BBA Challenge 2011

January 2nd, 2011 by Chris

Ever since Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice came out in 2001, various websites such as Pinch My Salt and The Fresh Loaf have organized and hosted what are known as  “BBA Challenges.” In a BBA Challenge, the object is to walk through each of the 41 bread recipes in the book, basically doing one a week, for the roughly one year it would take to finish the book.

Technically, it works like this: when a website or blog hosts a BBA Challenge, roughly each week or so a thread is created dedicated to the specific recipe for that week. The blog host posts his/her pictures and commentary, and then participants in the Challenge add their own pictures, comments, and suggestions about how things turned out with that specific recipe for them.

Reinhart’s book is really an excellent one if you are into bread, so I’m excited to give the BBA Challenge 2011 a try here at A Ku Indeed. In fact, we even received a comment here from Peter Reinhart himself (the author of the book we are using) leaving an encouraging message to all of us, wishing us luck in the challenge. If that’s not a nice way to get this daunting challenge started, I don’t know what would be!

If anyone is interested in joining up, please feel free to do so. If you have a blog where you talk about your recipes, feel free to let me know what the URL is and I’ll list it below in case people would like to click in and see what you are up to more specifically.

In order to organize the BBA Challenge at this blog, here’s what I will do: right below on this page, I’ve listed the recipes in Bread Baker’s Apprentice in order. Next to the first two, I’ve put a date. So, you should see that January 9th is the date for the first recipe — Anadama, and January 16th is the date for the second one, Greek Celebration Bread. That means that if you are following along with the challenge, I will have my commentary up on the 9th (perhaps earlier, but no later than that date). If you want to participate, simply add your commentary (pictures, comments, links to your own blogs, whatever) anytime beginning the start date for that recipe. The idea is to create a one week window for people wanting to contribute and comment before we collectively move on to the next recipe/thread post.

So each week a new recipe is started, I will not only start a regular thread on this blog, but I will come here to this page and highlight the recipe (below, in the schedule) with a link to that thread (this will archive all of the challenges for easy referencing). So to find the Anadama thread after January 9th, you can either cycle through posts to find it (note that this blog is actually dedicated to baking, Italian cooking, and to philosophy, so threads won’t just be on BBA), or simply come here and click on the recipe name below and you’ll be taken to that thread. I’ll also create a “BBA Challenge 2011″ category, so you can use the category function on the right side of the main page to pull up all theBBA posts.

Of course, there’s no obligation to start with recipe one. Feel free to join up and add commentary or pictures whenever you want, and feel free to skip recipes if you wish if particular ones are not of interest to you. The object here is simply to get as many people together to talk about these recipes as is possible and to compare notes and learn a bit more about the art of baking.

Note: I may from time to time need to stretch the window on a particular recipe to longer than a week to accommodate myself if I have a particularly heavy week with respect to grading (I’m a teacher). I don’t anticipate any stretches longer than two weeks, and only now and again to give myself some extra time to grade.

Should be fun! Hopefully a few people show up and join, but even if not, I’ll be trying to see this challenge through, and without gaining 200 pounds in the process.

If you are interested in joining up, you can email me at or leave a message right here in this thread. It doesn’t matter if you started the challenge with us at recipe #1. Feel free to join up whenever you’d like. As well, if you’d prefer to only do some recipes, that’s fine too. As long as you can bake with us now and again, we’ll all benefit from the group experience.

(Note: As of January 20th, 10 people – including me – have signed on!):

BBA Challenge Participants


1. Geraint (blogging here at The Fresh Loaf ) and (twitter =  sgratch) and (posts bread shots at

2. Lisa at Lisa’s Lovin’ Loaves

3. Me at A Ku Indeed and on twitter @chrispanza

4. Coz Skaife at Scratch Baker

5. Adam Potthast at Within Reason (and on twitter @adamqp)

6. Sharlene at Oakleaf Farm Bread

7. Joann at Jo Jo’s Blog

8. Nancy at Bread & Cake & More and her pictures can be seen at Flickr

9. Jim Biscardi (will post here in threads each week and at the BBA Challenge page on Facebook)

10. Dale (starting in week 3, will post at the blog Baking Perfection)

Baking Schedule

  1. Anadama (pg. 108) ————————————- January 9th

  2. Greek Celebration Bread (pg. 111) ——————-January 16th

  3. Bagels (pg. 115) ——————————————January 23rd

  4. Brioche (pg. 123)—————————————–January 30th

  5. Casatiello (pg. 129)————————————–February 6th

  6. Challah (pg. 133)—————————————–February 13th

  7. Ciabatta (pg. 134)—————————————-February 19th

  8. Cinnamon Buns (pg. 143)——————————-February 24th

  9. Cinnamon Raisin Bread (pg. 147)———————March 4th

  10. Corn Bread (pg. 151)————————————-March 12

  11. Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread (pg. 154)—March 19

  12. English Muffins (pg. 157) ——————————-March 25

  13. Focaccia (pg. 159)—————————————–April 1

  14. French Bread (pg. 168)———————————-April 7

  15. Italian Bread (pg. 172)———————————–April 14

  16. Kaiser Rolls (pg. 175)————————————-April 21

  17. Lavash Crackers (pg. 178) ——————————April 29

  18. Light Wheat Bread (pg. 181)—————————-March 12

  19. Marbled Rye Bread (pg. 183)—————————March 14

  20. Multi-Grain Bread Extraordinaire (pg. 187)——–March 22

  21. Pain a’ l’ Ancienne (pg. 191)—————————–March 29

  22. Pain de Campagne (pg. 195)—————————–June 4th

  23. Pane Siciliano (pg. 198)———————————-June 10th

  24. Pannetone (pg. 202) [postponed until X-Mas, since it’s an X-mas bread)

  25. Pizza Napoletana (pg. 207) —————————–June 25th

  26. Poolish Bagettes (pg. 213)——————————–July 5th

  27. Portuguese Sweet Bread (pg. 215)

  28. Potato Rosemary Bread (pg. 219)

  29. Pugliese (pg. 222)

  30. Basic Sourdough Bread (pg. 233)

  31. New York Deli Rye (pg. 236)

  32. 100% Sourdough Rye Bread (pg. 239)

  33. Poilane-Style Miche (pg. 242)

  34. Pumpernickle Bread (pg. 246)

  35. Sunflower Seed Rye (pg. 249)

  36. Stollen (pg. 252)

  37. Swedish Rye (pg. 257)

  38. Tuscan Bread (pg. 261)

  39. Vienna Bread (pg. 265)

  40. White Bread (pg. 265)

  41. Whole-Wheat Bread (pg. 270)