I’ve come to the end of my bread baking challenge, hooray! (Sort of…) 8 weeks ago I challenged myself to bake a bread a week from Adrienne Kane’s new bread book United States of Bread (that I was lucky enough to illustrate the cover & interior illustrations for.) Each week I shared a new bread I baked and a few illustrations from each of the 8 chapters in the book. You can see all the baking posts here.The final week of the challenge was to bake a bread from the last chapter of the book ‘dried bread.’ I’m not going to lie I did cheat a bit on this one as I didn’t have time to bake a new bread. The dried bread chapter is really great as it focuses on using up the bread when it’s a few days old or a bit past it’s best so it would’ve been good to work on this recipe at the end of a loaf. Instead because I was busy this week I bought a loaf of challah from the bakers and I used this as the bread part of the recipe.I chose to make the cornflake encrusted French toast with sautéed bananas and I made it on the weekend for my family. I got up quite early as I had a busy day of drawing and set to making the bread. In hindsight I think this bread might’ve been better as more of a brunch as it was very filling. It was really delicious though!Next time I make this bread (…and I’m sure they’ll be a next time) I’d cook the bread in the pan for a bit longer as I don’t think it was quite as crispy as it should be and it was still a little eggy, which was nice but I think for my taste I like a bit more of a crunch. The cornflakes were a lovely coating.Below is the illustration I created for the recipe. It was fun adding a bit of texture and colouring to this piece. My french toast (in real life) looks a lot more rustic, it’s not easy slicing challah neatly :)Here are the 8 breads I made throughout this challenge, ummm delicious. I think I would have to say my favourite bread out of the 8 would definitely be the rye & raisin sourdough. It took the most patience in terms of the nurturing of the sourdough starter but it was so worth it. I loved the crispy, chewy middle with a slight sour taste but sweet too from the raisins. My second favourite bread would be a draw between the challah and the bagels, they were both so fun to make and I made them with my sister and friend so that made them all the more enjoyable to bake.
This challenge has taught me that when I set myself a goal I try my best to achieve it and it works best when there’s a time factor too and a deadline in mind. I think it was really good knowing I had 8 breads to bake in 8 weeks and I had to bake one a week to stay on target. I’m going to try and use this rule of breaking down goals with other projects. I also learnt that I love baking so I’ve definitely made a new hobby out of doing this challenge. If you’ve ever stopped by to have a look at the photo’s or to see what Ive been baking thanks for looking! As much as I’m a little bias as I illustrated the book I really love United States of Bread and it’s become my bread baking bible. The recipes are easy to understand, simple to follow and as you can see above produce yummy results. As someone who had never baked bread before this book has opened my eyes to a whole new bread filled world. It’s also made me even less keen on shop bought bread (I’ve never really been a big fan of supermarket loaves anyway – I hate the smell of the bread in the plastic it smells so chemically) So I would definitely love to bake more bread in the future.
Thanks again to Adrienne for letting me illustrate her wonderful book and for sharing all her mouth watering bread recipes!