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Aug 20, 2007 07:42 AM

Oops. I meant Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Any recommendations from this book?

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  1. Can't go wrong here. I enjoyed the cornbread that I made recently.

    1. I got my copy last week and I'm smitten.

      I have the starts of a sourdough civilization that is plotting to take over the world (but will settle on just the back-left corner of my fridge) going, my roomies comment on "what the hell is this sludge taking up all the room for" for the various poolish's and biga's sitting around in there.

      I have barely dented the thing. Too many good recipes, too many good thoughts, LOTS of good background reading. Though, if you are mixing by hand, be warned as there is no advice on that other than a few paragraphs about "all this stuff can be mixed by hand".

      So if you are a complete novice, some google-fu to find proper hand mixing/kneading techniques could be of help. I find that 'the bread bible' by Rose Levy Beranbaum (not the beth hespengers one), is a good accompaniment due to the hand kneading tips alone.

      1. I regularly make bagels with the recipe from this book as good ones are impossible to get out here in CA and this is as close as I can get to the real deal like in NY.

        The pizza recipes are interesting as they go against a lot of the common directions from other sources; I seem to make better pizza from other recipes.

        I'm anxious to try his focaccia but haven't had a chance to.

        Peter is very opinionated and particular but overall has been a lot of help to me in getting familiar with baking in general. I think it definitely is worth getting the book if that is your question

        3 Replies
        1. re: kevine

          I've tried the focaccia, not sure if it was this book or Crust and Crumb but it was something like a three day process. Excellent but I think this recipe of his is very good and takes only one day:


          1. re: chowser

            The focaccia recipe you link to is similar in technique but the list of ingredients differs slightly from the recipe given in Apprentice. Here are the Apprentice ingredients:

            Makes one 17 by 12-inch focaccia

            5 cups (22.5 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
            2 teaspoons (.5 ounce) salt
            2 teaspoons (.22 ounce instant yeast
            6 tablespoons (3 ounces) olive oil
            2 cups (16 ounces) water, at room temperature
            ¼ to ½ cup Herb Oil

            I love the focaccia from Apprentice, especially when made with the Herb Oil specified within the focaccia recipe. Not only good on its own, but it makes truly outstanding sandwiches.

            I'm not as thrilled with the pizza dough from the book; much prefer the Napolitana dough in American Pie. The one in Apprentice stretches much more easily (almost too easily), but isn't crispy/chewy as is the one in AP. Only made it once (just last week) and didn't do a side-by-side, but think I'll stick with the AP recipe in the future.

            1. re: JoanN

              If the technique is the same as the link I posted, then it's not the recipe I used from the Reinhart book. I must have used the one from Crust and Crumb because it started with making a sponge and took three days. I checked the book out from the library. I'll try the recipe you posted above--love the idea of using herb oil. Nothing beats focaccia fresh from the oven.

        2. The pan a la ancienne (or some such name) is really good. I use it for pizza crust and like it better than recipes with olive oil. It's flavorful for such a lean dough.

          1. Great. I wanted to try the pan la ancienne. To clarify: I bought the book and love all the intro and technique stuff, but wanted to know which recipes to try. Pickledgarlic: keep me posted on the results you get and the recipes you tried. Wow - the bagel recipe! Seems like a pain. But I guess you gotta do what you gotta do do get a decent bagel.