The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, that bible for bakers, was published in 2003. I was 10 years old. At the time, I didn’t do more baking than helping my dad with the occasional batch of homemade cookies, or tube of crescent rolls, but over the next few years, that would change.
I made my first batch of yeast bread when I was 14. After that, I was hooked. I started experimenting with sourdough starter, and with trial and error (lots of the latter), I got to where I could make a decent loaf of sourdough. I took over as the family birthday cake baker. There was still some error, but I was having fun with the “try” part of trial.
A few years ago, I spotted the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion on my sister-in-law’s shelf. I’ve coveted my own copy ever since. I started using recipes from their website, and came to respect them as a company, and as a wonderful source of recipes and baking-related expertise.
This year, I was given a copy of The Baker’s Companion for my birthday. (Thanks, Mom!) And I had an idea.
I consider myself a pretty good amateur baker. But how does one get from amateur to expert? Usually, by taking an apprenticeship under a master.
My goal is to bake through all 337 (by my count) recipes in The Baker’s Companion, Julie and Julia style (minus the one-year deadline, because I’m not a crazy person, and the cursing, because I’m old-fashioned). When I come out the other side, I hope to be a great baker.
The rules are: I will follow every recipe to the letter to the best of my abilities. This will probably involve begging, borrowing, or thrifting baking equipment I don’t have yet. There are a lot of variations listed for particular recipes, so if I make a recipe more than once, I will try one of the variations. I do not, however, have to make every single variation. The goal is to make 1-2 recipes a week, but I will skip a week here and there if I need to. This means I’ll be baking out of the one cookbook for something like six years. Which is not at all terrifying.
If you like, check back here to see how my weekly baking adventures go. And if you know me in real life, be sure to say hi. Don’t be afraid to ask me to bake for you. I’ll likely have a lot of baked goods to give away…