Thursday, January 28, 2010

Home Baker goes Pro

A nice story in the Atlantic by a journalist who baked his award winning bread in his home ovens for an Alice Waters' dinner:
"We hear you make the best baguette in DC," said Sarah Weiner, Waters's assistant. "Well, yeah, I won a contest," I stammered, "but I just bake at home. The most I've baked was for Thanksgiving dinner."

They needed to feed 40—at a $500-a-plate dinner at Bob Woodward's house. Could it be done in my home ovens? I said I'd call back. I went home to figure out how much bread I needed to bake and realized I could probably do it—five big loaves and several baguettes. I then called Peter Reinhart—a renowned baker and author I've known for a couple of years—to see what he thought. "That's not a lot of bread," he said, and he encouraged me to give it a whirl.

Now, if you read his story about the Best Baguette in D.C., it's pretty clear that Samuel Fromartz is pretty far from a bread baking n00b... so it's not quite as ludicrous an offer as he makes it seem... but it's still an amazing accomplishment for someone without access to a professional bakery.

This reminds me that I need to get back to baking my way through Reinhart. While my baguettes are far from award winning, it's quite a rewarding experience, and it's a shame I've let it slip to the wayside.