I’ll admit right now that it’s all my fault that this bread didn’t turn out to be anything interesting.
The pictures in the book look tantalizingly attractive: a dark, matte crust, with a fluffy, white interior. It looked like a bread we all could love. But when I read the recipe and saw lemon and orange extracts (in addition to vanilla), plus sugar, in the ingredient list, I began to have my doubts. Those of us in the family who like hearty breads, might not be so interested in a fluffy, sweet bread. Those of us who love fluffy white breads, definitely would have no interest in lemon and orange flavors.
What to do?
I tried to split the difference by omitting the fruit extracts and keeping the vanilla. The result was a fairly boring bread. It had a wonderful aroma, and a soft crust (made golden brown by the addition of an egg wash just before baking), and the crumb was fluffy and soft. But none of us liked it. It was neither fish nor fowl to us. Even if I had added the fruit extracts, I don’t know that we would have loved it, but I probably did the bread a real disservice by omitting them.
Either way, this bread is not on my re-do list. Not with so many other wonderful breads to try.
See step-by-step pictures of this bread here.
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge is a group of home bakers, scattered across the planet, focused on one goal: completing every recipe in Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, in order, and writing about our experience. Want to join us? Buy or borrow a copy of the book, a big bag of flour, and plunge in!