The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

cimg6899.jpgI was eyeing a bread baking book at Chapters before leaving on our around the world trip. Now that we’ve returned and I’ve been making bread again, I picked up The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart, to further develop my baking skills and fulfill my craving for artisan bread. My ciabatta recipe from Epicurious wasn’t doing it for me–dense and crumbly, completely lacking ciabatta’s distinctive big, shiny holes.

Before trying the new ciabatta I had to try the sticky bun recipe as I have fond memories of a place at the mall in Fort McMurray selling excellent sticky bun knots. Just the sight of the glaze–1/2 pound of butter, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of corn syrup– nearly cimg6887.jpggave Janet a heart attack and that was in addition to the 1/2 cup of sugar that was rolled into the buns. Baking the buns was a bit of a challenge because the dough need to cook through to the bottom and the glaze needs to carmelize without turning into rock candy. In the end, most of the glaze was a little too stiff, but still tasty. If I had rotated the pan half way through and took them out five minutes earlier, they would have been perfect bakery-quality buns. Surprisingly, the glaze softened over the next 48 hours.

The ciabatta was a disaster. The book told me exactly what the dough texture was suppose to be and I didn’t have it. The dough was clearly too stiff and not the soft, silky mass they described. It was baked into three edible loaves of dense crumbly bread. Perhaps mixing baking and wine at 11:00 at night is not to be repeated.

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