This moment, I had known it would come.
The one where I’m sitting on the floor of my smoke-filled apartment, staring at three rock-hard, blackened loaves and thinking, “I am a failure.”
Having never baked bread before, I’d known it was a little insane to sign up for the weekly Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge, where a group of more than 200 amateur bakers around the world bake a bread every week from a recipe in Peter Reinhart’s bread-making bible.
But then my first attempt — bagels — had gone well. And in the ensuing weeks, decent versions of brioche and challah followed.
I started to get cocky — I even promised chef Simpson that I would bring my first stab at ciabatta to his July 4 party. There would be two Italians there — who better to judge the quality of my first Italian bread?
Of course, this was all before the alarming amounts of smoke, the smell of burnt cornmeal seeping into every cranny of my apartment and, eventually, the surfacing of three dark lumps of what could pass for coal but were actually my “ciabatta.”