Welcome to Rose's Alpha Bakers!
Starting very soon, a group of dedicated bakers hosted by yours truly will begin working our way through Rose Levy Beranbaum's latest, most complete, and perhaps most beautiful book of her career: THE BAKING BIBLE.
We call ourselves the Alpha Bakers because over half of us were Rose's "Beta Bakers," testing the recipes that Rose and Woody had already worked on tirelessly to make sure there were no instructions the ordinary baker couldn't understand and to see whether the home baker could duplicate the results Rose and Woody achieved in their test kitchen.
Now we're beginning: starting a baking voyage through over 100 recipes for baked delights (plus a few recipes for preserves thrown in for good measure.) I've baked over a dozen of these recipes so far, and I already have over a dozen favorites! I hope you'll be inspired by the Alpha Bakers to try your hand at some of these recipes and that you'll enjoy watching us bake our way through Rose's fabulous book.
The first project will be the pastry pictured on the cover of The Baking Bible: the wonderful Kouign Amann. We post on Mondays, and the first postings - pictures and commentary on the Kouign herself - will be on Monday, December 1, and each Monday thereafter, until we've baked our way through the entire book.
I will try to post a baking schedule about a month in advance, with reminders about what you might need for a particular recipe. For example, for the Kouign Amanns, it's nice to have metal pastry rings, such as you'd use for making English muffins, but you can improvise with aluminum foil.
Most, but not all, of our bakers are from the United States, and I will take traditional American holidays like Thanksgiving or Independence Day into account, but I won't know about other traditions. If you would like me to schedule something that would be appropriate for an occasion I might not know about or know what recipe would be appropriate, I'd love to have suggestions!
There are 100 or so recipes in the book (depending on how you count) as well as at least 20 variations. I plan to work some Catch-up Days into the schedule, so there will be a chance for anyone who missed a week to make up for it. Other possibilities for Catch-Up Week are to do one of the variations, or simply to take a break. These are fun weeks, with a lot of variety.
We will not include the recipes. I understand that this may be a disappointment to some of you who like to try recipes before you commit to buying a book. The publisher has made some recipes available publicly, though, and you can find these through a simple google search. Another alternative for a test drive is to get The Baking Bible from your library and bake a few recipes to see if they're to your taste. Personally, I find this gorgeous book to be priced so reasonably that some would say it's a steal.
Any questions, just ask.