I spent the first week after purchasing the book reading the 100+ pages of background and education at the beginning. I was fascinated by it and in the end was glad that I took the time to read it. I loved reading about Peter Reinhart's adventures in bread making and took to heart that bread making should be a distraction free experience so that you can really experience it. I set out to pick up the ingredients for the first recipe with an incredible amount of enthusiasm.
Anadama is a solid grainy bread with roots in New England. It takes two days to complete the process but the task for the first day is simply preparing the sponge (a mixture of cornmeal and water), the rest of the work is done on the second day.
My biggest fear with baking bread is that it won't rise. Every time I leave a recipe to proof (rise) I cross my fingers that it will actually rise. I don't know where this fear comes from because I have never made a recipe that didn't rise. The initial proofing worked marvelously with the Anadama but I didn't do an adequate job of punching it down so the final loaves were bigger than they should have been and had some air pockets. I'm still struggling with beating the air out of the bread that just an hour or so before I had been hoping and praying would rise. I hope this stupid fear will go away with time and more experience.
I liked the end result and used it for sandwiches and toast throughout the week. Looking forward to next week's challenge which is Greek Celebration Bread and dreading recipe #3 which is Bagels. Scary.