flavored with roasted garlic and other spices.

But now I have another idea for this bread – but that’s another post!! {and now you are curious!!}

The bread had a beautiful texture and with a tsp of salt it would be a perfect bread.

Check out Kayte’s Limpa and Tuscan Breads while you are browsing around.

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I would like to hug my friend, Kayte, for getting me back into bread baking. Especially for making me work on finishing The BBA Challenge. There were actually two groups working on The Challenge. One did a bread each week. We, Slow and Steady BBA, did one every other week. And the last one I did was The Basic SourDough (June 2011). It did not turn out very well, I was discuraged and simply quit making bread, completely. NOW I back in Bread Mode and ready to make more. And when Kayte said she was making Reinhart’s Stollen I knew I had to join in.

As I was writing this post I realized I had actually made this Stollen before (December 2010) as part of MKMW Germany but it was before I joined BBA. It didn’t hurt to make it again. And this time instead of a Batard I used the ‘blanket-in-the-manger’ method.

It was much prettier.

Shape into a rectangle.

Roll the rectangle flat in the center.

Fold the dough over onto itself and shape it into a cresent.

It made a beautiful package with some extra citrus zest and sliced almonds stuffed into the side.

It did ‘come undone’ some while baking but it was a lovely bread with a lovely sweet citrusy taste.

I may have put a wee bit too much powdered sugar on top. In the end, it was a delicious bread. Visit Kayte for her Stollen.

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When I hear that word I always think of San Francisco. I really don’t know why. It just seems to come to mind. San Francisco Sourdough!!

But now I have KOLIN SOURDOUGH!!

Sourdough bread is the next section of Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice. And I have been away from it way too long. So when Kayte said she was getting back into the bread mode and making the sourdough I knew I couldn’t let her go it alone.

I had to redo my starter. I thought it had ‘died’ but after ‘talking’ to Phyl I found out I could have saved it. Thanks for Sourdough 101, Phy. Next time I will know that…

    The greyish liquid floating on top of the starter is called “hooch”. It’s basically just dead yeast cells. When my starter has a little hooch on the top, I stir it back in before feeding the starter.

If I had known THAT!!!


I finally got around to making the first bread in the BBA Sourdough section –

    Basic Sourdough

It needed to be sour-er. I needed to let the starter develop more. The bread was a little ‘flat’ but not bad. It was good toasted.


The next bread in the section was the New York Deli Rye.

What makes this bread unique is the addition of chopped onions which are sweated until soft, cooled, and then added to the barm to help the flavors blend and develop before being mixed with the rest of the dough to bake. This is a two day bread.
And worth every minute/hour/day it takes to make. I only made 1/2 of the recipe which gave me a nice loaf. It rose nicely – unlike the last sourdough

– and then it sank in the middle….

but it was much better in flavor.

1/2 of the recipe gave me a nice 9 x 5 loaf of bread.

I liked it much better than the basic, but I think next time I will add less onions. They were rather overpowering. But then I have never had REAL New York Deli Rye, so I have nothing to compare it with. But I do know it will make corned beef sandwiches or any other kind for that matter. Except maybe, PB & J!!

Next on the list… 100% Sourdough Rye. Whew!

    “Pugliese refers to the southeastern Italian region of Apulia…, but the variations on loaves with this name is endless.”

Thus begins Reinharts introduction to another rustic bread. A delicious rustic bread that is usually baked in the round.

What, you say, yet another rustic bread. How many are there? Well, there are plenty and they are all different in one way or another. What makes this one different is the addition of durum flour. Or, if you don’t have durum, semolina. I had about 1/3 cup of semolina left so I included that. I made 1/2 recipe which gave me one small loaf.


Another different ingredient is mashed potatoes. Reinhart says they are optional, but they do help tenderize the bread. I dind’t have any left over mashed potato but I did have a left over baked potato. I cut it in half and mashed it up. Worked just fine.

This is a two day bread. One day for the biga and one day for the bread itself. Since I had some biga in the freezer this bread was a breeze to put together. It still took quite a while to make all in all the rise time is 6 – 7 hours with the triple kneading etc. But worth it. Good Bread!!

This is supposed to have BIG holes in it. Kayte made it this week and hers was perfect.

Even with small holes it was good. And it was really good for dipping.

But also good for sandwiches. Small paninis. Especially with Provolone. Also good tasted and rubbed with a little roasted garlic. mmmMMMMM!!!!

We aren’t publishing the recipes but you can find it on pages 222 – 225 of Reinhart’s Bread Bakers Apprentice.

NaBloPoMo Day 24.

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