Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Finish Line

Yah!  I'm all done with the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge.

Last January as I contemplated what I wanted to accomplish this year (I usually don't do New Year's resolutions--after all, if I don't make them, how can I fail?), I wrote down four things:
  1. replace the in-wall heaters in our house (done--next year I'll make it a goal to remove the thermostats),
  2. blog a couple times a month on my preparedness blog (I'm way behind and National Preparedness Month is long past),
  3. get all the paperwork together to become a dual citizen (everything takes forever; definitely not a 1-year thing),
  4. and lastly to bake 10 unique breads from the three Peter Reinhart books I have.
I made the last goal because I felt I was in a rut and my baking skills were stagnating.  At the time 10 recipes seemed like a lot but as I started to look at it I decided to run with it and bake all 43.  The BBA Challenge definitely broke me out of the rut and expanded my baking horizons. 

Having completed the challenge, I'm not sure I'll ever do a challenge like this again.  While doing the challenge expanded my experience, it also forced me to try recipes that I had no interest in baking in the first place and often the final loaf reaffirmed my original reluctance.  But not always.  And lastly, I must admit that at times it became an onerous chore.

Oh, and it also got a little tiring that every time I mentioned it to someone that they asked me if I'd heard of Julie & Julia.

So, what's next?  I think for now I'll start picking and choosing from the wide variety of books and material out there, taking a much more whimsical approach.  If I find myself getting into a rut again, I can always use the punishment of doing another challenge with one of the other two Reinhart books I have.

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